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Two Nice Days on the Hiwassee, aka "Where the Buffalo Roam"

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For the third year in a row, it has been my pleasure to visit Cleveland TN, to fish with John Torchick on his home water, the Hiwassee River, near Calhoun.

The first year, we fished one day across the river at Charleston, but we discovered that when the water is low (after the fall draw-down at Chickamauga Lake, it gets a bit dicey for two "chronologically gifted" guys like us :Old: to be climbing down the rocks to net a fish (there's a lot of rip-rap). So after just one day, we started fishing below the Calhoun boat ramp, where there's a nice, level wooden dock to fish from.

After sharing a nice Meal with our wives Monday evening, John picked me up bright and early Tuesday morning. We were met at the ramp by a friend of John's, Kevin Felton, a retired police officer, whom John met through the TN Hunter Education safety program, where they both serve as instructors. Kevin is one of those 'TROUT' (ugh) fishermen :rolleyes: and before Tuesday had never caught a carp. John and I were determined to correct that before the day was over.

We enjoyed fairly steady action most of the day, and we all caught some fish. I only caught 3 or 4 smallmouth buffalo (none were double-digit fish), but Kevin caught both a buff and a common. His common was over 12 pounds, and his buff close to 15. Not too shabby for a trout fisherman. Maybe John can make him a convert!!! John caught a nice mid-teen common as well as some buffs.

On Wednesday John and I got another early start, and were at the dock as the sun was burning through the morning fog. Kevin didn't join us to fish, but he did drop by later for a couple hours to share some more time on the bank with us.

As with the day before, action was steady, but not fast. Last year, I had discovered that the buffalo usually bite quite differently from the commons. They often just mouth and "suck" the bait, and seldom ever actually run with it, as carp often do. Nearly every few minutes, I found myself trying to set the hook on (what I assumed were) "buff bites". I missed many of those bites, but I did manage to "stick" a few of them, and landed most of the ones I hooked. John and I had a lot of fun, and we both caught both carp and buffs again on Wednesday -- and I even managed to land a 13-pound channel cat. By the numbers, we caught at least two buffs for every carp -- probably more.

Just before time to wrap things up, I had a nice run, and while fighting my fish, John had one, too. Unfortunately, he lost his fish, but mine turned out to be the biggest fish of the two days, a pretty common weighing a bit over 16 lbs.

Even though we didn't catch any huge fish, every fish we landed in the two days was a quality, double-digit fish, with several in the mid-teens (except for those small buffs I caught the first day). All in all it was a very respectable session, and a LOT of fun.

The only negative was the number of lost fish. We had a few hook pulls, and even a couple lost (presumably) because of bad knots. But I believe the bulk of the lost fish were the result of snags -- in spots where there were no snags last year. But this is a river, after all, and "stuff" does float downstream -- so snags can and do change locations over time.
















Edited by needmotime2fish
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Here are some more photos to add to the collection. We had a great time- friends, fish, and food.




The first picture is the sunrise where I fish on the Hiwassee.

The second picture is of my friend, Kevin Felton. Kevin and I met when I was helping with a Hunter Education instructor certification class about 4 years ago. We teamed up and have had a blast. He is a retired police officer with 30 years service here in Cleveland, TN. He was trying to see if he could get a bass to grab the rooster tail he was tossing. But, he found that carp and buffs are a whole sackful of fun.

The third picture is one of needmotime2fish's carp. Don't let the picture fool you- the carp was small and is feet are real big. ;)

I was hoping to get back up there next week but days without rain are going to be rare. We had so much fun that we are planning on doing it again. After all, someone has to do it! :hi501:

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