In these days of slick advertising, you’ve got to be careful.
Sometimes that Hot-Bod Exercise Machine, Sweet-Smelling Kitty Litter or Weight-loss Chocolate Cake doesn’t work exactly as the ads claim.
Not so with the TWRA’s fish attractors. They work as advertised. They attract fish.
The attractors, made from submerged brush, old tires, concrete blocks and wooden stakes, are especially effective on aging lakes like Old Hickory and Percy Priest, where natural wood cover has rotted away over the decades.
Every year, the TWRA adds more fish attractors, marked by distinctive white plastic poles and buoys bearing the TWRA logo.
There are approximately 165 TWRA fish attractors on Percy Priest, and over the past two years, hundreds have been added to Old Hickory.
“Fish attractors are especially effective in older lakes," says Steve McCadams, a nationally renowned crappie guide on Kentucky Lake. “They are often the only cover in the area, and fish congregate around them.”
They are easy to find — just look for the white PVC poles that jut 3-5 feet above the surface, generally in coves or on the edge of channel drop-offs. The poles mark the submerged cover in depths ranging from a couple of feet to 15 feet or more.
"We want people to be able to find them and fish them," says TWRA Executive Director Bobby Wilson. "Fish attractors are intended to bring the fish and the fishermen together."
The Agency began installing fish attractors decades ago. Most of those early ones are marked with red and white buoys bearing a fish silhouette and fishhook logo. In recent years they have been replaced by white PVC pipes with the green TWRA logo to mark the sunken cover.
Wooden stake beds vary in size from a few feet to several feet. Sometimes additional material is intermingled with the wooden stakes, from cedar trees to old lumber mallets and tires.
Some fishermen build their own fish attractors. On Corps of Engineers lakes such as Percy Priest, installing fish attractors requires the management’s OK. Fishermen should check with officials at individual lakes to see what restrictions may apply.
Special techniques are involved in fishing fish attractors. Don't go roaring up to the maker, throw an anchor overboard and expect to immediately start catching fish.
"Move in quietly," advises retired Lebanon guide Jim Duckworth. "I don't even use a trolling motor when I get close because the propeller's swirl and vibration can scare off the fish. I cut the motor and drift or paddle into position. When you use an anchor or power pole, lower it carefully and quietly. And don't bang around in the boat; shallow-water fish will pick up on noise and vibrations."
Fish attractors can pay off, especially for springtime crappie. The fish tend to move in and out, and if they aren’t around one attractor, try another.
Eventually you’ll find them — just as advertised.