For the second year in a row, Chickamauga proved to be fickle beast.
While the weights for our two day event were up from last year, the quality of bass was down.
Chickamauga is a lake that is populated with Florida strain bass and Florida strain are very temperamental by nature. These fish were on the move and on top of that we had a strong weather system roll through the night before our event.
The key to our out of town tournament was finding concentrations of bass at transition points and at deeper summertime holes. The top finishing anglers all reported finding their bass in short stretches of bluff, concentrated areas of grass flats, or main channel ledges. The Harvey's focused on a rotation of bluffs close to Dayton. The Harvey's worked these bluffs with a tube and reported that their fish came in 30-40 yd. stretches of the bluffs. Ryan Pope work shell beds and grass points both days to finish second. Pope reported that the ledge bite was very slow. He had to make repeated casts with a football jg or magnum shaky head and work them very slowly. The Dison's fished on the fly both days to put together a total weight worthy of third place.
The key for dad and I was finding stuff away from the bank where small schools had gathered. When we arrived on Tuesday afternoon we focused on the upper portion of the lake and fished some grass points that were good to us last year, but it seemed that the bass had not migrated that far out yet...
On Wednesday we headed for the nuke plant...we got on the water a little before 5am so we could graph without wasting daylight. As we worked our way down the lake we graphed some small schools and once we reached the power plant w found the mother load. We graphed a school directly in front of the plant and the first fish out of that school was pushing 6+ lbs...after that we never got another bite on the ledges. Nothing we did would cause those fish to fire.
After working the ledges for a while we followed a creek channel back into a spawning area and stopped on a high point that we know to have grass on it. The channel was about 12' deep and the high spot next to the channel was about 2-3' deep. We began throwing spinner baits across the hump and ignited a school. During the tournament days we caught over fifty fish from this one school and luckily it was shallow enough to drop power poles and stay in one spot with the wind...On the second day of the tournament that school stopped eating our spinner baits and we had to switch up to top water.
After working the school each morning on day 1 and 2, we went into run and gun mode. On day one dad and I focused on bridges with drop shots. With the amount of current and wind we found bass schooled up tight to the pylons and that is how I finished out my limit on day one. On day two we started off working the shallow school but all of our size was gone. We left the shallow school and ran to the face of the dam looking for spotted bass, but we were pleasantly surprised by largemouth. We worked the intake pipes of the dam with drop shots and then moved back up the lake to a sailboat marina and I finished out my limit with a drop shot in the marina.
Chickamauga was tough to crack last week, but the key was to focus on areas that were impacted by the current. Bluffs, ledges, bridges, and even that grass hump had current. Although the bass weren't eating like sharks on the ledges, the bass were in concentrations. The water flow was right, but the weather did not cooperate...
On to the next one...
Always learn from your time on the water!