Percy Priest 7/9/17


Well as predicted the bite was poor this morning. I managed to scratch out enough keepers for supper, even that was a task. The lake has been pulled down considerably even though its still high. The fish we just not cooperating as they normally so. Tried to move up to the fall creek area but the water up river was still full of debris and very muddy,

Percy Priest 7/8/17


Fished JPP Saturday Morning. Almost stayed at home after looking at the sky and the lake levels. I am glad I didn’t. We had a great day ending with a dozen good crappies, Still caught a ton of short fish, 2 nice catfish and a couple hybrid bass.

Crappies went very shallow with this high water and were feeding actively on juvenile shad. They preferred baits that mimicked the shad in color, rather than the orange and Chartreuse that had been working the week prior.

I am sure this pattern wont last as they are pulling the lake pretty fast so the fishing could get tough for a couple days.

Wood Reservoir 7/7/17


Went and fished Woods Reservoir this weekend. It was hot and the bite was very tough. Tried trolling crankbaits over the deeper schools to no avail. Switched to pulling jigs and found, what seemed like, every strip in the lake.

We moved up river, switched colors a dozen times and finally found some crappies. Water temps were around 84-84 degrees and the fish were much more shallow that I would have predicted.

All in all we caught a dozen or so and learned volumes about the lake.

Percy Priest 7/4


We decided to brave the potential storms, and the swarm of holiday boaters on the 4th. It was not a bad call as we caught some good crappies as well as our share of throwbacks. Based on the amount of 9 inch fish we are seeing the spring could be a great one.


Today the fishing was pretty tough, all things considered, We used about every single color that both Kalins and Big Bite Baits has and never really established a pattern. I think the rain overnight made things difficult. Lake temp is still in the very low 80’s and water clarity was a little stained. Still the fish were holding in the 10-12 foot depth and seemed to be feeding early.



Percy Priest 6/30 and 7/1


The good news is the lake is on fire, the bad news is the kayaks, ski boats, and jet skis are almost upon us. By 1030 the boat ramp has been a cluster flop of the 3 day a year boaters, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Be careful around these folks as they, for the most part, do not possess the skill set to back a trailer, load, or unload a boat. The will run into you and it will be your fault…


Both days fished great and we had the lake to ourselves for the first 4 hours of daylight each day. The Crappie had moved up into shallow water when the lake came up. They were feeding on small shad from about daylight until 10 in the morning.  We caught a lot of fish, of which probably 50% were to short to keep but they were a blast to catch.



Slow trolling jigs in 10-12 feet of water was all it took to get bit.  Today the main course was Kalins triple threat grubs in Tennessee shad and bright orange. The fish are changing constantly so you cant stick with a single color bait very long.

Percy Priest update 6/15/17

IMG_2469Priest lake has been fishing well as of late. Water temps have hit 80 and the fish are settling into their summer patterns. Crappies are still biting well if your trolling through the schools, that all seem to be suspended about 12 feet over 17-20 feet of water. Pulling crank baits over brushpiles is also starting to work well.


The striper and Hybrid bass bite is on fire. We are marking large schools of them under bait balls near steep bluff walls around long Hunter. Zara Spooks, Whopper Ploppers, and black buzz baits have been the ticket so far. Fishing bait with a dropper rig has been very productive using both threadfin and gizzard shad.

Once you understand the information contained in a map margin you can then get down to the information on the map itself. Next are the colors you will see on a topographic map. There are numerous colors used but here are the basics and what they represent.

BLACK – The color black indicates man-made features such as roads, buildings and surveyed elevations.

RED-BROWN – This is the color is used for relief features such as contour lines.

SADDLE – A saddle is the spot between two hilltops.

BLUE – The color blue is used to show water like in lakes, streams, rivers or swamps.

GREEN – Green depicts vegetation such as forests, orchards, or vineyards.

There are both major and minor terrain features.

Depression – A depression is what happens when you realize your GPS batteries are dead and your maps are at home. It is also circular spot of land that is lower in elevation than the surrounding terrain and is not filled with water. Good examples would be strip pits and sink holes.


SPUR – A spur looks like a spur on a rooster. Its the part of some hills that sticks out like, well, a rooster’s spur. (Minor terrain features)
DRAW – A draw is a spot that pushes into a hillside. (Minor terrain feature)
HILL – A hill shows you the top of the hill as viewed from above.
RIDGE – A ridge is nothing more than a series of hills in a row.

Cliff – A cliff is that thing I always manage to find while navigating in the dark without a map and, a nearly vertical or vertical change in elevation as noted by the extremely close contour lines. (Small terrain feature)

The anatomy of a topographical map


Most Deer and Turkey hunters use maps for one purpose and that is to navigate from place to place. The truth is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) map is much more than a navigation or survival tool, it’s an awesome scouting tool as well. In recent years, the hand held Global Positioning Systems or GPS have gained in popularity with the outdoor public. The downfall of this electronic wonder is it WILL fail sooner or later. The batteries will die, the canopy won’t let you get a good satellite signal or any of several reasons it just won’t work. A map won’t fail, it does not require batteries, clear view of the sky, or a master’s degree to operate. My first GPS unit is at the bottom of the Ohio River for one of those very reasons. If you own a GPS unit and don’t or can’t use topographic maps you are only getting about half of the usefulness out of your unit’s functionality.

The bottom line is if you want to take your hunting to the next level you have to learn to not only read a map but use that same map to make the most of your scouting time. Many miles of unproductive hunting or scouting can be eliminated if, you can apply both what you see on the ground and your knowledge of game, to a topographic map. A perfect example would be a funnel or travel corridor. Most big game hunters can readily identify these two things on the ground but by having the skills to also find them on a map BEFORE you go into a given area can be the difference between a successful hunt and a nice walk.

Now if you can master map reading, and manage to figure out a GPS user’s manual, you’re not only a blooming genius but, you can take your hunting knowledge, your map/GPS skills and combine them to help make you a more effective hunter. I have taken one of my leases and marked all the rubs and scrapes with my GPS for five years, I then download topographic map of the lease. Every year I add to that map. Now I have five years of comprehensive data on one map. Once you do this you will gain a new understanding if how deer travel patterns are directly linked to the terrain in each area. A map is, simply stated, a graphic representation of the earth, drawn to scale on a plane surface. Before you can really understand a map, you must first understand the information contained both on the map itself and the information in the margins of that map. In the margins, you will find the following information.

SHEET NAME – The sheet name is found in the top center part of the map margin, it tells you the maps name. Generally, the name is derived from the largest or most prominent feature on the map.

SCALE – The scale can be found in both the upper left and bottom center margins. The scale will tell you the ratio of map distance to the corresponding ground distance. A map with a 1:25000 scale means that one unit of measurement on the map equals 25000 of the same measurement on the ground.

ADJOINING SHEET DIAGRAM – This can be found on the lower left margin and tells you what maps join to the top, bottom, left and right of your current map.

BAR SCALES – The Bar scales can be found in the center of the lower margin and are rulers used to convert map distance to ground distance.

CONTOUR INTERVAL – The contour interval is below the bar scales and tells you the vertical distance between contour lines.

LEGEND – The Legend is usually in the lower left margin. It contains symbols used to depict prominent features on the map you using. Please note that all map legends are not the same, so never assume you know what a symbol is without first checking the legend.

Once you understand the information contained in a map margin you can then get down to the information on the map itself. Next are the colors you will see on a topographic map. There are numerous colors used but here are the basics and what they represent.

BLACK – The color black indicates man made features such as roads, buildings and surveyed elevations.

RED-BROWN – This is the color is used for relief features such as contour lines.

BLUE – The color blue is used to show water like in lakes, streams, rivers or swamps.

GREEN – Green depicts vegetation such as forests, orchards, or vineyards.

Percy Priest Crappie Report 4/20/16



The crappie bite on priest has been on fire the past few weeks. Lots of fish are shallow, in the stake beds. Others have spawned and moved back out into deeper water. Dont restrict yourself to one tactic. The fish are moving around and both trolling and casting are working equally well.

Guntersville Crappie Report 4/4/16


We took our annual week long trip to Guntersville lake again this year but, we were not there for the big bass.  We were there for some of the best crappie fishing the south has to offer. Water temps were in the high 60’s and the fish had began to move shallow.

We used Kalins triple threat jigs and has no problems catching limits each day. The keys were slow presentations and finding wood cover.


The fish were concentrated around wood cover that had easy access to deep water.






Guntersville Road Trip


I hit the road to the Big G this weekend, an annual pilgrimage my bunch makes every year about this time. We keep the campers down here from about February to late April.  It’s a lot of fishing, cooking, and just forgetting we live in the real world.

Most anglers will think about world class bass fishing when you mention Guntersville but, this lake has so much more to offer than just bass. Now don’t get me wrong the bass fishing can be life altering, I have seen grown men reduced to a 12 year old when the frog bite is on, but the bass fishing is not the only reason to make the trek to the Big G.

The lake also is a phenomenal crappie fishing destination. It’s as good as or better than most lakes and in the spring it’s off the chain. A good starting place is one of the many bridges and cause ways on the lake, there are literally dozens. The second best starting point is the marinas. We have had many camp dinners caught within a mile of the campers.


Crappie tactics are not complicated down here. Troll until you locate a good school and then set on them with jigs or minnows. Most spring days you won’t look long for crappies as there are plenty of creek channels and blown down trees that will always hold fish. If you stay in the marina there will always be fish around the docks. You do not hear about the crappie fishing much due to the lakes reputation as a big bass factory.

Another good reason to fish the lake is the abundance of trophy catfish, especially Blue Catfish! Most anglers find cut bait and chicken breasts on large circle hooks very productive. Looks for deep holes on the main channel. If you not using a guide for catfish this lake has a large learning curve since it’s so massive. Most of our trophy cats have come within a mile of the wheeler lake dam.

It’s impossible to mention Guntersville and not talk about the bass fishing. It’s as advertised most weeks! In the spring large swim baits, spinnerbaits, and shallow diving crankbaits are going to be your go to starting point. If you fish the many bridges a jig and trailer combo is a high producer. The Storm 360 search bait has been a great choice so far this year.

From Chapel Hill it’s less than 2 hours to the Goose Pond Boat Ramp so there is no real reason not to come fish this jewel of the south. If you’re a camper there are several good options in the area. Goose Pond is not the cheapest but it had the best amenities. Second would be the Guntersville state park.

Troy Basso is a freelance writer and fishing guide from Tennessee. He can be reached through his website at .


The Obey River: Our overlooked tailwater.


hatAt one time years ago the Tennessee State Rainbow and Brown Trout were caught out of the Obey river near Celina Tennessee. Today the Obey still fishes very well although there are better places to catch record-breaking trout. However, there are few places you can catch the sheer numbers of trout that come out of the river every day. The obey river tail water, where it flows out of Dale hollow, is a mere seven in a half miles long. It flows into the Cumberland River around Celina Tennessee. It is one of the rivers that get’s restocked with trout twelve months a year. Its close proximity to the Dale Hollow National fish hatchery is the primary reason for this. It’s primarily stocked with rainbows but the locals tell of some monster browns being caught in a regular basis. The River has good access in comparison to some of our other tail waters. There is great bank access for the first two miles of river and good access at all three boat ramps. Another things is this river is deeper than your average tail water and can be difficult, but not impossible, to wade in places, especially the last three miles or so. Floating the Obey is not only a great way to see one of the most scenic rivers in Tennessee but gives you access to the entire river as well as parts of the Cumberland River as well.

If you’re like myself and live a pretty good drive from this river the campground at the Dale Hollow dam is actually very nice. There is electricity and water at most sites, two large shower houses, and the local police patrol it. The cost is twenty bucks per night and since your camping right on the water it’s well worth the money.


The Obey is much like other tailwaters in that the same Lures and presentations generally work. Rooster Tails in Black/Olive/White all work very well. Jigs under a small float are also deadly, specifically the trout magnet jigs in Olive and Pink. Live bait also works quite well here as the hatchery releases fish weekly into the river. If you’re a fly fisherman this is a great river for zebra midges and prince nymphs. These should be in larger sizes 14-18 as these fish are not as pressured as our more popular tailwaters. If you’re interested in Stripers and white bass the confluence of the Obey and Cumberland rivers is only 7 river miles from the Dam.

Troy Basso is a freelance writer and fishing guide from Chapel Hill Tennessee. He can be reached through his website and blog at .