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Old 02-12-2007, 11:46 AM
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Default Tennessee Tarpon

Testerday I had my first experience fly fishing for Tennessee Tarpon. (Also known as Skipjack or River Herring) It was great fun, and a good way to learn or practice casting heavy weighted flies with sink tip lines, which I don't have much experience with. I was fishing at a TVA powerplant, where the warm water discharge enters the Cumberland River. Most of the boat ramps on the main lake had a skim of ice on it, but the water in the discharge channel was 58 degrees. The warm water attracts fish of all kinds, from small shad to 50 pound Striped Bass.There were two guys in a drift boat about 40 yards from me, and they were catching Skipjack on bout every third cast. I tried to copy their retrieve method, but I only got a few bumps during the first hour without hooking any. Finally I asked them what fly they were using, and they said a chartreuse and white Clouser. I was using pink and white. They told me to come up close and they gave me one.I anchored about a cast-length upsteam from them and started fishing with the new fly. I finally figued out to cast slightly upstream, count to 10 before stripping, then strip 5 times, pause for a count of 2, strip 3, pause 1, strip 4, pause 2, etc. They usually hit on the third sequence.I ended up catching about a dozen, and I missed a lot more. They averaged about 18 inches long, about 2.5 pounds. They fight like heck; lots of jumps and strong runs. One broke my leader and ran off with the chartreuse fly, so I tried the pink one again. No luck. Then I changed to a plain white, unweighted Wooly Bugger, and caught a couple on it. Switched to a silver Clouser, caught three. Switched back to pink, nothing.If you live near a warm water discharge, I highly recmmend you go out there and see what you can catch.Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Tennessee Tarpon

Hi Jakeway, Thanks for the report. Lots of good fishing in Tennissee. What is that rod your are using. Is that a two-handed rod? Are you Spey casting?--------Frank
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Tennessee Tarpon

Frank, that's an Orvis Rocky Mountain 9' 7 wt rod. I use it mostly for Laregmouth and Smallmouth bass fishing, and now Skipjack in the winter. I've got a new 4 weight rod I'm itching to try, but I don't have any sinking lines in 4 weight. Guess I'll have to wait for a warm spell. I'd take it to a tailwater for trout, but they've been generating almost full time lately, so the water's too high to wade.
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Old 02-13-2007, 01:45 PM
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Default Re: Tennessee Tarpon

Thanks for the post on catching an unusual fish that sounds like a lot of fun! I'm amused to hear that yet another species of fish is called a skipjack. On the Coasts they are a variety of Tuna. http://www.bajafly.com/images/skipjack.gif ------------------------------------------------------ Down in Texas on the gulf/bays, they are otherwise known as Ladyfish. http://www.keywestflats.com/Dtanks%20ladyfish.JPG ------------------------------------- And apparently in Mid-South, they are a variety of Herring. Learn something every day! (ps. the ones on the Texas coast fight like the TN ones do, lots of airborne antics)
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: Tennessee Tarpon

On Harry Murray's video on smallmouth bass fishing, he keeps catching fish he calls "fall fish". I couldn't get a good look at them, and haven't been able to find reference to fall fish anywhere else. Do you know what they are?Also, today in the L L Bean flyfishing guide book, I saw a picture of an American Shad that looks just like what I was catching. That book also referenced "skipjack" as a kind of shad.I guess a rose by any other name would still smell like dead fish. I like the smell of fish (though I prefer live ones).
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