What is Torsion Control Armor?

With Torsion Control Armor (TCA) being implemented into many new Okuma reels, supporters of the brand are curious to know what exactly Torsion Control Armor is and what its benefits are.

Torsion Control Armor was designed with a purpose in mind – to significantly reduce body twisting, to keep your internals in perfect alignment, and dramatically improve your fishing experience – especially when fishing braided line.

While traditional spinning body designs utilize single-side support, Torsion Control Armor uses a durable double-arm design to help decrease pressure from weak areas and body twisting points.

TCA is constructed to optimize your fishing experience. With its innovative technology, Torsion Armor Control’s unique frame significantly improves casting, cranking, and gripping by dispersing pressure to other parts of the reel.

TCA is constructed with Okuma’s C40X long-strand carbon fiber technology. C-40X Carbon Technology utilizes a special blended graphite polymer. The carbon fibers in this material are elongated and reinforced, creating substantially stronger composite than standard graphite material. At 25% lighter, 1.5x stronger, and 100% anti-corrosive, C-40X translates into an extremely lightweight and durable construction.

At Okuma our goal is to enhance every encounter. By integrating the newest advancements in materials and construction we can eliminate the troubles of fishing and keep the focus where it matters most – CATCHING FISH!

Available Now: Ceymar Baitfeeder Reels

AVAILABLE NOW!

Okuma Ceymar Baitfeeder

The Okuma Ceymar spinning reels have been a popular reel around the country and now Baitfeeder reels have joined the Ceymar family. The Ceymar Baitfeeder reels feature an easy to use On/Off auto trip bait feeding system. Once engaged, the secondary drag system puts out very little pressure for your live bait to run nearly freely. In a non live bait situation, when a fish picks up your bait, they feel very little to no pressure from your line allowing them to fully commit to your bait. The Ceymar features a ported machined aluminum anodized spool with LCS lip to reduce line twist and cast and retrieve, as well as an aluminum handle for strength and durability. Its graphite rotor was designed with Okuma’s Cyclonic Flow Rotor to whisk away water as it gathers on the reel to keep it dry and functional. With eight total stainless steel ball bearings, the Ceymar Baitfeeder runs smooth. The Ceymar Baitfeeder is available in three sizes, CBF-40, CBF-55, and CBF-65 and has an MSRP of $74.99- $89.99. The Ceymar Baitfeeder is back by Okuma’s 1-year limited warranty.

Features:

        – On/Off auto trip bait feeding system
– Multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washers
– 7BB+1RB stainless steel bearings
– Quick-Set ant-reverse bearing
– Precision machine cut brass pinion gear
– Corrosion resistant graphite body and rotor
– CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor technology
– Precision Elliptical Gearing System
– Rigid metal handle design for strength
– Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool with LCS lip
– Heavy duty solid aluminum bail wire
– RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System
– Ceymar reels are backed by a 1-year limited warranty

WATCH VIDEO BELOW!

Introducing the NEW Epixor XT

The Okuma Epixor XT spinning reels are the next generation of a long standing family of spinning reels within the Okuma lineup. Today’s anglers want lightweight reels that they can cast all day and strength and durability to turn and stop even the feistiest of fish. The Epixor XT reels utilize advanced technologies to create both exceptional feel and rock solid durability.

 

The NEW Epixor XT    
   – TCA: Torsion Control Armor reduces twisting
– 7BB+1RB stainless steel bearings
– Quick-Set ant-reverse bearing
– Slow oscillation system for improved line lay
– Corrosion resistant graphite body and rotor
– CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor technology
– Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool with LCS lip
– RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System

C40X Carbon Technology
NEW C40X Carbon Technology allows for lighter and strong construction than standard graphite. It provide for a rigidity, less weight, and eliminates the chance of reel corrosion.

Centrifugal Disc Bail
Weighted and balanced – the Centrifugal Disc Bail delivers a smooth bail experience


Cyclonic Flow Rotor
The reel also features our Okumas’ new Cyclonic Flow Rotor. This new technological advancement in reel construction increases air flow through the ported rotor to promoting faster drying time.

Progressive Drag
Drag System incorporates more precise and accurate drag settings. The three sizes all contain eight total stainless steel ball bearings and between 11-19lbs of drag out of its multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washers.

Torsion Control Armor
Features Torsion Control Armor which eliminates reel stem twisting and torque while keeping your gears completely aligned. TCA will help get rid of unwanted body twisting by applying pressure on the reel in multiple directions from cranking. It is especially useful for those who enjoy using braided line.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW!



 

 

Okuma Captain Spotlight- Keith Denette – The Constitution

We had the chance to sit down with Captain Keith Denette of the sportfishing vessel The Constitution who runs part of the year out of San Diego California, and part of the year out of Puerto Vallarta Mexico.  Keith owned and ran the Maximus for many years until it went down, and built quite the business on that boat.  Known for comfortable trips and big fish, Keith has come full circle in the industry, and we are proud to have him as part of the Okuma family.

Okuma- How long have you been in and around the fishing industry?

Keith- My whole life. Been Rodin reelin’ since I was 4. Had this crazy addiction to catch fish. Got a little serious when I was 11 years old when I worked on the Ellie M for Bob Levy in 1982 as a deckhand and deckboss Jon Barriqutro showed me what was up. Mom did not like me working on sportboats.

Keith at Fred Hall Long Beach

O- What got you started?

KD- My Father introduced me to river and lake fishing. My brother hated fishing and he would always take him over me. Totally sucked. He was 5 years older then me but  that was ok. Still found a way to fish the docks and beaches.

 

O- You have been a key player in the San Diego Long Range game for quite some time.  What are some of the boats you have worked on?

KD- Never been a key player at all. Always did what is right and always put my family and crew first. The rest falls where it needs to go. Always exceed our anglers expectations and never short them. Small boat knowledge when I was a kid mostly out of Channel Islands harbor Sea Watch, Ellie M, Morning Star, New Bluefin, Estrella. Worked my first yacht at 20 yrs old. Then it went all uphill from there. Channel Islands, San Diego, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. 40 to 72 footers. Calico bass to Giant yellowfin tuna. Bought Nicole and I our first home on Marlin tournament winnings at Catalina Island.

Constitution Yellowfin Tuna Puerto Vallarta

O- Clearly you had to work your way up to becoming a captain, and one of the premier captains at that, but what duties did you have along the way that most aspiring Sportfishing captains might not know they may end up doing? 

KD- Cleaning heads, vomit, etc.

KD- Still clean vomit from time to time. There is no rank on my vessel. Get it done attitude. If you wait for some one to get the job done for you. You may not have a job when we hit the dock. I have lived a life of cleaning and customer service. I have instilled it in my children and they follow it daily.

Constitution Yellowfin Tuna Puerto Vallarta

O- What year did you purchase your fist boat, and how did that all come about?

KD- Bought serveral skiffs not boats. Rod and reeled seabass and halibut and always enjoyed being on the water. My son Hunter wanted to work on sportboats and I chose to work with him and teach him right. We ran a 6 pk job in Channel Islands. Fished exclusively seabass and halibut. Purchased the Maximus together with the profits in one season together around 2007.

Constitution Yellowfin

O- With so much time on the water and south of the border, what made you take a serious look at the PV area and focusing your business on that area? 

KD- Fished Cabo San Lucas for a few years and had a great opportunity to run a 32′ Topaz for a highly respected friend from Ventura. He gave me the first opportunity to fish giant yellowfin tuna on my own. Been fishing Puerto Vallarta for 200 plus days a year for years then I can remember.

Constitution Yellowfin

O- The Maximus was well known as THE premier PV boat if you wanted to get down and catch big fish regularly.  How long did it take you to establish yourself in PV and gain a steady following?

KD- It took time. I was born In Port Hueneme California and my mother was born in Mexico City. Most of my family is from Guadalajara. I was able to get duel citizenship and start a business without any problems. I enjoy employing the locals of Puerto Vallarta. There I was able to get permits to operate.  I would run trips with 2-4 anglers. Whoever could get the time to come down I would run and take them fishing.  Very little food was put on the table at that time. Our family stuck together and made the best of what we have. May have not been the best desicions in life or the standard way of operation but I gave it my best. I give all the credit to my friend Brandon Hayward for showing me the light and released the first article in Western Outdoor News. Multiple page write up “Cow Fishing Vegas Style”

Constitution Double

Constitution Yellowfin

O- With what happened to the Maximus a couple years ago, did you have a plan to get back into a boat right away and continue on?  Was there some hesitation?

KD- Yes there was some hesitation. I was in a sort of depression. Not knowing what will happen. First time Nicole and I were unemployed and needed assistance. I was ready to take any job and do what ever it took to put food on the table and hang on to what we had. A fish Market came to mind. What turned the table was our solid customer base that insisted we keep the deposits for our upcoming season. They some how knew I was not out of the game. They were willing to wait a couple years for us to find the right boat. That inspired Nicole and I to find something that was safe and larger then what we had.

Sword Fight

Constitution Sportfishing

O- How did the purchase of the Constitution come about?

 

KD- Nicole and I walked the docks in San Diego and literally spent every day, all day on yacht world, dockstreet, and every resource we could find online. All it led up to was disappointment. One after another seemed we could make this one work or another. I had this crazy feeling a sportboat was going to pop up on the screen. Never happend. We made a full asking offer in Ketchikan Alaska to find out the seller got cold feet. One wall after another. Then one day we had lunch at a hotel in San Diego on our regular drives to San Diego and I decided to contact Frank Ursitti.

Constitution Sportfishing

O- Now that you guys are in full swing, how many trips a year are you guys running down in PV, and up in SD?

KD- Not sure how many trips I run. Honestly I leave that to my wife Nicole. All I know is I work everyday from Oct to May. Do some maintenance in May/June then I run everyday at the end of June to October. I think I’m on the water a little more then 300 days a year.

Triple

O- It has been incredible to see such huge fish coming over the rail regularly for you guys.  What is it about you that brings monster fish to the boat?

Monster Yellowfin

KD- Patience. We are always changing our game here. As conditions change so do we. I am constantly messing with the rigging that we use. I think we discuss as a crew what leader we should be fishing on every trip. Hook size, reel size, leader size and so on…I give credit to my crew. Stand alone we have the best operators, Deckhand’s and chefs available. Proud to have the same crew up to 10 years. Our passengers see it and feel it when they come onboard.

Western Outdoor News Cover Shot

Bottom Fish Too

O- As tackle has evolved over the years, is there anything special that you look for in gear? 

KD- Absolutely. Without the proper tools we have nothing. We have the funding to buy anything available on the market. I could care less what this company wants to give us this and that. What we have chose to work with is by far the best tools we can use to land anything that swims in these waters.

 

Rail Rod

O- Clearly your clients are looking for an incredible experience, and gear makes the trip. Are there any go-to set ups that you grab right off the rail?

KD- Sure. Plain and simple. Cost effective equipment that gets the job done. Okuma Makaira 30’s and 50’s is what we have onboard. Love to see a Makaira 50 narrow. I think that may be a game changer. I could see us with 50 narrows, topless 50’s and 80’s in the future.

Makaira SEa family

Makaira internal look

O- Anything else you’d like to add about you and Nichole or the Constitution business in general?

KD- Well she is my soulmate. We have been together since she was 15 and I was 16. We started a rockcod/shrimpfly gangion business when we were 17 years old. I worked in the fishing industry all my life. We have children. Our Daughter Isabella is 16 years old and my son Hunter is 19. Hunter just passed his 100 ton Captains course. NIcole answers the phone. Gives all of our angler all the nessesary information to guide our anglers to the best experience they can have. She never had the opportunity to fish the Maximus and she just got her first experience on the Constitution and got to experience how easy a female can come down and have a chance to catch a giant yellowfin tuna. Well she caught a 185 and a 302 lber. First time on her own boat. Pretty awesome I may add..

 

To find out more information on booking trips for giant tuna aboard The Constitution, please visit their website at https://constitutionsportfishing.com/

 

Komodo SS-Stainless Steel

The New Okuma Komodo SS Casting Reel not only has amazing levels of drag output to take on the largest fish, but it stainless steel main gear, stainless steel pinion gear, along with its heavy duty stainless steel drive, and spool shafts offer serious power and durability.

This powerful reel can take on the largest freshwater fish like pike, musky and salmon, along with the toughest inshore species like stripers, jacks and trophy calico bass. The ALC: Rigid diecast aluminum frame and sideplates form a rigid, but lightweight platform that is comfortable to fish, and ensures consistently smooth casts and retrieves.

The Komodo SS is corrosion resistant with stainless steel bearings. It’s available in both right and left hand retrieve, and is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.

What is CFR?- Cyclonic Flow Rotor

With the introduction of the Inspira Spinning Reel in 2015 and the new Helios SX Spinning Reels, people often ask us about the features.  One of the key features we get asked about often is, What is CFR?  CFR stands for Cyclonic Flow Rotor.

          Helios SX CFR

 

The Cyclonic Flow Rotor (CFR) was designed to create a “cyclonic” airflow, which significantly increases air flow through the ported rotor.

Cyclonic Flow Rotor

This thoroughly tested design allows for a much faster drying time if the reel becomes wet, minimizing corrosion possibilities throughout the reel.

CFR also creates a lighter weight and a more rigid rotor which reduces the flex and rotational coherence and creates a more precise mechanical operation.

CFR Rotor Design

Within this light weight design, Okuma utilizes its C-40X carbon technology in its new Helios SX Spinning Reels.  The C-40X carbon technology utilizes a specially blended graphite polymer.  The carbon fibers in the material are elongated and reinforced, creating a substantially stronger composite than standard graphite materials.  At 25% lighter, 1.5 times stronger and 100% anti corrosive, C-40X translates into an extremely lightweight and durable construction. The Inspira Spinning Reels feature standard graphite with its CFR.

Inspira CFR

                  Inspira CFR

The CFR can be found in both the Inspira Spinning Reel as well as the new Helios SX Spinning Reels.

Helios SX CFR

Nomad Travel Rod Review by Fish’n Crazee Show

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We needed a Rod Series we could travel with effortlessly with our filming gear and minimize big rod tubes in airports and planes with one piece rods without trading in AIR MILES! We asked the staff at Okuma if they developed a rod that can handle heavy saltwater fish from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico and everything in between. So the Nomad series shows up and what a well designed & crafted rod. The water resistant bag firstly organizes each piece of the rod neatly and also offers not one but TWO tip actions!… This is great without sacrificing space and also gives you options based on what lure or bait you using for multiple species…. PLUS its YOUR rod and reel combo. Often times you get to a lodge or guide boat and their gear is broken in sometimes too well and that leaves you feeling “ok maybe I should have brought something I’m used too”.
With lengths up to 7’ and actions from Light to Medium Heavy and line class use from 10lb to 60lb you have every option available to target big grouper, amberjacks, rooster fish and the odd toothy critter! We chose to pair up with the Okuma Azores Z-65S Spinning Reel Series ( 5.4:1 ratio, 44lb max drag, 42” of line per turn of the handle!) and zero disappointments so far!

This travel set up makes it user friendly and will handle most species. Along with looking the part , the reel seat being able to hold the right size reel , eva grips , the rod guides with zirconium inserts should makes your fishing adventure that much more personal!…. So with this side of the packing made easier we can now bring more cameras!.. Remember take only what you will eat. Catch , Photograph & Release!

By Xavier Tiberghien ( Host of “The Fish’n Crazee TV Show”)

The Fish’n Crazee Show’s TCS Rod Review



Okuma 3

Okuma delivered their latest OKUMA TCS series rod and Helios reel combo / set up for us to look into within many of our Fish’n Crazee Adventures. Well like the other Helios Series we have used successfully this series delivered too. Firstly know the reel speed you want, the series we tried was an 8.1:1 ratio simply to measure the difference between the 7.3:1 on the other models and yes the difference is clear… there is limited slack on any fish looking to surge towards you once hooked or attacking a bait with this reel. You can pick up the slack faster and regain control in many situations. Along with all the engineering qualities that are on offer looking at from fishing point of view this is one work horse reel.

From a castability point of view it takes a little getting used to measuring the type of lures and weights you wish to throw. You almost feel like you want to throw every lure with this set up as its pretty lightweight. However crankbaits & some moving baits need to be thrown on the right style rods that Okuma offers along with a slower retrieve ratio reel ( 5.4:1 Komodo or 6.6:1 Helios TCS). You need the forgiveness of a softer action rod for the crankbaits you wish to throw and also need a stiffer faster action for jig or worm fishing so make sure you pair up right for the right results. I did find that the higher speed reel with topwaters and some moving baits was a slight adjustment in cadence because of the higher speed which was great because you don’t have to work it as hard since the reel picks up the slack pretty well.

Luck would have it while we trying our best to get a review done with the bass market in mind we managed to hook many other species including Stripers, Hybrid Bass, Catfish. One particular case was a 20lb flathead catfish thought a jigging spoon would make a nice snack… with 12lb line the rod and reel combo handled the fight with ease, the TCS drag tired the large fish out and after a few smooth surging runs , we landed , photographed and released the fish! ( see attached pictures)… So that being said it should handle a lot of your bass fishing objectives

Okuma 2

Compare if you must however if you looking for a reel that is comfortable, small in the palm of your hand for all day use and less fatigue due to its lightweight design you pretty much have dynamic combination along with the TCS rod for the application you want…. In comparable class you will get every dime in value and the results will speak for themselves.

 

By Xavier Tiberghien ( Host of “The Fish’n Crazee TV Show”)

Target Big Fish on Makaira Popping Rods

By Capt. Rich AntoninoLarge Catch

 

There is nothing quite like hooking a fish and saying to yourself “is this fish too big to EVER land?”. That is the game that we play every day off of the coast of Massachusetts when targeting Bluefin tuna on spinning gear. It’s not fishing for rookies. It’s the type of fishing that can be equated to big game hunting, but with a spinning rod, not a gun. I’ve been doing this for a living for a decade and I have seen some of the greatest improvements in tackle heavily influenced by our efforts and experiences.

First, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight! When we see a school of Bluefin tuna feeding, there are times when 500lb fish are feeding alongside 100lb fish. The gear that can handle a 100lb fish will crumble under the battle that a true giant will unleash. As a field tester for Okuma, I’ve pushed tackle past its intended uses and through its comfort zone. I’ve broken enough reels and bent enough rods to know what works and what doesn’t. I’m proud to say that the Okuma Makaira popping rods are the real deal. They can handle whatever you throw at them.
How big is too big? 305lb Bluefin tuna? This fall, we landed an 82” beast on a Savage Gear Sandeel. That is the biggest that we have landed so far, but that’s not the part of the story that is important, nor shows how good the rods are holding up. We landed that fish in 65 minutes while fishing in 500’ of water. That is to say, we KICKED THAT FISH’S BUTT HARD AND FAST! This is where quality tackle and experience plays a huge part in fighting these fish.

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The best example of fighting a fish came several years ago, when a customer hooked his first tuna on spinning gear. He wanted to fight the fish solo. He had plenty of experience using light tackle for striped bass and bluefish, so he knew how to use drag to fight a fish. His battle took 85 minutes and the fish was….62” long and about 135lb. It was a great fish, but… I told him that if he knew how hard he could push his gear and had the experience of fighting a big fish like that; he would have landed it in about 15 minutes. He didn’t know what he didn’t know. After hundreds of tuna, I know what you have to do to land these fish.
The right rod. The right reel. Strong braided line. Perfect knots. The right hooks/hardware. And more people to help you fight the fish. This is what you need…
Have the right rod with enough backbone to lift that fish during a tuna’s famous “death circle”. The Makaira Popping rods are affordable (about $219) and tough enough for this. I have no doubts as I have tested them harder than probably anyone on Earth. A 7’6” rod is great for casting and doesn’t give up anything when it comes to fighting a fish around the boat.

DSC02072
Fight the fish with enough drag to stop it in a reasonable amount of time. It’s not uncommon to fight a fish with 30+ pounds of drag coming off of the reel, and then palm the spool to increase the drag and turn the fish’s head. If you have never held a spinning rod using this much drag, try it. Use a “Cush It” to lessen the stomach/groin pain from the butt of the rod, or use a gimble. Remember that 30lb of drag running away from the boat is a different feel than 30lb pulling straight under the boat! When that fish is under the boat, never let the line hit the boat and watch the angle of the line to the rod to avoid “high sticking” which will usually snap the rod right about the 3rd guide… Your pulling power is best from “5 to 3” on the “universal clock”. To maximize this technique, think “get one crank”. You’ll hear the best captains yelling “get a crank!!!” over and over. Short strokes gain line. Remember that. Each crank is 4’.. When that fish is buried 50’ under the boat, you only need 12 cranks to land it.. Even better…get 24 half-cranks quickly. When that fish’s head turns, DON’T LET UP!
I have used many different reels to target these fish, but the list of appropriate reels to target the biggest fish is very short. Okuma is adding one to the mix that I am happy to say I have tried and successfully vetted on these big fish. It is with an early prototype reel that we landed our biggest fish to date. I fished a later prototype and it was markedly improved. I’m sure that the latest version will be even better. When it is introduced, another giant Bluefin tuna reel will be on the market. I’m excited about this reel. If you are using a reel that isn’t appropriate, you will either ruin it, you’ll lose your fish, or you’ll fight the fish for much, much longer than necessary. The rule of thumb with tuna is that “the longer you fight it, the greater your chances of losing it are” (that’s the opposite of shark fishing, but that’s another story).
100lb Guide’s Choice hollow core line from Tuf-Line. There is no room for backing; you fill the entire spool with it. You’ll have more than 400 yards of line on your reel…and you may need it all! Splice a nine foot 100lb fluorocarbon leader into the end or end it with a loop and use a windon leader. You do not want any knots connecting your leader. No discussion here. Period.
We end our line with a Palomar knot to a Spro power swivel/split ring to which we attach our lures. Once again. No discussion. This is how it’s done. We have never broken this connection.
Finally, you want help. We no longer let guys fight fish for more than 20 minutes. If you can last longer than that, you are not fighting it hard enough. There are times near the end of the battle when we are fighting the fish for one minute shifts, just like hockey. We fight these fish so hard that it becomes a team effort while landing it. Remember, it’s the thrill of the chase, the hook up, and the battle as much as it is the excitement of finally landing it.

 

joe
Get out there and have fun; in the offseason, fire away with all of your questions and I’ll be happy to help. During the season (late May – early December), I’ll see you on my boat where you can get the best lessons in person! I can’t wait to see what 2016 has to offer and you can find me at www.blackrosefishing.com or on my Facebook Page

(https://www.facebook.com/Black-Rose-Fishing-105895832818219/)

My number is 508-269-1882 or captain@blackrosefishing.com. We target Bluefin tuna from New Hampshire to Rhode Island and offer full lodging/fishing packages for anglers or whole families.

For more information on the Makaira family of rods, please visit http://www.okumafishingusa.com/product/view/rods/saltwater-1/makaira-abalone

 

Tennessee: River Monsters, Myths & Great Destinations

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Blog by: Captain Scott Manning

For over 100 years, myths and legends have flourished along the banks of the Tennessee River of monstrous creatures that live in their muddy depths. In the 1800s, tales of river monsters abounded throughout the river system, including a legend in which anyone spotting the creature was cursed. In the mid-1900s, the most popular legendary river creature became “catzilla,” a species of catfish that reportedly grew to the size of Volkswagen Beetles at several dams along the Tennessee River. There are some reported photos of monster catfish over 500 pounds during the 1900’s that seem to back up these claims.

 

What lurks beneath the placid surface of the Tennessee River ? Are there monsters in our midst? Newspaper accounts indicate divers, while cleaning out the intake to a local power plant, had to be rescued from the murky depths by EMS crews. Found floating and unconscious, they reported catfish so large that one of the divers was sucked into the giant bottom-feeders mouth, only to be spat out. The most common bait shop story states that a dam repair man goes down to check for cracks in the dam. He sees a gigantic catfish that could swallow a Volkswagen Bug whole. He comes up from the murky depths of the lake and never is a dam repair man again.

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However, the largest catfish in North America are blue cats, and the world record blue catfish caught in in 2011 weighed 143 pounds. While many of the world’s largest freshwater fish are located outside of North America, several large species can be found in area rivers, including blue catfish and flathead catfish. An angler better have stout tackle when doing battle with these beast. A Okuma Battle cat rod teamed with Okuma Coldwater reel will do the job just fine.

The Tennessee River, covering more than 650 miles in the south ranks at the top of most catfish & striper anglers “Bucket List”. The Tennessee River is formed at the confluence of the Holston and French Broad rivers on the east side of Knoxville, Tennessee. From Knoxville, it flows southwest through East Tennessee toward Chattanooga before crossing into Alabama. Watts Bar Lake is a reservoir on the Tennessee River created by Watts Bar Dam as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority system. Even today, it remains one of the top catfish destinations in the US. Cabela’s King Tournament Trail holds a annual 2 day super event here each spring. Located about midway between Chattanooga and Knoxville, the lake begins as the Tennessee River below Fort Loudon Dam in Lenoir City, Tennessee and stretches 72.4 miles to Watts Bar Dam near Spring City, Tennessee. The Clinch River connects to the main channel of the lake at mile 568 near Southwest Point in Kingston, Tennessee. The partially navigable Emory River connects with the Clinch near the TVA’s Kingston Steam Plant just upriver from the meeting with the Tennessee. Including the Clinch and Emory arms, Watts Bar has 722 miles of shoreline and over 39,000 acres of water surface. Minor tributaries include Poplar Creek, Caney Creek, and White’s Creek. The lake contains several large islands, most notably Thief Neck Island, Long Island, and Sand Island.

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Fort Loudon Reservoir, located on the Tennessee River at Knoxville, is the uppermost in the chain of nine TVA reservoirs that form a continuous navigable channel from there to Paducah, Kentucky, 652 miles away. Fort Loudon is a popular recreation destination, known for boating and monster catfish. The tailwater area immediately below the dam is an excellent site for viewing a variety of waterbirds, including herons, cormorants, gulls, osprey and bald eagles.
The reservoir is connected by a short canal to Tellico Reservoir on the nearby Little Tennessee River. Water is diverted through the canal to Fort Loudon for power production. The canal also offers commercial barges access to Tellico without the need for a lock. Barges passing through the Fort Loudon lock carry about half a million tons of cargo a year.

Area attractions include the Oak Ridge Atomic Museum of Science & Energy, Dollywood Theme Park and Gatlinburg. In May of 2014, The Animal Planet TV Show filmed Season 7 episode 1 of Finding Bigfoot. That particular episode is still one of the highest rated watched shows in the world. World-famous Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge is a must-eat location as well as Calhoun’s BBQ on the river. I recommend Oak Ridge, Lenoir City, Kingston and Harriman as motel destinations with plenty of places to eat and not far from numerous boat ramps; such as Caney Creek Marina, Ladd Landing, Concord Marina and Tom Wheeler Park.

So if chasing legends or real world monster catfish is on your “Bucket List”; then East Tennessee and the Tennessee River system is a Can’t-Miss destination. Feel free to call Captain Scott Manning (865) 680-7672 for information ranging from area sites to guided fishing opportunities. Bring the kids; this is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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