Boaters need to be aware of two new laws that are now in effect. They were passed in hope of helping increase safety on Tennessee waters.
The second change concerns boater education. In the past, although there are boater education laws on the books, a person renting a boat was exempt from having any knowledge of operating a vessel. Most rental operations do offer a short dockside lesson but that is mostly instruction on the operation of the boat they are renting. Now there will no longer be an exemption from boating education for renters of watercraft.
Tennessee residents born after Jan. 1, 1989 are required to pass a boater education exam administered by an approved representative of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to operate any motorized vessel over 8.5 horsepower. Out of state residents born after Jan. 1, 1989 must show proof of successful completion of a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators approved boating safety course. Non-resident certification may be from their home state or any state issued course.
Persons who have already made reservations or entered into contracts with marinas are encouraged to continue with their plans but are asked to complete an approved boater education course before renting again.
Tennessee residents born after the Jan.1, 1989 can purchase a Type 600 Exam Permit online or from any hunting and fishing license vendor for a cost of $10 and go to a testing location to take the exam or take a class. Locations for testing and for classes can be found on the TWRA website under the boating section. For study materials telephone (615) 781-6682.
As summer gets into full swing rivers will be crowded with small vessels with most being kayaks. The TWRA wants everyone to be safe on the water. The agency reminds us that it is our responsibility to educate ourselves before hitting the water. So, if you are going to start kayaking, get some basic education. Taking a kayak course is not currently mandatory but it is a good idea. Kayaks can be unstable. It is common that wildlife personnel and local rescue workers are called to help someone in distress. These tense situations can turn deadly.
There are organizations that offer classes. The Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association is one that does an amazing job of instructing on paddling safety and technique. More information can be found at www.paddletsra.org.
The Middle Tennessee Crappie Club fished Tim’s Ford recently reporting a few fish and lots of jet skis and large wake boats. Although the lake was busy with traffic and the water was rough at times some managed to catch crappie.
The winners were Coby Edwards and Rodney Edwards with 8.06 pounds. J.W. Jackson and Kody Jackson were second place with 7.22 pounds. They also took the big fish pot with a 1.93-pound speck. Rounding out the top three was Terry Spray and Tyler Spray with 6.88 pounds.
The next tournament is July 21 on Normandy Lake. The club will try something new beginning the tournament at 5 p.m. with the weigh in at midnight. Anglers are reminded that the lake is off limits from midnight Friday night until tournament time.
In general, typical summer patterns are the norm but don’t be afraid to get far back in the creeks where heavy rains are rushing in for some bonus bass action. At times they will stack in the back.
Tims Ford Lake-Bass are active both early morning and at night. Top water lures at dawn and dusk with jigs, soft plastics and spinnerbaits at other times. Crappie are holding over deep brush or around deeper docks. Catfish are being caught as are bream. There should still be some walleye on deep flats on nightcrawler rigs.
Normandy Lake-Bass are best on points, ledges and humps. Soft plastics, deep diving crankbaits, and jigs should work well. Crappie under the lights at night or daytime over deep brush or standing timber. Catfish on cutbait or other meaty baits. Bream on rocky banks.
Woods Reservoir-Early morning bass around grass beds. Buzz baits and other top water lures are good. Also try swim jigs or small 1/4 ounce spinnerbaits. Later in the day back off to drops and old road beds with a Carolina rig. Crappie suspended over deep brush piles. White bass everywhere,
Guntersville Lake & Nickajack Lake-Swim jigs, swim baits and top water lures are working for bass. There has been a huge mayfly hatch which get everything looking upward for an easy meal.
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