Today is Thursday, July 20, 2017

Between the storms, hit The Hill

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Hit reverse. Go back several years. Stop at the year the last tornado hit Lebanon.

While that was going on, the late Russ Jackson and I were staying at the lodge at Edgar Evins State Park and fishing Center Hill. We caught a lot of smallmouth. We had no idea what was going on, weather-wise.

Now fast forward to April 4, this year. Spring, at its' most beautific 60 degrees, clear skies, low WSW wind.

While storms were tearing up the South, Foster Butt and I hooked up the Grey Ghost and headed for Center Hill. We quickly stored our clothes and food in the comfortable digs in "C" building, (I took the bed on the right), and hit the water at 10:15.

April in general and April 15 in particular has long been the prime time for me, to hit Center Hill smallmouth. This year, the water temps hit the magic mark early.

However, there was a bigger factor. We had a warm, sunny day, followed by another approaching storm front. That is recipe for brown fish action on Center Hill.


Reports that fishing has been hot on Center Hill, Foster and I found to be greatly exaggerated. In fact, of the half-dozen or so anglers we talked to, none had a keeping fish. However, we went prepared.

I had rods rigged for any possibility: Baby Bass GitZit on a 1/8-ounce head, 4#-line. Bitsy Bug in 1/8-ounce on 4# on a second. Chartreuse, 1/8-ounce, crappie magnet on 4#. White weightless fluke on 10-pound line. Silver jerk bait on 8#-line and a chartreuse/white spinner bait on 10-pound line.

Foster had some of the same plus an old lure he has refused to sell or give me for many years.

The water was down. Lake elevation 635, down about seven feet from where I like it. But, the fish can't get out and walk. They had to be there somewhere.

We started on one of my favorite banks. It is straight across the lake from ramp #2 at the park. Time to get serious. All thermometers and television sets on full screen.

Over the years, Foster and I have spent many pleasant spring days either in the lodge or in my tent in the campground at Edgar Evins, an easy 45-minute drive from Lebanon, slightly longer from Nashburg.

Both are user friendly for either angler, birder or hiker. The rooms in the lodge offer all the amenities including a swimming pool. Two double beds and a pullout make it easy to sleep three or more and the price is more than reasonable.

Access to the boat ramps and hiking trails is about as handy as the pocket on a shirt. In short, it is a great place to spend a few days.

Call 931-858-2114 for reservations. We stashed our clothes and food in C-1 and hit the water.

I'd like to say we killed them. Truth is, the fishing was tough and the wind made it tougher. Yes, we caught a few small bass, a catfish and one giant crappie.

I solidified my hold on the title of Drum King of four-pound test line, boating two giants and one smaller one.

We caught about a dozen bass but nothing worth getting excited about. Water was crystal clear and 59-62 degrees. It should have been perfect.

Despite the lack of fish, it was a great getaway. I can't say enough about the park and the staff there.

Everything we needed was there and then some. I suggest you give some thought to a stay at Edgar Evins. Even the turkeys were gobbling about it.

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Center Hill Lake, Edgar Evins State Park, John L. Sloan, Outdoors
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