So recently my wife and I took a trip to Gatlinburg TN for my birthday. I have driven through but never had actually stopped for a significant amount of time in this beautiful state. In fact it had been a very long time since I had been here besides a recent super fast round trip to the Jackson Kayak factory.
I found myself often gazing out the window, staring at the lush green mountainscape and gawking at every single water crossing we came close too. I had plans to take our kayaks on the trip but decided not too on the last second. It’s something I completely regret but cannot change at the moment.
So here I am scrambling to find a last minute guide service, in which I was not successful. We were staying in a nice cabin on the side of a small mountain just outside of Gatlinburg. I had my eyes set on Cherokee Lake or Douglas Lake. With no one calling back from the guide services it was beginning to look like we wouldn’t be on either lake this weekend. So I began to think that some form of fishing had to be planned!
The 2nd day plans were set and we soon found ourselves wearing harnesses and helmets. Ziplining from treetop to treetop on the side of some beautiful scenic hills. Then one of the last lines we crossed went directly over some of the best looking river waters I had ever laid eyes on. My heart literally skipped a beat and the plan was set. We were going to wade fish these rivers in the area. Yet I hadn’t brought any gear with me!
Once back at the cabin my wife tells me that a striper guide service had finally called back and had availability the next afternoon. I thought about it for some time. The rivers were calling out for me but this trip wasn’t just about me. My wife and I have two boys ages 4 and 2 years old. We haven’t had a trip for just the two of us since we got married 5 years ago. We both needed this trip. So knowing my wife loves riding in a boat I nixed the wading idea and went with the striper trip. This trip opened my eyes to what Tennessee has to offer.
We met Captain Bobby on a low key boat launch on the southern side of Cherokee Lake. He had the perfect setup for some good striper action. This was a first for me, I had never even attempted to fish for these species. He informed we would probably be catching alot of hybrids since they were most active recently. So we soon launched and I was in for a treat.
After setting a couples lines out with alewife shad as the enticers, it didnt take long. My wife was first to land a hybrid striper. In fact she got the second as well. We were trolling around, coming across small pods of fish but we had trouble keeping up. I learned that stripers unlike black bass are constantly on the move. They are there and gone in a short amount of time. I did land a fish eventually but the captain had tossed him back when I turned to set the rod down. So no picture was taken unfortunately. No big deal though because I was lost in the scenery.
I haven't had an opportunity to fish water like this yet. Everywhere I looked I just sat back and admired. Grinning from ear to ear. My wife looks over my way and says sorry we didnt catch more fish. I tell her that it doesn’t matter. The fishing is not I am thinking about. What matters is this time we are spending together in this amazing backdrop. She nods to me in agreement. We will be back Tennessee…. Sooner than later for sure!