Catch BIG FISH Early Winter on Tennessee River
Early Winter BIG FISH
Early Winter Fishing Tennessee River can be super tough, but it can be one of the best times to get out and hook into a big Guntersville or Pickwick Lake giant! Big fish are starting to move from their hiding places into more predictable places to feed, and become vulnerable to being caught this time of year.
Key baits for this time of year are going to be a big spinnerbait, crankbait, and swimbaits! Something not a lot of people do is fish the depth one layer down from the bank. What I mean by that is think of the bank in two stages. The place where you throw to the bank and work the initial break into the water. Most people work baits out to 10 foot or so then reel their lures back to the boat. I find that a lot of big fish will hangout in that 8-12 foot of water. If you're reeling your bait back to the boat at 10 foot you were not in the strike zone very long!
This is why I go for these little bit bigger baits this time of year that have more weight. It gives the fish a big meal with this cooling water and I can stay in the deeper water more efficiently. I start out throwing 3/4 ounce spinnerbaits and will go up to 1 1/4 ounce spinnerbaits. True Bass makes one called the BA Spinner that will really catch some giants this time of year. I will start out throwing a 1/2 ounce swimbait, but I will let the bait go to the bottom before reeling it back to the boat to get to that target depth of 8-12 foot of water quicker. Remember to pay attention to the bait while its falling! Then I just steady reel the swimbait back to the boat. I will do the same thing with an Alabama Rig. My go 2 Alabama Rig setup is the True Bass Swimbaits 3.5 minner on the outside with a little head 4.5 on the inside.
For the crankbait I opt for the Hardcore Lures 3+ and 4+. Available on Tackle Warehouse! The reason being is that those crankbaits cover that depth zone, and the most important is that these are subtle finesse deep diving crankbaits. These fish have seen so many lures this time of year they can become lure shy! When you go to a finessee power fishing approach with your crankbaits you can really catch some giants now through the spring. They aren't vibrating extremely hard and they dive very quickly. A cool thing you'll notice about those cranks too is their weight transfer system. You'll hear a click every time you cast!! I love it, and it casts into the wind like a bullet. My favorite color is Citrus and Ghost Pearl Shad this time of year. I throw it on a 7'6'' Dobyns Champion Crankbait Rod with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel on 12lb Yozuri Topknot Fluorocarbon. All of these are important with casting distance, diving depth of the crankbait, action of the crankbait, and speed of retrieve. The right rod allows you to throw these baits a long ways and land big fish.
The fish featured in this article was caught on the Hardcore Lures 3+ in Citrus shad. It was a high pressure windy day. I decided to start fishing that deeper zone with that crankbait and it payed off! The fish was right at 7lbs. There are other crankbaits that will work too. If the water gets really dirty go with the wide wobbling crankbaits.
I hope these tips help you catch a few more fish this winter!