Tennessee Central Division 3 Begins Season on Percy Priest
ATHENS, Ala. – Tennessee Central Division 3 of the American Bass Anglers Open Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, begins its new season Feb. 19, 2022, on Percy Priest Reservoir southeast of Nashville.
The anglers will run out of Fate Sanders Marina, located at 3157 Weakley Lane in Mount Juliet, Tenn. Competitors can fish anywhere in the 14,200-acre reservoir outside the tournament marina area.
Formed by the J. Percy Priest Dam on the Stones River in 1969, Percy Priest Lake contains good populations of largemouth, Kentucky spotted bass and smallmouth bass. Major tributaries include Stewart, Suggs, Hamilton, Hurricane, Spring, and Fall creeks. The West Fork of the Stones River also flows into the system. The lake can drop to more than 100 feet deep in places and provides anglers with more than 265 miles of shoreline at normal pool stage.
The lake produces many largemouth bass in the 3- to 7-pound range with a few larger ones. One of the best smallmouth lakes in Tennessee, Percy Priest can produce numerous brownies in the 4- to 6-pound range with some bigger ones. Bass grow fat on abundant threadfin shad, minnows, panfish, shiners and other forage species.
With water temperatures likely to be the 40s at tournament time, anglers probably need to slow down their presentations and use their electronics to look for deeper fish and structure holding baitfish. For largemouths, throw umbrella rigs in about eight to 12 feet of water. Also try working suspending jerkbaits around humps, ledges and long sloping points off the main channel.
Anglers might also try throwing shad-colored crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and swim jigs in the backs of coves. Probe the depths with jigs. Anglers might even want to vertically jig with chrome spoons or drag Carolina rigs tipped with creature baits through the depths.
The best largemouth fishing in the winter typically occurs from the middle to upper portion of the reservoir. For smallmouth, concentrate on the part of the lake from Poole Knobs to the dam, which offers anglers relatively clear water and long, rocky shorelines dotted with occasional woody cover. Throw crankbaits, jigs sweetened with craw worms, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits in five to 15 feet of water.
During a division event held in March 2020, Duane Wardlaw from Smyrna, Tenn. won the Boater Division with a five-bass sack weighing 20.44 pounds. He anchored that catch with an 8.35-pound lunker that took tournament big bass honors.
In the Co-Angler Division, Jake J. Short of Cookeville, Tenn. brought in three bass for 10.57 pounds including a 5-pound kicker. Devin L. Bargatze from Hendersonville, Tenn. landed the division big bass at 6.97 pounds.
Each ABA Open Series division offers four one-day qualifying events in a boater/co-angler format. Boaters pay an entry fee of $210 while co-anglers pay $105.
Each boater can weigh up to five bass in any combination of smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass. Each co-angler can bring in three bass. Every smallmouth must measure at least 18 inches long. Largemouths must measure at least 15 inches long and spotted bass 12 inches long.
To register for this event, CLICK HERE
The top 20 percent of registered anglers will receive cash payouts based on the total number of entries. If at least 60 boaters enter the tournament, the Boater Division winner will receive a minimum of $5,000.
In addition, anglers may qualify for bonus money offered by such tournament sponsors as Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, the T-H Marine Atlas Awards program, MotorGuide, and Power Pole. Anyone who qualifies for Caymas Cash rewards could receive up to $7,000 for winning any ABA Open Series event. If the winning boat carries a Mercury motor, the angler could receive an extra $1,000 in cash from Mercury Marine. If that boat comes with a MotorGuide Trolling Motor, the angler could win an additional $500.
See each manufacturer’s website for details, rules, and qualifications for more information on their contingency programs.
The top anglers could also earn invitations to fish area championship tournaments with a guaranteed $6,000 to the winning boater for a field of at least 60 boats. If 100 or more boaters participate, the winning boater in a championship event will take home a guaranteed minimum of $10,000.
For more information about this tournament, call tournament director Floyd Vaughn at (256) 230-5633. For more information about any American Bass Anglers tournament series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406.
American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Garmin Electronics, Power Pole, Lucas Oil, Monster Energy, REKS Sunglasses, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com, and LurePartsOnline.com.
This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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