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  1. Don't get to fish or post here as much as I would like so I'll make this as long and boring as possible. Just put a flat aluminum floor in the jon boat & was itching to try it out so launched Saturday @ the riverside ramp in Knoxville. Intent was to wind up fishing for smallmouth on the shoals above the John Sevier bridge. Slowly made my way there stopping here & there to hit some good looking spots with no luck. Got to the shoals & fished to the right, left & middle throwing spinnerbaits, chatterbaits & swimming plastics. Surface temp was around 75, flow was minimal with light winds. Got a few hits on spinnerbaits but never got anything to the boat. There's a good pool, 10' - 15' deep, below the shoals and shad were active in several places. Got to thinking... just painted up some crankbaits to try later on Cherokee so why not. The one on the left nothing, the little one on the top right yielded one largemouth hit after another, lots of fun but they all came unstuck usually in mid air, junk hooks & too small. Also the St. Croix rod just didn't have enough backbone. Excuses, excuses. However, the one on the bottom right is something asked for by a friend who swears by it on Cherokee, You know I'm not gonna make just one. It has more chartreuse sides than the picture shows with a real blood red throat & yellow belly, super sharp size 4 nickle hooks (never lost another one). Very painful but I had to call him later & tell him he was right. Cranking pretty fast with 8:1 reel, no hits slow cranking. On the way out I saw some blow ups just above the bridge. Well, gotta make "one more cast". It's on, my biggest largemouth lately. Thought I'd just sled him across the water like the pros but nope especially when he saw the boat. He dug in & headed for the bottom like a smallmouth. Using a 10 pound co-polymer kinda worried me but finally got him in the boat. Had a GoPro mounted on the boat, a Sony Handycam & a phone but was too excited to think about taking pictures. You do believe me, right? If you're headed up river, there's a small pocket just above the right bridge pier. Try it, you'll like it. I have no secret honey holes & if I catch em you'll know where just may be a while. BTW, the new floor is great. No more making an old man look like an idiot tripping across those ribs.
  2. My all time favorite way to fish is for big bass in shallow cover in an innertube. I know bass spend lots of time deep, but some are almost always in shallow water and heavy cover. The very best spot will attract the biggest bass in the area. (My opinion). Like a big whitetail buck will slip in and out of a small, tight, dense patch of brush or even weeds and grass without getting seen. Fishing from the tube does several things. It forces you to pick a spot. It makes you fish that spot much more slowly and thoroughly. It gives you a much better sense of what the water, bottom and cover are really, physically like. It keeps your profile and shadows low. It is also the quietest way to slip in close to the exact sweet spot in a log jam or brushpile or beside a stump or rock. Best lures for this: plastic worm or lizard, or jig and trailer. Best way to use it is with the quietest, slickest, gentlest no-splash presentation possible. I tried regular bass rods and Ambassadeur 5000 reels, but there's too much motion, and too much temptation to cast. So I changed to a pole - an 8' rod blank, tied line guides on and then used a crappie "reel". The reel doesn't wind; it's just to hold the line and give some range for changes the depth. Most of the time this works best in less than 6' of water because you need to let the jig hit bottom and the rod is only 8' long. Let out 6 to maybe 10' of line and use left hand to control it. Much like today's flippers do. I have felt fish bump into my legs fishing this way. And I've seen a lot of them. They don't spook much when one is moving slow and easy, kinda' like a big old carp or turtle. Used swim fins and move backward or sideways. There are lots of canoe & kayak fishermen, and in very clear water the bass are likely deeper than this technique will work effectively on. The heavier the cover, the shallower the bass and the murkier the water, the more advantages tubing has. It even beats wading. I don't have many pictures because you fish wet or very near it and I never carried a camera to risk dunking it. But never got far from shore so Anne or a buddy would sometimes be close. My first tube, just a canvas cover with two pockets. Not big enough for a truck tire so limited buoyancy and wet canvas let water creep up so arms are always wet. Not bad in summer, but not good when cool or cold. July 1978, Amon Carter Lake, Bowie TX Tube number two. Custom made and big enough for a truck sized innertube. Tie rings and extra pockets, it was great. And much tougher than the thin canvas one so less prone to getting punctured. Sept 1978. Mallard Lake near Jonesboro AR. One of my favorite bass of all time. I had my new tube and loaned my old one to buddy Larry. July 4 I had got onto some big bass on a small lake in northeast Arkansas and never saw another fisherman. Next chance for long weekend was Labor Day so I drove there from Texas with the tubes and rods & Larry flew to Memphis where I picked him up. Big bass were still in that timbered oxbow but in tight to trunks of cypress trees with limbs hanging low near the water. Water moccasins were sunning on those same limbs, and Larry just couldn't take getting that close and eye to eye with them. No other way tho. So he was sitting on the bank and talking to me when I swung a lizard up to the base of a big cypress and this hawg bass grabbed the lizard. Pulled me and my tube in toward the limbs and it was a great battle for a minute til I got him turned and pulled away. See wet shirt. 1979. Zara Lake, Cuba. Also fished Treasure Lake and caught giant bass on both lakes. Another wet shirt. Pants, shoes, socks, underwear too. But worth it for these kind of big bass hanging out in those thick trees behind. Around east Tenn there are some places for this to work well. Like Where trees were left standing in upper Tellico. And likely the upper ends of creeks and drains on Fort Loudon, Cherokee or Douglas. Consider the possibilities. Quieter, cheaper and easier to transport than any boat, canoe or kayak. Simpler to fish from. Easier to walk down the bank to get to your area. If you're fishing near a bank or shoreline-related spot, you can attack it from a different angle than bank-bound fishermen. You can farther out over deeper water than a wade fisherman can. If it's a fairly narrow cove or creek you can paddle across or down and hit the other side.