Fall fishing in Tennessee is not only beautiful, but it's exciting! Early October in the south means cooler mornings, and leaves that are just starting to turn beautiful hues of gold and crimson. Early autumn also signals the time when fish in our region tend to become more active. Bass start to feed and bulk up for the colder months that are just around the bend.
I recently had a week off from work due to fall break. Under normal circumstances, my husband and I usually travel to coastal Georgia in the fall to spend some time on the beautiful Jekyll Island. This year, CoVid19 impacted our ability to safely travel due to the fact that I suffer from severe asthma and am in a higher risk category.
The weather for the first half of fall break was set to be perfect. Cool mornings, with temps in the low 40's with afternoon temperatures in the mid to upper 60's set the stage for some amazing fall fishing.
We are blessed to live in a very picturesque area in Tennessee. We are near two major state parks; Fall Creek Falls State Park and Rock Island State Park. My husband and I decided that since we could not risk traveling during this time due to my asthma, we would spend my week off on the water paddling our kayaks and fishing as much as possible. After all, it was simply too gorgeous to be pent up inside the house. My husband and I loaded our fishing kayaks and we set out to Rock Island State Park. We launched our kayaks at access points above and below the dam in search of both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. We decided that since the water temps were in the upper 60 degree range, we would use crankbaits, top-water lures, and jigs. We had luck with all three types of bait!
My husband landed the first fish of the week. It was a beautiful Smallmouth Bass with a gorgeous bronze color. My husband quickly removed the hook from the fish and I snapped a photograph prior to the fish being released back into the water. The Smallmouth had gone after a medium sized green pumpkin colored jig that my husband was using that particular day as his bait of choice. Obviously, his tackle selection paid off!
After watching my husband land his gorgeous Smallmouth, I decided it was only right that I find one of my own. I paddled my hybrid, SUP/kayak to a spot further up the riverbed, going as far as I could physically paddle. There is a rock formation that creates a natural wall and makes it impossible to paddle further upstream. It is in this location that water spills into the main portion of the river. The water comes from what is known as the Twin Falls further upstream. I parked my kayak there, at the head of the river and made a few casts into the rippling water. Soon enough, I had landed a Smallmouth Bass of my own! Once again, the fish was photographed and quickly released back into it's home water.
The later part of the week was equally productive. The weather changed somewhat toward the end of fall break, and with Hurricane Delta spewing rain toward the southern middle Tennessee region, the fish began to be a bit more active. My husband and I paddled out to a favorite spot for lunch, landed our kayaks and decided to fish from the bank. It was sprinkling rain, so I decided to use a shallow running crankbait and fish around some rocky ledges near where we had landed our kayaks. I made two casts and thought I was hung on a rock or submerged piece of wood. I held my rod still for a second or two, then I saw my line move! I knew I was not hung on anything, and that a fish had taken my crankbait!
My husband snapped a photo of me after I had unhooked the beautiful Spotted Bass from my crankbait. I was surprised to have caught such an amazing fish while standing on the sandy beach where we often land our kayaks for lunch. It was absolutely amazing! Our Bending Branches paddles definitely help get us to the correct location to find fish! It was a wonderful week off from work with a lot of memories made on the water!