Where’s the Sauger?

Sauger, Sauger, where are you? Can anybody answer this question! We’ll let me try.

This time of year we should be wearing out the frying pan with these delicious little fish, but at my house I haven’t even had to change the grease yet.

With not enough fall rains the reservoirs are all down & have very little water to generate. With no flow sauger stay scattered & will not start schooling up. If we could get a good flood and a steady rain we may salvage some of the season.

In the last 2 weeks I have hunted sauger all over Middle TN. With only 5 or 6 keepers a day, it’s not worth going out and freezing for that many. The other problem is we’re killing about 20% of the little fish we’re catching. This is going to cost us down the road real heavy.

In all of these places we have been mostly using a lead headed Jig. Color of choice has been hot pink or red with a white or chartreuse Sassy Shad trailer. Most of the time we have not been using minnows but on the slow days they helped. The weight of the Jig ranged from 3\8 of an ounce in shallow slow water to 1 1\4 of an ounce in deep or swift water. You should always use a stinger hook in the tail of the shad body. Try a number 5 or 6 treble hook. On what line to use I use 14 lb. Stren Cranking Line or 17 lb. Magna Thin. Both are good lines with low stretch. I used to use just braided line for Sauger Fishing but we tore several reels up every winter. With no stretch all the shock transfers to the reel your elbow and the fishes jaw.

This causes problems at all three places. Broken reels, sore elbow’s and Torn fish lips. When I do use braided line for deep water I use a medium action rod to absorb some of the shock. I also lighten the drag so some slippage can occur on hook set.

When you do tear up a reel on braided line and you will, try my friend CHUCK PIPPEN out at NORT’S BAIT SHOP. Chuck is the best reel mechanic in our area. He does all my reels and they have all worked fine after his repairs. His number is (615)-361-1818. Cousin Cliff Duckworth owns NORT”S and you will find a good selection of live bait and any artificial lure you could want. They have a large selection of FALCON RODS and all types of Reels.

Below all the dams the main areas to fish are in and around the lock walls and below the flood gates when they are closed. A slow steady vertical jig of about 6 inches at the bottom works best. Watch your depth finder for fish and stay moving slowly in these areas till you find the fish.

Every year fishermen drown below the dams in Tennessee. Make sure you’re not one of them. WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET it will save your life if you end up in the river. It’s the law below all Dams!

Hope you have a great winter fishing. I’m off to LAKE FORK TEXAS for a couple of guide trips. Remember, wear that life jacket, set the hook and may the fish be with you!!!

Jim Duckworth

Ducktrail Guide Service