The Angler Magazine | June 2024 | Great Smoky Mountains & Upstate Edition

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the importance of boat insurance

Do you love boating? Then you know how fun and relaxing it can be on the open water. But you also know that things can go wrong sometimes, like storms, accidents, theft, or injuries. That’s why boat insurance is so important. Here are some reasons why.

• Boat insurance can help you pay for damage to your boat, or to other boats or docks, up to specifed limits.

• If you borrowed money to buy your boat, your lender may require insurance. And if you want to explore different places, some marinas or waterways may ask you to show proof of insurance.

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• Boat insurance can also come in handy if you need an on-water tow, jump start, or fuel delivery with optional Sign & Glide® coverage. And if your boat sinks, boat insurance can pay for the cost of removing it from the water (if removal is legally required).

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Swordfshing is great any time of the year, but during summer you can justify the fuel burn to get where they live. It’s nearly impossible to run that far ofshore in June and not come across diving birds indicative of mahi or tuna. With minimal efort, this can be a nice score to put something in the box if you don’t have luck with the swords. It is normal to get skunked while swordfshing, and I don’t recommend going if you can’t accept that possibility. Te best way to go into it is to be fully prepared for both a fsh of a lifetime or to just chill with friends. Make no mistake, when you do land one of these beasts, it’s some of the most exciting fshing you can experience, and it’s worth the skunk risk.

Although you don’t have to run as far, the same consolation prize applies to heading out for tilefsh, snowy and yellowedge grouper, queen snapper, barrelfsh and rosies. Mahi fshing to, from and during deep-dropping rounds out a trip nicely.

Be prepared for mahi when heading ofshore in summer. Keep at least four rods designated for working a school and more for trolling. J hooks are a must for these head-shaking, sky-rocketing, fippy-fappy, squirm-fsh, but just about any line and bait will do. Tese tasty little dummies aren’t picky and would strike a banana peel if you jigged it right. Tat said, the speed of the bait is a variable you might have to adapt to. Teir toddler mentality kicks in when you try to take a bait away from them, encouraging them to strike something they just turned their nose up at. If you get hit when reeling in your bait, open your bail and give them a chance to eat.

If you get excited about fsh with pointy faces, be prepared for a marlin encounter this time of year. I keep rigged ballyhoo in a trolling spread and a pitch rod set up. Marlin aren’t overly common here, but when you see one, you want to be prepared for more than to simply wave and think, “that was neat.”


ummer in the Keys, albeit hotter than the devil’s you-know-where, is one of the best times to be on the water. With more calm days, open seasons for most species, and mahi peppering ofshore waters, this is the time of year to boogie out and hunt for whatever tickles your fancy.



of our

Marlin enjoy a mahi snack as much as we do and will pop up unexpectedly while mahi fshing. If you have a large live bait, toss that sucker out. If not, a mahi from the box will do in a pinch. Give her time to eat, hang on and enjoy the ride.

Mahi season is already of to a great start for both size and numbers. Come on down and fll your coolers!

Capt. Quinlyn Haddon; Sweet e’nuf charters, marathon, Florida Keys; @captainquinlyn;; (504) 920-6342.

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The “Grandaddy of all Kingfsh Tournaments” will get the First Coast buzzing July 13-20, as the 44th annual Greater Jacksonville Kingfsh Tournament presented by VyStar Credit Union hosts a full week of tournaments with more than $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Te competition kicks of July 13 with the Kingfsh Kick Of Beach Tournament, in which competitors are limited to state waters within 3 miles of shore. Tis event evens the odds for the smaller boats to haul in the largest kingfsh of the day and collect the $50,000 cash prize.

Fishing for the General Tournament begins Friday morning, July 19. Tis cornerstone event pays out to 20 places for both large fsh and aggregate. First place for largest fsh of the tournament will be awarded a Contender 28T with twin 200 Yamaha outboards, an Ameritrail Trailer and a custom T-top and leaning post by Custom Marine. Tis boat package is valued at more than $225,000.

Junior anglers have a shot at a 16foot boat with a 15 hp Yamaha, and the Junior Ofshore Tournament pays out to 25 places. Te Ladies Division pays out to 10 places.

cold beverages, hot food and vendors. Awards Day on Saturday, July 20 is all about celebration, with Kids Zone activities, rafes and seminars.

For inshore anglers, the popular Redfsh Tournament fshes on Saturday, July 20 with payouts of more than $12,000.

Jacksonville Marine Charities is the operating arm of the event, and it supports non-profts throughout the state. Recently, Child Cancer Fund, the Down Syndrome Association and the Child Guidance Center have beneftted from the organization, which also supports other local charity fshing events like Te Premier Trout, Flounder Pounder, Wounded Heroes on the Water and others.

For complete details, visit king

All the boats and fsh coming to the docks at Jim King Park and Boat Ramp at Sisters Creek Park in Jacksonville creates a festival atmosphere. Te

Trout are Eating Your Nymph More than You Realize

Alarge trout rising to a high-riding dry fy is one of life’s true pleasures. It’s pretty darn easy to see. Te fy is bouncing happily along the surface, and with a splash it’s gone.

On the other hand, that same fat rainbow trout sucking in a nymph 6 feet down in a dark run may not be as obvious. When you’re nymphing, speed is of the essence. In a second, that fsh will expel the fy. Tere are a bunch of diferent strike indicators designed to help you see the sometimes-faint signal of a hit. Some work well, some break, some slide, and some just suck.

I love yarn indicators for their sensitivity and the plastic air-flled bobbers for ease of use. Both styles rigged up the leader about twice the depth of the water you’re fshing help you detect the strike. Any hesitation, dive or shif in direction of your indicator might be a hit.

I tell clients, if they think a fsh might even be breathing on the fy to set the hook! You get a heck of a lot more strikes than you think you do when nymph fshing. Any slack between your indicator and fy allows a fsh eat and spit your nymph out, and sometimes go completely undetected.

At close range, high-stick or Czech-nymphing techniques work great. No indicator is needed, as diferent colored lines or coiled-line indicators that straighten when a fsh takes are the deal. A lot of the time, the trout is felt when it takes the fy, or you will see the line suddenly stop. Tis method is deadly in experienced hands.

Another method of strike indication is the use of a big dry fy as the

indicator. Usually, a piece of fuorocarbon tippet is tied to the hook and a nymph or two hang underneath. Tis is a good when the fsh might spook if a plastic bobber crashes on their heads. A buggy looking dry fy is a lot less scary.

Another cool way to catch trout on subsurface fies is to watch them eat it. I call this ninja fshing! You’ll need the sun at your back or directly overhead. Start by locating a particular fsh, and then tie on a brightly colored fy that stands out and is easy to see. Cast upstream of the fsh, and let it drif down to the fsh. Sometimes a fy bounced right into their face will get a refex strike. Tis is a good way to learn how fsh react to fies and how currents afect your ofering. If you are in a pool with several fsh, you might be amazed at how many fsh take a swipe at it. You will then realize how many strikes you’ve been missing.

David Hulsey is a North Georgia-based guide and fy fshing instructor. Call him at (770) 639-4001 and visit Hulsey Fly Fishing at hulsey fy



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DATE OF REPORT: June 2024 . Provided by Captain Jim Durham, owner StriperFun Guide Service, Tennessee and Kentucky Walleye, Bass, Crappie and Muskie Charters, Superbaittanks. com, Captain Jim Lures and Marine Electronics and much more……

Greetings to my readers! I hope the world finds you and your family doing well!


Captain Jim’s StriperFun Guide Service Cumberland River Adventures fishes the Cumberland River in TN and KY for several reasons.

• First, the Stripers are much larger in the Cumberland River system in TN and KY than other fresh water arears. Per the two State’s Wildlife Boards, there is an average of over 15 Stripers caught annually in excess of 50 pounds and 40-pound fish are not uncommon. The smallest fish we generally catch daily is over 3 feet long! These fish mostly eat high protein Rainbow Trout, large Gizzard Shad and Skip Jack and also fight the current all day, making them much heavier and stronger than “lake” fish.

• TN allows the use of Rainbow Trout as bait, and we catch large Gizzard Shad in the allowed creeks and use them in the KY waters.

In the cold waters of the Cumberland River, the caught fish survive very well and can be released unharmed. The average size Trout we use in TN for bait is 12 inches with some up to 16 inches long. The average size Gizzard Shad we use in KY is 10 inches and we occasionally use big Skip Jack up to 20 inches long (“yes” the Stripers in the Cumberland River are large enough to eat a 20-inch piece of bait!). When a big river Striper comes after a large bait, the bait will be tail dancing all over the surface trying to get a way. Sometimes the “dance” will last half a minute (as you watch the big predator circling the prey!) until the Striper finally gets the big bait then its “Kabam”!! The rod gets yanked down and the reel is screaming! We also catch huge fish casting Captain Jim Special (see our website store) Striper Magic “glide” baits and my mini umbrella rigs!

As I advised above, throughout the year, it is not uncommon to see 40 or 50 pound “goliath” Stripers pulled from the beautiful waters of the Cumberland River. This fishing is not for the faint of heart however! These big fish hit like freight trains, making long powerful runs in the constantly flowing waters of the river! We use large rods, heavy duty reels, 50-pound test line and titanium hooks!



It is great to be alive and be a “free” American! I look forward to seeing all of you this year on the water. Always remember to stop and shake the hand of a person in uniform or wearing garb that shows they are a veteran! Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedoms you do!

Until next time, blue skies and tight lines!

With full State licensing and insurance, all Captain Jim’s Guide Service guides (19 guides on 18 waterways fishing 9 different species of fish) can take you on a safe, fun and unforgettable fishing adventure! Check out all of our fishing services as well as our exclusive “online” store at or call 931-403-2501 to make reservations today.


Atypical Opportunities

What I am about to describe may be a little “off-putting” to some and downright disgusting to others. As I am beginning my forty-eighth-year of fly fishing, mostly in my beloved Smoky Mountains, I am still not at the “well it’s just good to be out” mentality. No, to me it is STILL about the fish. If I catch a below average number of trout, and I won’t share that number, it wasn’t a good day, with the caveat that I may have been “hunting” for trophy sized wild browns. Then, the numbers can slide a little.

On a recent drive to Nashville for business, I took the time to listen to some podcasts. I’m not a dedicated fan of podcasts. Most have too much fluff, or too little information worth my attention. An exception to that is the Orvis podcast with Tom Rosenbauer. I like the “fly-box” where questions are asked, a few occasionally grabbing my attention. On other podcasts, I have heard my name before, yes, my ears did burn, but nothing bad. Tom was answering a question about the impact of waste water treatment plants. The question was whether they were good or bad for the stream. Of course, my thought landed squarely with the fish and what, if any, impact it had on my catching them.

Tom went on to say they can be good or bad. Good, if there exists bad bacteria in the stream and the water coming out of the treatment facility can be cleaner than the water in the stream. In some cases, the stream can be more fertile downstream of the discharge as the water coming out of the treatment facility may promote greater insect life that trout and other fish feed upon. On the flipside, the treated water can

contain chlorine or other components which are detrimental to stream insects and thus worsen the fishing. For the most part, I think today’s water treatment plants are much better in the past when they essentially removed the solid waste, releasing the rest to pollute the stream.

Incidentally, I do remember reading an article a few years back how some fish become addicted to drugs that are flushed down toilets making their way through the treatment facilities to the fish. There’s always a downside to everything it seems unless it makes the fishing better. One thing I DO NOT like is the smell of a water treatment plant. Even the water coming out and pouring into the stream has a bad odor. That’s the definite downside. But the things we do for and tolerate in our everevolving pursuit of fish.

A few winters ago, I was fishing a tailwater river that has a waste water discharge alongside the road following the river. The pipe actually flows under the road and directly into the river. I was fishing with a friend just over from the facility when I heard the noise signifying the release of water. So, here’s the scenario as it played out.

Immediately, from wading the rapids in the middle of the river I pulled a Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis, for the older sports fans, sprinting over to the edge of the pipe outflow. Having positioned myself adjacent to the outflow and about thirty to forty yards below the release pipe I began to cast into the smelly water. What happened the next fifteen minutes or so of release time was nothing short of amazing! Having gone from catching the usual 12 to 14 inch trout to now catching 18 to 22


inchers was better than what I expected but definitely hoped for. It was like a brief mother of all hatches in how the fish reacted. No, they weren’t hitting dries but were attacking my wooly-booger with reckless abandon on nearly every cast.

Why the sudden feeding frenzy asked my fishing buddy who witnessed my sprint in waders and subsequent action. And most importantly, how did I know? Especially since I rarely fish the river. Always trying to apply my experience to the problem-solving challenge of getting fish to bite, I explained that I knew from my stream thermometer the river water was a nice fifty-two degrees. Nice for late November and I figured the waste water flowing out of the pipe would be warmer. How much warmer I didn’t know and didn’t check with my stream thermometer, but I could tell it was a little warmer. A temperature change by a few degrees can have a huge impact on how fish bite. The same can be said for cool spring water entering a summertime river where the water is borderline warm for fish.

Of course, there’s always another possible answer. Maybe those experienced trout knew where to get relief for their sore jaws in the

heavily fished water and knew that relief came in the form of flushed pain meds. But I digress….

Regardless, keen eye, nose, and ears for the surroundings is not only a necessary trait of a good fishermen when on the water but can also literally save your life. If you’ve ever had to sprint in waders when the sound of the flowing water suddenly gets louder, while fishing below a dam (another cause for the Bolt/Lewis dash to dry land), you know what I’m talking about. Those same senses used to sense a change in the water temperature can signal an opportunity, some even atypical, for amazing fishing.

Naturally occurring opportunities such as sudden rainstorms often result in a change in water conditions, namely the water temperature and clarity ramping up the feeding activity. Dingy water makes it harder to be seen by the wily old browns, plus more food is washed into the stream, potentially creating a feeding frenzy similar to that seen during Shark Week. Not all opportunities are natural. Some are manmade of the less aesthetic variety. It may not have been “good to be out” in the waste water, but it was sure fun catching those fish!


Fishing in Townsend Tennessee

What We Catch

Brook Trout are the only truly native trout to the Southern Appalachians. They are found in high elevation streams, around 3,000 feet and above. Brook trout generally average in size from 3” to 9,” though brookies up to 12” have been caught.

Rainbow trout are the most abundant trout in Smokies streams. They are a favorite of fly fisherman for their willingness to eat a dry fly and the great fight they give once hooked. Rainbows are found at almost every elevation in the Smokies with the exception of some high elevation brook trout streams. Rainbow trout generally average in size from 4” to 10” and on rare occasions up to 14”.

Brown Trout are highly sought after trout in Smokies streams. These wary trout are found in larger streams with generally slower water. They can be very skittish and sit in different places in the stream from rainbow trout. Brown trout prefer better cover, undercut banks, overhanging branches, rock ledges etc. They also sit at tailouts of pools. Brown trout generally average in size from 4” to 10” but some browns can reach the size of 20” or larger.

Smallmouth bass are aggressive fish and put up a great fight. They are found only in a few lower elevation Smokies streams. Lower elevation streams outside the GSMNP like Little River between Townsend and Maryville and the Little Pigeon River through Sevierville are great smallmouth fisheries. Smallmouth generally average in size from 5” to 12” but much larger fish can be caught.

Where to Fish

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 700 miles of wild, free flowing mountain streams to fish. Many of these streams are easily accessed along Park roads (please only park in paved or gravel pull-offs). Hundreds of miles of other streams can be accessed by hiking Park trails. Several excellent maps exist to help you find streams and trails. One is included free with the GSMNP Fishing Regulations. Another is the Trails




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Illustrated Great Smoky Mountains National Park Map available for $9.95. If you are visiting the Townsend area you will find miles of quality flyfishing close at hand.

Little River is one of the largest streams in the Smokies. It is home to smallmouth bass in its lower reaches, rainbow and brown trout in its middle sections and even brook trout in its headwaters. Excellent flyfishing for rainbow and brown trout can be found along the Little River Road which connects Townsend to Gatlinburg.

Little River can be split into five distinct sections: Little River above the Elkmont Campground, Little River above Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, Little River below the Sinks, Little River through Townsend, and Little River below Townsend. Above the Elkmont Campground Little River is accessed by the Little River Trail. This trail is an old logging road, so it provides easy hiking and a break from the crowds and roads. This is an excellent place to fish in the summer when tourist crowds are at their peak. You will find brown trout for a few miles then just rainbows and eventually the brook trout.

Little River upstream of the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area is a great place to fish. The stream is a nice mix of large pools, long runs and broken pocket water. This section has excellent dry fly fishing most of the year. It is also home to some of the largest brown trout in the Smokies as well as a large population of rainbows. This section of river is accessed by the Little River Road.

Little River below the Sinks can offer varied fishing throughout the year. The Sinks is a waterfall on Little River. It is below a bridge and is a popular stop for sightseers. There are some nice stretches of pocket water in this section of river but mostly it is large rapids and deep pools. This section of river can be harder to fish, but it can also be rewarding.

Once Little River leaves the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains

National Park it takes on a different nature. Fishing Regulations change. It becomes subject to Tennessee State Regulations. A trout stamp is required of all anglers 16 and older who are fishing the water (no matter if they are fishing for trout or not). This section of Little River is stocked with rainbow trout by the TWRA. You can access the river near public bridges and picnic areas. Please be courteous of private land. In the summer months this section of the river will see the most traffic by people in tubes. Early and late fishing will be best. You will find stocked rainbow trout, smallmouth bass and red-eye bass in this part of the river.

Below Townsend Little River is a great smallmouth bass fishery. In the summer you will find big slow pools as well as riffles and shoals. Old Walland Highway follows along this section of river and provides access. There is a lot of private land here so be mindful when looking for places to park.

Middle Prong of Little River (Tremont) is another excellent stream to fly fish. In the summer you might find a few smallmouth in the lowest reaches of this stream but mostly you will find rainbow trout. There are some brown trout here, but they are generally hard to come by. In the headwaters you will find brook trout. There are three main sections to Middle Prong: along the paved road, along the gravel road upstream of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and Lynn Camp Prong. Lynn Camp Prong and Thunderhead Prong come together to make the Middle Prong of Little River. Lynn Camp Prong is accessed by the Middle Prong Trail at the end of the Tremont Road. This section of stream offers great rainbow trout fishing in the many plunge pools. Thunderhead Prong offers a perfect escape from the crowds. The fish will be relatively small in these streams averaging between 4” to 7”.

Middle Prong along the gravel section of Tremont Road is a favorite place to fish. There is a great mix of broken pocket water and plunge pools. Due to the gravel road this section of river can become muddy quickly in



ACC Crappie Stix/Crappie Cove Big Crappie Bash Tournament

On April 27th, 2024, the 4th annual Acc/Crappie Cove Big Crappie Bash took place on Watts Bar Lake here in Tennessee. Guys and gals, let me tell you that it turned out to be a great one! It shaped up to be a record breaking tournament with the record number of 87 boats and participants registered and competing and a real plus was the record breaking weights brought into the weigh station. YouTube Celebrities such as Matt Xenos (Wired For Crappie),Davis From (Flopping Crappie) and Chris A.K.A Sarge From (Asleep At The Reel) all competed in this awesome event as well.

The Morning started off with a prayer held by Chris (Sarge) followed by the playing of the National Anthem as all of these Patriotic Anglers saluted their American Flag and what it stands for with honor. Each angler’s excitement level quickly

elevated as the countdown to blast off ticked closer and closer until at last the first 20 boats took off and each 20 after that left the marina at Terrace View, wide open to get to their favorite spots of the lake.

Sure didn’t take long before the first winning crappie for the first hour was weighed in which was a very respectable 2.04 lb. Watts Bar Slab by Jeff Webber and his partner Cody Gaines. As hour two rolled around Mike & Frankie Chesser of the Slab Happy Lures Pro Staff and the overall winners of the 2023 tournament boated into the scales weighing in that hours winning fish being 1.98 Slab taking the win for that 2nd hour.

Hour #3 made it interesting when Mr. Larue Isom and Jason Grimes (Slab Happy

Continued, see ACC CRAPPIE STIX Page 13



continued from page 8

a heavy rain though it does tend to clear out fast. There is a gate on this section of river that is closed on occasion due to bad weather. Middle Prong along the paved section of Tremont Road is a wonderful springtime place to fish. This section has a good mix of long pools and broken pocket water.

West Prong of Little River joins with the Middle Prong and Little River at the Townsend “Y” just inside the GSMNP. This is a small stream, but it is full of small, eager rainbows. It is easily accessed along the Laurel Creek Road which goes to Cades Cove. Here you will find small pools and pocket water. Several miles up, West Prong leaves the road and continues back into the mountains where it can be accessed by trail. West Prong’s small size makes it one of the first streams to become fishable after a heavy rain storm.

Abrams Creek is found inside Cades Cove. This is a very popular stream to fly fish. All of the articles which have been written about this stream has given it almost mythical standing among Smokies streams. To access Abrams Creek you must drive the Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11 mile, one-way road. The Loop Road is often choked with traffic and is closed until 10 am for bike traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from the second week of May until the last Saturday of September. Halfway around the Loop Road is the Abrams Falls Trailhead. This is where you begin fishing Abrams Creek.

Abrams Creek is accessed by the Abrams Falls Trail. You will find beautiful pools and great riffles. Rainbows are what you will catch here but some of the largest in the Park. Abrams Creek is EXTREMELY slippery so use extra caution and maybe even a wading staff. The “Horseshoe” is a popular section of the creek but not to be attempted without preparation. On this section of stream the Abrams Creek leaves the trail and makes a horseshoe bend around a ridge. This section takes a full day to fish; set

aside at least 8 hours. There is no bailing out midway through. You are away from the trail, in the river, and climbing the ridge is not recommended.

Closer to the Gatlinburg entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is even more streams. West Prong of Little Pigeon River is one of the highest gradient streams in the eastern US. The headwaters of this stream are teaming with brook and rainbow trout and are easily accessed along the New Found Gap Road. This is one of 8 streams in the GSMNP where it is legal to catch and keep brook trout (as long as they are larger than the legal keeping size of 7”). At this point the stream is actually named Walker Camp Prong and it is flowing right along the roadside. This is great high elevation stream, small, rocky and cold, making it a perfect destination in the hotter parts of summer.

Further down the mountain towards Gatlinburg the river leaves the road just a little. It can be accessed by Quiet Walkways. This is a great place to fish during the busier times of year if you are looking for some solitude. Some sections of river here can be strenuous to navigate. There is large boulders and plunge pools. Downstream of the Chimney Tops Picnic area you will catch almost only rainbow trout.

Just outside of Gatlinburg the stream is a mix of pocket water and large pools. This can be great fishing in the Spring and early Summer. As the West Prong of the Little Pigeon leaves the National Park it goes into Gatlinburg where the fishing regulations change to those of Gatlinburg.

Middle Prong of Little Pigeon (Greenbrier) is located a few miles north of Gatlinburg along US 321. Most of this stream is accessed along the Greenbrier Road. It is a large stream and can be good fishing for rainbow trout. The head waters of this stream, Ramsey Prong and Porters Creek are home to rainbow and brook trout.

Many other wonderful trout streams wait for you in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Grab a map and try different streams. They are all full of trout.



STIX continued from page 10

Pro Staffers) also came to the scales with an absolute Watts Bar Monster Crappie! Their fish weighing in at a whopping 2.56 lb. Was a mind blower for most of the Anglers and that particular fish would win the entire tournaments big fish spot to put these fellas facing a good pay day of $6500 for the day!

Mike and Frankie Chesser would once again return to the scales during hour #4 to secure another check that would give them a pay day of $3000! Special thanks to Andy Lehman of ACC Crappie Stix - Blake Haulk of Crappie Cove - Matt Xenos of (Wired For Crappie) who also won an hour with his partner Josh Sanders weighing in a giant 2.12 lb. crappie taking home $1500 themselves. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to all of those who helped in making this tournament one of the best yet. The next tournament has already been scheduled for April 26th, 2025, at Terrace View Marina on Watts Bar Lake and I look forward to being there to compete in that one as well.

As always May God Bless each of you and Tight Lines!

Perry Hensley Sr.

Note: Contact Misty at Crappie Cove to Register for the next event!


The Devil is in the Details

Little things... that’s what makes up the difference sometimes between catching and not catching. I talked to a neighbor the other day and he related a story about south Georgia pond fishing for bream. Joe said there were fish breaking everywhere, crickets were used for bait, and he couldn’t buy a bite. The pond was only several feet deep and he had set his cork a couple of feet above the cricket with a small split shot. “Not airy a bite.” Finally he removed the split shot, so

the cricket sat on top of the surface and shortly filled a stringer with “brims”.

Sometimes you can do no wrong, a missed cast, stupid color or incorrect size doesn’t matter, even your buddy is catching fish (which I hope you all have a bud you can always out fish). But most times there is a subtle trigger that on that day, in that place with that group of fish, there is a right and a wrong way to get them to bite.

I feel like the right bait is probably the first thing to consider. Are they eating shad, worms, crickets, or any number of other delicacies? Also worthy of considering are the size, shape and color of bait, so you can “match the hatch” as close as possible. Even when you have precisely the right bait you must consider your presentation, do they want it burned, hopped or my favorite, dead sticked. My bud, Lou and I used to fish redfish tourneys from North Carolina all the way to Louisiana. Our favorite method for catching reds was to throw a spinner bait with a gulp shrimp and simply let it sit on a mud bottom. The reds would smell that gulp bait and you would feel them suck that spinner bait and all with no notice of all that attached hardware.

All this and I haven’t gotten into line size, scents, casting accuracy and distance or things like patience, perseverance and confidence. Sheesh, it seems like it is amazing we ever catch anything, but thankfully fish brains are fairly small and their appetites fairly large.

We are blessed with lots of choices to try out all our methods in Godgiven, beautiful waters. Let’s be thankful.

Later, Capt. James


Bryson City Brewing: New Ownership, Same Historic Location

After a long day of fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bryson City Brewing is the perfect place to unwind and refuel. Located just a stone’s throw away from the park, this brewery is the ideal spot to unwind after an “Adventure Angling Trip.”

The rustic charm and laid-back atmosphere will make you feel right at home. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who understand what you’ve been through on your fishing excursion. They’ll be happy to pour you a cold beer from their state-of-the-art brewery or whip up one of their signature cocktails. But it’s not just the drinks that keep people coming back to Bryson City Brewing. The food here is outstanding. From juicy burgers and crispy chicken tenders to flavorful wings and BBQ, there’s something on the menu for everyone. And don’t forget to try their famous nachos – piled high with all your favorite toppings.

Whether you choose to sit outside on their spacious patio or inside in the fully air-conditioned dining room, you’ll find a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy your meal. And with 16 screens in their sports bar area, you won’t miss any of your favorite teams in action. But what truly sets Bryson City Brewing apart is their understanding of what anglers need after a day spent out on the water. This is more than just a brewery – it’s a place where like-minded individuals can

come together and share stories of their adventures in nature. So why not make Bryson City Brewing your go-to spot for postfishing drinks and eats? Trust us – it’s sure to become one of your favorite spots in Bryson City.


The Bite is On

Hey folks, I hope everyone is doing well. Loving the good warm weather, and the bite is on. This is one of my favorite months; it’s sort of a transition from fish spawning an there starting to spread out an feed hard to bounce back from the bedding activities. Bass tend to be chasing threadfin shad up, too, and this can be an exciting time of year for some great top water action. My favorite technique this time of year is to slow troll running multiple rods and setups targeting a variety of fish from walleye to trout and bass. Trolling works so well because you cover so much water and depth, that you’re Fontana Lake Fishing Guides – Ronnie Parris, Owner & Head Guide LAKE, CREEK

We o er both full and half day trips with the most competitive rates available. All tackle and supplies you will need while you are on your trip is covered by our listed price.

bound to find some good feeding going on. Watch for birds an breaking fish; if you’re seeing this, you’re in the target area. Electronics are a must. You’re watching for bottom depth, thermocline and schools of fish or bait. Try different colors and lure types. One day blue and purples may work great an next day it’s chartreuse and red you can watch when you hook up an start matching the rest of your lures to the most productive. Size is another consideration. No time of year will you see more small baitfish than now. Don’t run a 5 inch bait when the main forage is 1 inch or less. As the water is the perfect temperature right now I usually troll a little faster averaging 2.4 mph. These fish are feeding aggressively so they will chase, especially the trout. This is an awesome time to take kids, as the bite should be fast an temps are great. Take plenty of snacks an get out there and make some memories.

Be safe, an as always take a kid fishing

Ronnie Parris is owner and head guide of Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited-Fontana Lake Fishing Guides, headquartered in Bryson City, N.C., heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, www.; (828) 488-9711.

1012 East Alarka Road, Bryson City, NC • 828-488-9711, Cell: 828-736-9471

Be the Bait—Artificially, That Is

Bolts of Fishing Series

When guiding there is a question I am asked more often than not. How do I work this type of artificial bait? I will generally answer, “Just be the bait.” The looks and responses I receive from my answer vary. Then I explain what the artificial being used is intended to represent and how it should be used, or how I think it should be used to achieve the desired result.

Different types of artificial bait are designed to do and imitate different things; some are noisy, and some are quiet. Some are to be retrieved fast and some slow. Some artificials are intended to represent fish feeding on other fish, and others are designed to imitate a wounded bait fish. A few I’m not sure what they represent, but they all have one thing in common; they are intended to draw a strike from a hungry predator.

Knowing about the fish you are targeting, and their feeding habits will help you decide which artificial bait to choose. What the artificial you choose is intended to imitate and knowing how similar live baits move through the water or react, is priceless. This knowledge is gained from experience and paying attention to what is happening around you or in the waters you are fishing. The best classroom for a fisherman is on and under the water.

Generally speaking, you are the main component that affects the way the artificial you choose reacts. You ultimately control the action, or presentation of the bait, with the style of your retrieve. The proper retrieve is the key.

A few examples: When fishing with a fly rod you control the action of the bait by rate of retrieve. The speed you strip line coupled with the design of the fly creates the action. The reel is used to hold line and the rod used to deliver the cast plus fight the fish. When fishing with a casting spoon, crank-bait or spinner (for the most part, not always) the action is controlled by rate of retrieve and the design of the spoon, plug or spinner. The action of soft-plastic jerk baits is created by moving the rod. The reel is mainly used to recover line. The rod is used to create the desired results with a top-water plug. These are just a few examples, and by no means set rules. There are no givens in fishing. But there are always exceptions.

The key to proper presentation and success is understanding what to do to make the bait you are using look real. Do not be afraid to experiment. Ultimately the fish will let you know if what you’re doing is “being the bait”. Tight Lines and Calm Seas Capt. Cefus McRae


It Is On

Now that the spawn is over it is time to concentrate on the migration of the fish from the backs of spawning bays. This is where you will find large schools off of the secondary points. The warmer the water gets the more they move closer to the main points. Testing your spots is a must from week to week since bass are on the move this time of year.

Not all bass will follow the normal migration pattern. You will notice that a good bit will hang around creeks where the river is flowing into the lake. These areas are rich in oxygen and crayfish which bass love. Trout will also roam these areas in search of bugs and shad. Large bass will ambush these trout around docks and brush.

This is the time when bass split up into two different groups, one staying shallow and one going deep. When you hear of bass being caught in cover that means this group was located in the shallow areas. Bass caught on structure means that this group went deep. Whichever group you decide to target, you will find bass spread along the features of the shoreline from the backs of creeks to the main points. This is due to the different waves of bass moving in different times.

After the spawn there is a brief period where the large females will go deep and not feed to recover. This only last for a few weeks and then the feed-up begins. The smaller males will hang around the nest to guard the fry. If you find schools of fry, there is usually a guardian nearby making them easy to catch. Some anglers leave these bass alone so that bluegill will not make a meal of them while they are unattended.

You will need to cover water with chuck and wind kind of baits. Once

you locate a school you can slow down and sit on them for a while once you get the school fired up. Be aware lots of boats will be in the water, not only from anglers, but the skiers and recreational boaters. Once you chase these bass to the main lake these boaters will wake you heavily. Most anglers will end the day when this happens, but the ones that do not find opportunities from lack of competition.

Lots of good things are happening this time of year so have fun and learn new things.

Scott Norton is a Western North Carolina native. Born in Asheville, N.C., he is a long-time hunter, angler and weekend warrior.




May Fly Fishing Report Fishing Accidentals

The month of June begins the terrestrial season in the Southeastern mountains. Sure, there are a few tan caddis, Light Cahills and Yellow Sallies bouncing around, but the “accidentals” will draw even the largest fish in for a snack! Big bugs like grasshoppers, beetles, ants, and bees are up on top of the menu.

There’s a lot more calories in an insect this size than a teeny, little morsel and the trout and also warmwater fish like bream and bass know it. These flies not only work well, they are a blast to fish! By blast I mean the way the fish smash them on the surface. There’s no sipping a grasshopper or a big fat beetle; it’s total destruction from the food chain. Water spraying out onto the bank during the strike is commonplace adding a visual spectacle to the day not soon forgotten.

Being careful with the presentation is not necessary and sometimes detrimental. Plopping the fly down on the water can sometimes lure a trout or bass from several feet away and twitching it afterward can further seal the deal. Hopper patterns work well when there is well, grass or open areas which are hard to find on our public trout streams here in the Southeast.

Private water, pay to play streams are usually on lower elevation, more open areas, and big hopper patterns or Chubbies can be lethal and loads of fun. Lakes or slow-moving rivers containing largemouth and bluegill cruising the banks are wonderful sport with a big grasshopper or cricket fly pattern.

On our more mountainous public National Forest lands or in the Smokies, flies such as beetles, ants, or bees are more familiar to a trout. Not to say there aren’t a few small woods hoppers in the forest but there are far more other types of trout food. Parachute Black Ants are flies that even bridge the gap on hatches or at other times of the year and are a must have for an Appalachian trouter’s fly box. I’ve caught trout in January on ants and beetles during an unseasonably warm day on several occasions. They must taste good and are almost irresistible to a trout given the right circumstance.

Tying flies with foam makes them almost unsinkable and properly tied beetle patterns can be used all day without constant retreatment. Foam is a perfect material for terrestrials providing bulk with good solid profiles perfect for beetles and other bugs. Dropping a little black ant behind a beetle is a killer combo late spring all the way to fall here in the mountains. One of my best deep woods flies for summer is a simple little yellow jacket pattern tied with black and yellow foam.

Watching for hornet and bee’s nest while fishing in summer is as important as watching your footsteps for snakes. In almost every overhanging blooming Rhododendron there will be lots of various bees buzzing about and some usually wind up taking a swim. The hungry trout will take advantage of this situation.

Summer has begun and the fishing is fantastic!

Give David & Becky Hulsey a call at (770) 639-4001 to book a class or a guided trout trip. See his website at


Getting Back to Basics Offshore

Ican remember when I was a young angler fishing with my dad, we would catch grey trout and seabass on a double tackle (Chicken Rig) until our arms hurt and/or the big coolers were full. Those days are long gone but the entertainment value of this style fishing for young (and mature) anglers remains the same.

There is a lot to be said for diversifying the species you’re fishing for to come home with a cooler of fish for dinner(s). Don’t mistake what I’m getting ready to say, but I love catching grouper like “Peter loved the LORD”, but with all the reduction of limits and seasons, we must learn how to catch different species of fish to fill da box. I call this offshore fishing “organic grocery shopping.” Yes, it takes switching the tactics and downsizing the tackle, but effective just the same for harvesting fish and making memories with your children that will last forever. Granted, photos are worth their weight in gold, but video footage of your children catching these fish, two at a time sometimes, with the rod bent over double is PRICELESS!!!

Check the regs for creel limits on the grunts, pinkies and seabass so you are legal when you get back to the inlet, but a double tackle or a triple tackle can be crazy effective for the triggers, beelines, pinkies and more when you find them. It’s best to anchor or put the “spot lock” on a school of fish when you mark them rather than drifting over and away from the school, but drifting will work just the same in the deeper water if you don’t have the spot lock trolling motor.

Small circle hooks work great for this style of fishing. You can replace the bank sinker on the bottom of a “chicken rig” with a 2, 3 or 4 oz jig with a circle hook a circle hook for the ultimate tackle (in my humble opinion). A level wind reel, like an Ambassador, works best for this kind of mid water column fish. Click the reel into free poll with you thumb on the spool and start letting it go towards the bottom slowly. Personally, I count the number of rod length strips to the desired depths (See video). Look at your recorder and it’ll tell you how deep the fish are. Once you find the magic depth, it’ll get automatic.

Don’t just wind the first fish up when it bites, because it’s a circle hook, keep it right there with very little to no winding, and let the second or third hook get loaded up with additional fish coming up, then bring them all to the boat. Please use a dehooker instead of trying to remove small circle hooks from these snappers and/or triggers, as it will often result in punctures and cuts.

Always keep (properly fitting) outer waterproof clothing stored for everyone, and an eye on the weather, but take the kids and start a tradition that’ll last for generations to come of “offshore organic grocery shopping.”

All the best fishing, Tim Barefoot


It’s Almost Tarpon Time in South Carolina

Every year, tarpon embark on an annual migration along the eastern coast of the United States, and the Gulf of Mexico. These gamefish, offer an unmatched battle, creating unforgettable memories for anglers of all skill levels. In South Carolina, the tarpon fishing season typically begins in June, peaking in July and August. It is influenced by the winter and spring conditions in the Florida Keys, where these fish reside during the cooler months. A warmer-than-usual winter in Florida can lead to an earlier start to the season in South Carolina, while

a colder-than-normal winter can delay their arrival.

The tarpon migration is mainly driven by water temperature and the pursuit of prey. Tarpons thrive in specific water temperature ranges, prompting their northward movement as they follow bait up the coast. Additionally, tarpon spawn offshore, typically from spring through summer, and the larvae follow currents to inshore estuaries, creeks, and rivers where they can mature. Throughout their migration, tarpon relentlessly chase schools of mullet and other baitfish to satisfy their ravenous appetites and maintain their energy levels.

It should also be noted that tarpon see every boat, hook, bait, lure, and fly while making their journey north. By the time they make it to South Carolina, they can be extremely wary of human presence. If tarpon can be elusive in the Florida Keys, imagine what they’re like when they finally reach South Carolina. This is one reason that catching a South Carolina tarpon is such a notable acheivment.

The coastal region of South Carolina has become a destination for tarpon over the years. The coast of South Carolina provides a habitat that can be rich with baitfish, moderate water temperatures, and protection from predators. Consequently, tarpon can be found in great numbers along the shores of South Carolina, awaiting anglers’ offerings throughout the entire season.

Based on the moderate winter experienced in Florida through 2023/2024, anglers in South Carolina can anticipate the arrival of tarpon as early as June, with the potential for an extended season lasting until October, depending on the onset of winter conditions in the region.

Capt. RC was born and raised in coastal South Carolina and is owner of Harvest Moon Fishing Charters. His grandmother taught him how to fish at the age of 2, and now he enjoys teaching others.


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I’ve long been a proponent of chumming up a place on the bottom with squid and then feeding grouper a big live bait.

However, afer the last few trips, I’m starting to rethink this tactic because of the number of sharks we’ve been catching.

I’ve never seen as many sharks as we are seeing right now. Te bottom is covered with them, and the top layer of the water column is full of them. Tis past trip, we put out fve Spanish mackerel on light lines hoping for a wahoo bite. We caught fve sharks almost instantly. One of these bites was the biggest tiger shark I’ve ever seen. It was at least 12 feet long and 2 feet wide across the head. Te rest of them were standard 6- to 9-footers; it takes a toll on you to get them to the boat for dehooking.

apart to create a lot of smell down on the bottom. Ten I drop live pinfsh or small snappers to the grouper drawn in by the “chum.”

Lately, I’ve resorted to dropping big, pretty live baits frst to see if we can get a few grouper bites before the taxman arrives, and it’s become a matter of WHEN rather than IF he shows up. It’s “hit-and-run” fshing. We pull up on a nice mark with pinfsh and grunts already rigged on the jig. I hit the spot lock on the Rhodan and drop in for a few good bites. When the sharks show up, we just move up or down the ledge. Lather, rinse and repeat as ofen as needed. Granted, we haven’t boated as many of the smaller snappers or seabass for the cooler, but we’ve caught some beautiful grouper with this “hitand-run” style of bottom banging. Te wahoo are diferent story. We quit putting the light line out due to the instant shark bite. I’ve got to fgure something out for that. From now until the end of October or the frst of November, wahoo will be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Tey will come inside the edge of the Gulf Stream following big stacks of bait. As usual, some king mackerel fsherman will catch a 100-pounder on a live menhaden in less than 100 feet of water while chasing a tournamentgrade kingfsh.

Between all the American red snappers—which we aren’t allowed to keep—and all the sharks, we’ve been run of of several square miles of bottom lately. Tankfully, we’ve found some of the grouper we’re looking for, but I’m seriously rethinking the “chumming” part of the tactics I usually employ. Normally, I begin on a spot by dropping whole squid on jigs, which the smaller fsh pick

I said all that to say this: We’re going to take more pinfsh and less squid to catch “hit-and-run” grouper. Someone please educate me on a bait that will not catch a red snapper!

For more info on the jigs and bait, check out Tim Barefoot’s YouTube channel and website,

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C-HAWK MITZI SKIFF: & Two Brands, One Philosophy

In the boating world, brand loyalty is earned. Over years, boater experiences with vessels— good and bad, on and of the water—are what build the reputations of boats. It might, or might not, come as a surprise that two brands that have garnered sterling reputations in the industry for functionality and dependability are manufactured by the same builder.

C-Hawk and Mitzi Skif are both built in the U.S.A. with the same philosophy that simplicity leads to vessels that are easier and more afordable to operate and maintain. A simple, well-designed and well-built boat, comes with less hassle, leaving more time to spend on the water. Especially among anglers, this philosophy has built large followings for both brands among people who are more interested in fshing and boating than they are in pampering their pretty boats.

“We build a keep-it-simple-stupid boat. If you want something you can sof scrub at the end of the day and put it away, you’re my guy,” said Brad Grubbs, the owner and manufacturer of C-Hawk and Mitzi Skif. “We set out to make boats that are afordable to operate and afordable to own, and the philosophy has worked.”

Mitzi Skiff

Although Mitzi Skif originated in the 1990s for a singular purpose, the same philosophy for simplicity applies. Fly fshing the fats drove Tom Mitzlaf to design a skif with quiet maneuverability, extremely shallow draf and a clean deck layout to make him a better fsherman. It was simple by necessity, and it revolutionized the industry.

Tree decades later, Mitzi’s line of 15’, 16’and 17’ skifs achieves those purposes exceptionally well, and they have led the way with innovations that make them the fats boats other boat builders imitate. A Mitzi does everything the pricier skifs do, yet they are afordable enough for any angler to own and operate.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fx it,” Grubbs quipped. Mitzi builds skifs for anglers more interested in fshing than in spending a lot of money.

Te 15’ remains a purpose-built fats boat for one or two anglers to sneak up on wary fsh in super-skinny water. Te 17’ models are more multi-purpose. Tey can fsh three anglers, and while they are primarily a fats boat, they perform admirably as bay boats with a modifed V-hull and an 11-degree deadrise at transom to reduce hull slap. Rolled gunnels knock down spray for an exceptionally dry ride.

Tey are solid and durable for long years of heavy use, and from hideaway pushpole holders to fush-mount hardware, Mitzi delivers clean and stable casting decks designed specifcally for hard-core anglers.

C-Hawk Boats

C-Hawk has been around since the mid1970s and ofers lines of bombproof 16’ to 29’ center consoles and 22’ to 29’ sport cabins that were originally developed for commercial applications. C-Hawks remain widely used commercially, and many recreational

boaters also see the value in a vessel that’s built to take a beating.

“Really, we just took a commercial-duty boat and put a little lipstick on it,” Grubbs said. “ Te boat is as tough as it ever was. It’s been the same boat for nearly 50 years.”

At their core, C-Hawks are hardcore workhorses, and the center console models have become popular with charter captains because they are built to withstand hard use for years of trouble-free boating. Grubbs pointed to C-Hawk’s 25 CC as a great example of what the brand has become. It’s an extremely stable fshing platform that drafs just 12 inches, and with a 300 horsepower max it’ll take you anywhere you need to go from skinny water to light ofshore duty. What’s more, it’s infnitely customizable from the factory.

“We can mix and match consoles, fsh boxes, full transoms, cut transoms, bare hulls… you name it,” Grubbs said. “ Tere are some recreational guys adding towers and sight fshing for cobia, and such. Everything we do is built around keep it simple, keep it efcient, keep it easy to maintain, keep it cost efective to own and operate. Tey are all unique… no cookie cutter trailer queens here. Te 25 is a great example of what C-Hawk is.”

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Every month, I provide tips to help make you a better angler. Tis month’s tip is one of the most important. With so many tackle and gear options on the market these days, staying organized on the water is difcult. Here are a few things I do that make me a more efcient angler because I know exactly where to go when looking for the right tool for the job.

Storage options vary depending on the type of fshing you do. I’m going to stick to bass fshing, but don’t be afraid to alter these tips to your style of fshing.

When storing baits, hooks, line and gear, your No. 1 enemy is moisture. Keeping your tools dry should be a priority because it keeps hooks sharp and everything else rust-free. I store almost everything in waterproof boxes or bags. Tese storage options might be a little more expensive up-front, but when compared to losing a whole box of lures or hooks to rust, your investment will pay for itself many times over.Another good trick I’ve learned is to use DampRid moisture absorbers. Here in Florida, where humidity is high and temperatures fuctuate, condensation builds up in boat compartments. Te best thing to do is to take your tackle out of the boat and move it inside, but this is not an option if you fsh a lot and have a lot of gear. DampRid containers help keep everything safe and dry by absorbing moisture from the air in your boat’s storage compartments.

Now let’s talk about organization. If you’re a bass angler, you have a ton of sof plastics in diferent styles and colors as well as packs of hooks, jigs and weights to fsh them. I use plastic Sterlite containers with latches to store my bags of sof plastics. You can buy them at Walmart. I organize my baits by the type of sof plastic they are, and I label each container. On the water, this makes it easy grab the style of bait I’m looking for. Also, before I leave the house, labels make it easy to load what I think I’ll need for the day and remove what I don’t.

On the hook side of organization, one mistake people make when organizing hooks is to take them out of the original packaging to place them in compartment boxes. Tis is a huge mistake. Hook packs are clearly labeled by size and style, which allows you to quickly identify them on the water. Also, hook packs are designed to keep hooks sharp, untangled and dry. You can store your hooks in a box, but you should leave them in their original packaging.

Hopefully, these tips help you be more efcient on the water and save you some money by protecting your investments.

Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at

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2024 American Silver Eagle: The Silver Eagle is the most popular coin in the world, with its iconic Adolph Weinman Walking Liberty obverse backed by Emily Damstra’s Eagle Landing reverse. Struck in 99.9% fine silver at the U.S. Mint.

2024 South African Krugerrand: The Krugerrand continues to be the best-known, most respected numismatic coin brand in the world. Struck in 99.9% fine silver at the South African Mint.

2024 Canada Maple Leaf: A highly sought-after bullion coin since 1988, this 2024 issue is the FIRST Maple Leaf coin to bear the effigy of King Charles III. Struck in high-purity 99.99% fine silver at the Royal Canadian Mint.

2024 British Silver Britannia: One of The Royal Mint’s flagship coins, this 2024 issue carries the portrait of King Charles III for only the second year ever. Struck in 99.9% fine silver at The Royal Mint.

Your Silver Passport to Travel the World

2024 China Silver Panda: China Silver Pandas have been collectors favorites since their introduction in 1983—noted for their heartwarming one-year-only designs highlighting the maturing of Panda cubs. Struck in 99.9% fine silver at the China Mint.

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You’ll save both time and money on this world coin set with FREE Shipping and a BONUS presentation case, plus a new and informative Silver Passport!

Just Released and AVAILABLE NOW!

These amazing, just released 2024 Silver Passport 5-Coin Sets featuring five popular Silver Dollars from around the world are in stock now.

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2024 World Silver 5-Coin Set

Regular Price $249 – Only $199 per set!

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The 5 Most Popular Pure Silver Coins on Earth in One Set Asset Marketing Services, LLC d/b/a GovMint is a retail distributor of coin and currency issues and is not afliated with the U.S. government. Te collectible coin market is unregulated, highly speculative and involves risk. Prices, facts, fgures and populations deemed accurate as of the date of publication but may change signifcantly over time. All purchases are expressly conditioned upon your acceptance of AMS’s Terms and Conditions (; to decline, return your purchase pursuant to our Return Policy ( Keeping your purchase means you agree to the Terms and Conditions. © 2024 GovMint. All rights reserved. SPECIAL CALL-IN ONLY OFFER The Royal Not sold yet? To learn more, place your phone camera here >>> or visit BONUS Case! by Emily Damstra’s Eagle Landing reverse. Struck in The New 2024! Just Released and In Stock! 5 Pure Silver Coins!
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