Saturday I fished the 3rd and last Middle Tennessee Fishing League winter tournament. Prior to this tournament Eric and I were sitting in 10th place and they only take 10 boats to the championship! We needed a
fairly high finish to make the top 10. With the last tournament at Percy Priest Lake only Center Hill and Old Hickory were eligible. I had a good day of practice at Old Hickory a few weeks ago and last Monday I had great 3 hours on Center Hill! I was hoping we went to Center Hill
because I was on a great finesse bite with crappie jigs and felt we could have dominated the smaller fish all day! Nevertheless, we drew Old Hickory and had to hope our fish did not move.
We arrived at Flippers early to try and get a good boat number so we could get to the back of Flippers Cove near the bridge first. We were able to get boat 2 and make it back to the bridge first. The water temperature was 50 degrees….which was perfect! As we excitedly arrived
to the back first we noticed all the chocolate milk runoff that had been entering the lake from the morning downpours. All around the bridge was ruined and only the right bank was clear. We dropped the
trolling motor and started casting our A-rigs. I was casting the Houdini Zoom colors and Eric was casting white swimbaits. With the boat in 10-12ft we cast into 2-4ft retrieving slowly. The first 50 yards we caught two keeper bass! There were 3 other boats in the cove and we were watching them catch fish too! We jumped to the other side of the cove where it was clear and caught 2 more keepers, including a 4lb! The fish were coming out of 4-6ft. The next hour we lapped the cove twice
without a bite. Hindsight we should have stayed and fished shaky heads and jerkbaits, but we decided to move and stay on our a-rig bite.
Our next spot was out of Bull Creek to the right along the bluff wall. We parked the boat at the end of the bluff wall and started casting our a-rigs. The water was a little dingy at 49 degrees. The only bad part was the current was so strong it took a lot of power to fish down the
bank. We fished 50 yards and caught one 2lb on the white swimbaits and then decided to move.
I motored all the way up to Barton’s Creek to fish near the back were the channel butts up along 4 points. Once I neared the points………the mud started taking over the clear water! As I arrived to my area I shook my head and turned the boat around….muddy. I parked the boat on the first bluff wall transition where the water was clear and shut the motor off. We picked up our a-rigs and started
casting to the beginning of the bluff with the boat in 15ft. After 10 minutes Eric hooked into a solid fish! He fought it to the boat while I grabbed the net. As I placed the net in the water the fish began to pull drag! Eric lifted the fish to the surface…….6lb hybrid!!!! Kinda frustrating, but we laughed it off and kept fishing. Moments later I caught a keeper bass on my rig! Again, 20 minutes later I caught
a near 3lb. I felt like we were on a great pattern and would be able to jump around bluff walls and keep catching fish…..NOT! The next 2 hours we fished bluff after bluff with no action.
With a couple hours left we cruised back down lake and pulled into the steam plant. The water was 55 degrees with near a foot visibility. We did one lap around the plant with a jerkbait and shaky head with green
pumpkin Zoom trick worm. Fishing in 2ft-6ft Eric caught one short bass on the jerkbait, but that was it.
We were going to fish Flippers Cove again before we headed in, but there were 3 boats in there!
We decided to try the bluff wall under the bridge again. We fished 100 yards without a bite and headed in. It looked like we did okay with our 7 fish even though we did not catch many the last few hours. With all
the rain during the day the bite seemed to be tough on everyone. There were only a few fishermen that had double digits and we had a 4lb and 3lb to help us.
After it was all said and done we finished 9th in the tournament and moved from 10th place to 8th!!!! We made the cut and will now compete in two weeks in the championship on either Priest, Center HIll, or Old
Hickory. Of course I hope the lake falls back down to winter pool and we go to Priest, but if not hopefully Center Hill!
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