The veracity of the 11-pound, 15-ounce world-record smallmouth caught from Dale Hollow Lake in 1955 has been disputed in recent years, but there is no doubt big smallmouths reside in the 27,000-acre lake. Deep, clear water, gravel points and steep rock bluffs provide great habitat. May is a post-spawn period, with water temperatures usually in the low 70s and smallies holding along bluffs or on secondary points. Guide Jim Duckworth takes advantage of the vertical structure in the morning by throwing a Matzuo Spit & Sputter, a Rat-L-Trap SpitFire or an Accent B2 double-bladed, quarter-ounce buzzbait along the walls. He keeps his boat and lure parallel with the bluff. From mid-morning on, slow-roll a half-ounce Terminator spinnerbait (shellcracker skirt) or bump the bottom with a Bandit 300 crankbait in root beer/chartreuse on the edge of spawning flats. The topwater bite turns on in the evening on secondary points. Use a dark, four-inch Berkley PowerCraw on a one-eighth-ounce weight with a 2/0 Daiichi wide-gap hook. Contact: Jim Duckworth (615-444-2283; www.fishingtennessee. com).
Dale Hollow Lake