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Hi fellow catfishers and thanks for allowing me to join and learn. I am really new to the cat fishing scene. I started watching kayak catfish and catfish Dave on YouTube and I got the itch. Bought the gear and went out chasing bait in November, first fishing trip in December. I’ve managed very little bait. Best I’ve caught is shad and suckers. most shad are only 4-6 inches when the water was down off topside. Now I cannot catch shad anywhere. And I’ve only hooked one skipjack and dang thing got off. I did find someone who sells skipjack, however not being able to fish when I want to due to the lack of bait sucks. When I caught bait in the winter I managed to catch a couple flatheads on sucker and some blues on small shad. If anyone could send me in the right direction where I could cast net shad or catch skipjack I’d be so very grateful. By the way I live in West Knoxville not to far from admiral Farragut Park. My ultimate goal is to catch a 40# catfish before I relocate to Alabama in January 2021.

By the way, I’m a shore fisherman and Fort Loudoun Dam is closed to fishing due to virus.

Thanks in advance, Dave
 

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Dave, generally concrete boat ramps are good to try. Shad eat the algae off of the concrete. And this time of year, the back of coves where the water is warmer is good. I think your water is in the 60 to 70 there. That is about all I can tell you. As you have seen on the youtube channels you mentioned, White bass and blue gill will also work. As far as catfishing there, find a place where you can cast to the drop-off. That is a better zone for cats.
 

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Dave, Kayak Catfish just posted a new video. Some good teaching points in it. Pay attention to where he is at and why he is there. What high water does to the river and what the cats do because of it. And then look around and see what you can find using the website “webapp” which will give you the navionics contour maps to see where the channel is. Look for places where you can cast to the channel. Especially where the channel gets narrow because it should bring more fish thru.

just a thought.
 

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Welcome dave!

Good fresh bait is a constant struggle if you want to target big cats.

I cant say for sure whats going on right now. We caught gizzard shad all summer and into december in creeks. Around rocks and under over hanging limbs seemed to be prime places. Throwing a cast net around rocks from the bank is complicated though. You should be prepared to go swimming or you will destroy your net. Bridge pilings are another good place.
Bridges are a good place to catch bluegills, crappie and white bass too. Down size your tackle and target the smaller ones. Brim etc. that are 3 to 4 fingers wide make excellent bait when fresh or live. Justin has several videos were he is ultralight fishing for bait.

Use the search button for skipjack fishing. Theres tons of info on here. Ive only caught a handfull. You cant keep up with where there at when you live 4 hrs away.

You might want to keep an eye out for a cheap jon boat. Put a cheap trolling motor on it. You will have much better access to bait.
 

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Dave, welcome to the USCA I think you will like it here. Most years I go to KY/Barkley dams catch and freeze enough Skip Jack to last me all season. I catch them with spinning rod and jigs and they are a lot of fun on top of making good bait but this year the TVA shut it off due to the virus. I will be trying some Asian Carp, going back to using more Gills and maybe some small bull heads. Kayak Catfishing uses about everything from crappie, bass, white bass, and even channel cat. Good Luck and the more you do it, the more confident you will become.
 

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Jay, there might be a bright side to giving the Skip a year off. They get hit pretty hard so maybe this will help them recover a little.

At least I am hoping it will be good for them.

tight lines
 

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Dave, on a few occasions we have found Skips schooled up behind barge tie offs in the Ohio and were able to put a lot in the boat in a short time, kind of like fishing below the dams but unlike the dams they don't stay there long. I have never fished the TN. where you are located but when they are schooled up in the Ohio we can see them breaking the surface, we are actually catfishing when we see them but stop to put Skips in the boat while they are there.
 

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Jay, there might be a bright side to giving the Skip a year off. They get hit pretty hard so maybe this will help them recover a little.

At least I am hoping it will be good for them.

tight lines
Could be that a break will do them good, I got a text from a buddy who heard from a guy who heard from a guy that the TVA has opened Ky/Barkley dams back up for bank fishing but 1, haven't been able to confirm it and 2, not sure I could force myself to go were folks have traveled hundreds of miles to covey up. Heck our neighbors and us are taking turns making grocery runs so we each have to experience less exposure to other folks.
 

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A few minutes ago I heard the gate to the wall at Kingston Steam Plant is open and fish are biting. Never got a response about skipjacks, but sometimes you can catch them downstream.
 
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