After a few days off the lake I fished the MTFL tournament which is the MiddleTennesee Fishing League (MLF style tournament). It was my birthday so I hoped I could bring some luck! Fishing from 7 to 3 we put in at Long Hunter State Park. The water temperature was 49ﾟ and muddy with less than a foot visibility. Before the tournament I drove by the East and West Fork boat ramp to check the water status. The night before, even after all the rain, they were still clear with great clarity! I wanted to go into the West Fork and throw my rig on the trees and boulder rocks, but when we arrived the morning of the tournament(on the way to the ramp) everything was muddy and there was floating debris moving down the river! I knew I had to change plans. We decided to try some springs and run-off areas that were hopefully kicking out warmer water.
Our 1st spot was Bryants Grove. We drove to the back left corner just to find another boat already sitting there at 7:00 a.m.. We fished the left bank 100yd up from the run off with shad raps. I had one fish on that came off at the boat. I was throwing a Rapala SSR 7 in crawl pattern.
Next we moved to Smith Springs and went to the back left cove…….left of Smith Springs boat ramp. The water was super clear with 2′ visibility at 49ﾟ. We fished the entire left bank where the boulder rocks come out in 2 rows and the right bank where the fish attractor is near the gas line opening. We tried Alabama rigs, green pumpkin 1/4oz shaky heads, shad raps, and Pointer jerkbaits without any success. We stayed in 6 to 12′ of water trying both shallow and deep. We never had a single bite. I looked at Eric and said we need to go up into the mud and go down swinging where we like to fish. So we headed into Fall Creek. When we arrived there was water moving out slowly, but it was muddy. We went straight to the back where the spring is….. it was barely kicking out a little clear water!!!! We tried shaky heads, blk/blue 1/2oz Hoppy’s jigs, and spinnerbaits in the spring with the boat in 8′ of water casting into 1′. I had 1 bite on my jig that I’m missed, but that was the only bite. We fished our way out because the water was 56ﾟ! I felt even though it was muddy we could get bites on a buzzbait or shallow baby -1 (which is a big squarebill crankbait). We fished the entire way out fishing the stumps rocks in the 56ﾟ water without a single bite. We also fished the mouth of Fall Creek where it was a little clear. We tried the points and the boulder rocks on the flat on the right if you’re heading out. It was 9 o’clock and we haven’t caught a single fish in 2 hours and it was weighing on me…. BIG TIME!!!!!!
We cruised to the flat in between Spring and Fall Creek and stopped on a long rocky shoal. I picked up an Norman orange squarebill and put the boat in 4′ of water and started casting to the boulder rocks. It was clearer then Fall Creek and still 56ﾟ! After a few cast on the rocks I hooked into a good fish and fought a 4.40lb to the boat. It was 9:40am so we were starting late, but we felt good to get one in the boat. However, were 10 fish behind the leader at this time.
For the rest of the day we stayed in Spring Creek fishing every point from the back as far as you can go to the mouth throwing our Alabama rigs. We fished the super clear water in the back where the feeder creek and caught 6 fish…..including two 3lbs. At the mouth of the feeder creek we caught four short fish with a couple 2lbs, and another 3.4 keeper. There were 2 boats back there that were leading the tournament as well. Funny how we all ended up at the same place. After we fished the back we moved to the mouth of Spring Creek and fished all the main points followed by the points in the middle of the creek. At the mouth we caught another 2.2lb and 4.36lb! We just kept bouncing around any points keeping the boat in the channel from 8′ to 20′ letting our Alabama rig sink half way down then retreating slowly. I was using Zoom swimbaits in Houdini and Tennessee shad. Eric was throwing regular white and pearl swimbaits. For the day we ended up with 15 fish weighing 32 pounds and got 3rd place. Our best 5 with 18.67lbs which would have blown away the field because 14 pounds was the next highest weight for 5 fish! It was a great day, one I’ll never forget on my birthday!
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