StriperFun Guide Service - Tennessee Walleye Charters
    (931) 403-2501 http://www.striperfun.com captainjim@striperfun.com
  • Specializing in "Trophy" fishing as the owner of StriperFun Fishing Guide Service in KY and TN and TN Walleye Charters, Captain Jim Durham is a licensed guide who has fished the Cumberland Plateau and KY and TN year round for over 50 years. Captain Jim is a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Captain and is the creator of the “Striper Fish like a Pro” instructional DVD series as well as his own line of fishing lures.



    Provided by Captain Jim Durham
    Owner StriperFun Guide Service, Superbaittanks.com
    Captain Jim Marine Electronics & Captain Jim Lures

    Staff Writer for fishin.com

    DATE OF REPORT: May 4th, 2016

    • Latest water temperature: 68.1 ° F surface (Main Lake): May 3rd, 2016
    • Latest water temperature: 68.4 ° F surface (Indian Creek): May 3rd, 2016
    • Latest water temperature: 54.6 ° F surface (Cumberland River Carthage): May 2nd, 2016
    • Latest water temperature: 48.6 ° F surface (Obey River in Celina): May 2nd, 2016

    Currently, the lake level is right at 719.16 feet above sea level. The lake is now about 6 feet below the tree line which is 725.00' above sea level. Peak discharge of water through the power generation turbines is at 14,300 cubic feet per second per hour but for most of the day they are holding the water – thus the rise in elevation.


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



    Please enjoy some photos and videos below of a recent 49 inch 47 pound River Striper caught by Alan Ross as well as a 47 inch 43 pounder caught by Phil Gates!

    As I mention in my videos, the superlative ability of my Humminbird HD CSI 1199 and its sophisticated “side scan” technology helps put me on this huge monster Stripers. These big fish hold behind big rock ledges, rocks and timber piles in the current break just waiting for food to swim by.

    My Humminbird HD CSI 1199 side scan allows me to “zoom” in when I see what I believe to be a large fish. I can put my cursor on the fish and freeze it for a few seconds to confirm what I am seeing. Once I do this, my Minn Kota I-Pilot has the power to hold me in the current so that I can present an 18 inch Trout (we can use Trout in TN!) right over top of the big predator!

    The results are amazing!

    Click below to see the video of Alan Ross catching his big fish:


    Click below to see the video of Phil Gates catching his big fish:



    The lake fishing continues to be extremely strong! Enjoy some of the recent photos of nice Stripers caught on the lake.

    A nice group of fish - guided by Captain Jack (Jack can out you on them!)

    Check out Bill Ward and his long time buddy Phil with two really nice 32 inch lake fish! They fished with me personally, coming all the way from Florida to fish on the lake and on the river. A couple of really great fishermen!

    About StriperFun Guide Service

    As a United States Air Force Veteran, U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine officer, USCG Aux Search and Rescue Coxswain and as a Firefighter, Captain Jim Durham is the owner/founder of StriperFun Guide Service. StriperFun provides charters in KY on Lake Cumberland, on Tims Ford Lake in TN and Captain Jim’s Cumberland River Adventures in TN. Jim’s businesses also include Captain Jim Lures, Superbaittanks.com and much more…...

    StriperFun’s fishing charter businesses are one of the largest and best known charter fishing guide services in the Cumberland Plateau region. As a former B.A.S.S. fisherman (presented a “Lifetime membership” award many years ago), Captain Jim has been fishing and/or guiding on Lake Cumberland and on the Cumberland River in TN for most of his adult life, fishing the Upper Cumberland Plateau Region 52 years since he was six years old. Captain Jim is very well known and respected by marina owners, lake area business owners and regional law enforcement.

    Captain Jim personally holds multiple licenses and memberships:

    · Licensed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife as a fishing guide, with privileges to take customers fishing (Kentucky License # 007).
    · Licensed as well by the State of Tennessee Department of Fish and Wildlife as a fishing guide.
    · Licensed as a United States Coast Guard Merchant Marine Officer, holding a Captain's license (Coast Guard Merchant Marine Officer License # 1037731).
    · United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Staff Officer, holding a “Coxswain” (Patrol Captain’s Search and Rescue) rating with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.

    Captain Jim and his guides run hundreds of fishing charters a year. All StriperFun Captains are licensed, insured and are well trained in CPR & First Aid with no less than 20 years experience per man (a combined 180 plus years of experience). StriperFun has worked to be one of the best known guide services in the Cumberland Plateau region and will work hard to deliver "big trophy fish". You can count on the fact that your group will be treated with the utmost professional care and safety.

    Different than many basic guide services, StriperFun also caters to corporate groups as well as to families (and couples). Our guide boats are covered and heated during the winter months to get clients out of inclement weather. Our trips include all equipment & tackle as well as bait. Your trip also includes the cleaning and bagging of your catch (Lake trips) as well as photos for you to remember your trip.

    Jim personally charters out of a 2015 new 24 foot center console Alweld Escort Bay boat. Powered by a 2015 Mercury 150 four (4) stroke outboard (I love my Mercury!). She is quiet to sneak up on big fish and fast to cover a lot of water! She has 24 mile radar, full Humminbird electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor, a 50 Gallon Super Bait Tank, a huge 7 foot long 6 foot wide Atlantic Towers T-Top (covering you from rain) and is heated and can be quickly enclosed for really cold or wet days. This rig is the ultimate guide boat! She has "tons" of for moving around and fighting big fish and also has comfortable seating for the trip.

    All StriperFun guide boats have the most modern electronics, fishing gear and Coast Guard safety equipment and are covered in inclement weather for customer comfort!

    StriperFun is a strong supporter of our nation’s military men and women as well as our police and firefighters, offering a 10 % discount as a “thank you” for their service!

    On the River

    We are catching these monster Stripers in TN up and down the Cumberland River by pulling 2 to 3 pound Trout on planer boards.

    On Lake Cumberland

    Bait is terrific! We are moving around a lot to find the fish. The fish have been spawning so for a few days the bite was slower than normal. When we do find a big school of bait, we can catch fish using multiple methods:

    · We are pulling planer boards with live bait using weightless lines and or very small weights Carolina rigged.

    · Down lines with live bait are also getting “viciously” ripped down as we move through these big aggressive schools of Stripers! We are also catching nice smallmouth, large mouth and the occasional Walleye that are congregating with the Striper schools to tear into the huge schools of bait fish!

    What to expect on the water

    The fish are now holding on flats early in the morning and then moving to the Canyon walls in the creek turns as the day warms.

    As normal in May, we are still catching Stripers throughout the day on the main lake.

    The canyon wall effect

    A pattern/tactic I find very productive this time of year (later in the day) is to keep my planer boards much closer to the boat than normal as I fish sheer drop off walls near where the larger creek turns occur. You can be in 40 to 60 feet or water when your boat is only 30 to 40 feet off of the shore.

    On such sheer drops offs and major creek turns, the current stacks up the bait fish that are gorging on plankton. The predators are right there as well, gorging on the bait fish! Many times, the Striper schools will be on these sheer drop ledges as they have “corralled” shad schools up against the wall where they cannot escape so they can “rip” into them.

    It is certainly a site to see Stripers feeding heavy on the surface. However, understand clearly that this same type of “frenzied” feeding action can be occurring 30 to 40 feet deep right off the canyon wall and you would never know it!

    Most major creeks have such drastic creek turns and walls within two or three miles or so of the main lake. It is very important as you work to develop your “trophy Striper hunting skills” that you learn to read and understand the lake topographic maps and/or your GPS units so you can find the correct walls to fish. The easiest way to learn is follow the channel banks to find the deepest walls.

    This is why I keep my boards (although still in a “classic” V pattern) close to the boat, so I can keep the boat closer to the canyon wall. If the boards were further out, then I could not run the boat close to the wall because the outer boards would be hitting the bank and fowling/snagging. When you fish planer boards, you can develop a tendency to let the boards go “way out” from the boat. In shallow water, this is a must. But not when you are fishing 40 to 60 feet deep.

    Keeping the boards close allows me to directly target the fish on the canyon wall with a greater concentration of live bait, many times producing multiple hook ups. When I see a school of fish appears under the boat on my fish finder, I then stop the boat so the baits can “settle down” and drop into the feeding school. My new trolling motor also allows me to automatically “hover” over top of feeding fish automatically without having to touch the trolling motor. This makes fishing a lot easier!

    You can just imagine what happens many times. Fish on!

    It is interesting to think about all the big Striper feeding action going on that you cannot see on the surface. It makes me want to break out the rods and go hit them! I generally find that once we are a couple of hours into daylight the schools will move out of the flats and into deeper water on these canyon walls. So later in the morning (generally about 10 a.m.), I will switch over from the shallow flats to fishing the canyon walls. I also find that the very largest “older Stripers” will break away from the schools and will stay off by themselves. Similar to how a huge buck deer will separate from the herd to live alone.

    This seems to be the normal life cycle of many of God’s creatures.

    I also find that most of these larger older Stripers (really big targets on the fish finder!) will “strategically hold” on underwater current break points (within a few feet off the bottom) waiting to ambush prey.

    Using high quality fish finders, I search out and locate where there are channel swings in the creek bottom forming ledges (which the current washes nutrient rich water across!) or where there are sharp mud to rock transitional areas (nature’s “party zones” for the algae, plankton and bait fish!).

    It is in these areas I like to target these largest of fish and usually will find them!


    I did a fishing radio talk show recently on WHAS 840 out of Louisville on the “Jim Strader” Great Outdoors show. It is broadcast to 17 States. I had the pleasure of being on the air with Jim Strader for almost 2 hours, covering fishing on Lake Cumberland and the Cumberland River.

    You can listen to the radio show by clicking: http://www.whas.com/media/podcast-gr...2014-24935145/

    I hope you enjoy it! I am generally on Sunday nights at 6:30 pm eastern.


    We are casting Captain Jim lures to the occasional (this time of year) surfacing fish:


    Captain Jim Lures, a Division of Striperfun.com, sells the top of the line hair jigs (captain Jim Specials) and blade baits (Little Friends), as well as the “Striper Mugger”, the “Tennessee Thumper” and the “Walleye Dazzler”! These lures have been heavily field tested, are super easy to cast (or troll) and besides being Striper magnets, they also absolutely wear out the Large Mouth, Spots, Walleye and Small Mouth!

    Click the link below to go to the StriperFun website and watch the new lures as their photos will appear (a new photo “pops in” every few seconds) in the middle of the top of the screen on the first page. Click any photo of any lure that to go in and read more about the newly designed lures and to see enhanced photos!

    You can also watch them demonstrated on YouTube by clicking the links below:

    “Tennessee Thumper”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba8uN6NYhk8

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/tenn...l?%3CosCsid%3E

    “Walleye Dazzler”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfuizmHF9r0

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/wall...zler-p-43.html

    “Striper Mugger”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46aVV...e=results_main

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/stri...gger-p-46.html

    “Captain Jim Hair Jigs and Blade Baits”: http://www.striperfun.com/store/stri...b2964914829f7a


    To really hit the “monster” Stripers, you need to use the freshest live shad. Not only can catching fresh shad be tough, keeping them alive used to be virtually impossible! Not any longer!

    The SUPER BAIT TANK has a triple filtration system, a built in oxygen infuser, a built in light for night use and is insulated. This system has been tested to hold gizzard shad & blue black herring for up to one week.
    I use only the SUPER BAIT TANK. Every guide I know uses it and so should you! StriperFun is the exclusive NATIONAL "on line" dealer of the SUPER BAIT TANK.

    For “new” Super Bait Tank orders - call me or click:



    When it’s time to go boating and fishing, you want to make sure your boat is ready to hit the water with all the equipment you need to have a great time!

    StriperFun and its related companies can help!

    With a full line up of the most modern marine electronics (fish finders, GPS, radar and more..) at "way below" national chain store prices, you need to let us get you the most modern marine electronics you have really been wanting! StriperFun also sells Captain Jim fishing lures, Striper Fish like a Pro “how to” DVDs, Super Bait Tanks, Hydro Glow Fish lights, Fitech bait nets and more. Captain Jim and StriperFun have everything you need to have a safe and fun year!

    As a new service, we are also providing a "bow to stern" approach of helping boaters and fishermen “update” the equipment on their boat. This includes outfitting brand both new boats as well as upgrading older boats (where the owners want to upgrade equipment). This also includes full installation of all electronic and mechanical equipment (installing marine electronics, trolling motors, down riggers, radar units, battery chargers and more!).

    StriperFun and Captain Jim is a "one stop shop" for your boating and fishing upgrade needs or to outfit your new boat! Give me a call at 931-403-2501 or email me at captainjim@striperfun.com


    All StriperFun Captains use Humminbird Side and Down Imaging units. Humminbird Fish Finder / GPS units are simply the best on the market! When you have to depend on your marine electronics to navigate safely at night and in the fog, as well as help you find fish, it is one of your most valuable tools!

    My Humminbird HD unit is simply great! When trolling artificial lures or live bait, I just don’t troll “hoping” to run in to a school of fish. I am scanning up to 240 feet per each side of the boat, looking for schools of bait and fish. When I see them (example: 3 o’clock to the starboard or 9 o’clock to port!), I can then “turn” my boat towards the schools of bait and fish to “get in to the strike zone”.

    Once arriving on the schools of bait and fish, I can switch over to the “Down Imaging”, “Quadrabeam Plus” or “Switch Fire” sonar systems to let me see with great clarity (each technology providing a different yet important view!) exactly where the fish are and how they are orientating.

    Why troll “blind” when you can scan surrounding water to see where the “big ones” are!!

    It makes all the difference in the world, turning a slow fishing day into a great catching day!

    My Humminbird Fish Finder is a guide’s best friend. As a Field Staff member of Johnson Outdoors, I strongly recommend this product to any open water fishermen. To be successful, you need to learn to use your marine electronics. If you are looking for new marine electronics, feel free to call me and I can make some solid suggestions on HUMMINBIRD COMBO GPS AND FISH FINDER UNITS.


    I only use the Minn Kota “Rip Tide” trolling motors from Johnson Marine and so should you! As a professional fishing charter Captain, my livelihood depends on my trolling motor working every time – every day! For 15 years I have used Minn Kota trolling motors and my “Rip Tide” trolling motor never lets me down!

    With “cool” features like the hands free “Auto Pilot and “I” Pilot functions, I can set my motor to go a specific direction and turn my back to deploy lines and have full confidence it will stay on course no matter the weather conditions!

    For using a “drop shot” on the fish, once I locate a nice an active school I simply push a button on “I” Pilot functions control and it “electronically anchors me” directly over the fish. If the winds blows me off the spot, the “I” Pilot brings me right back and again “electronically anchors” me back over the fish.

    Man, is that cool or what? I would never consider using anything else but a Minn Kota trolling motor!


    The gift of a weekend package deal (or even a one day fishing trip) with StriperFun Guide Service makes a great Christmas or birthday present for Dad, a brother or for the family and kids, or can make a great bonus for an employee or a promotion for a customer! We fish year round and our trips are very popular and our booking dates fill up fast!

    Fishing is family friendly and wholesome. So if you are interested in giving the perfect gift to that special someone, order a fishing gift certificate today!

    Call me at 931-403-2501 or email me at: captainjim@striperfun.com


    For years, as I have done radio and TV shows as well as outdoors and boat show seminars on Striper fishing, I have been approached by the “nicest” people who have a true desire to learn more about the great sport of Striper fishing. There are always lots of questions asked regarding the numerous different techniques involved in our great sport.

    Unfortunately, many times, it is hard to explain things and answer questions when you are not out on the water (to be able to physically demonstrate what you are talking about!). Initially, this is why I created my (hot selling!) "Striper Fish like a Pro" instructional 3 DVD "Trilogy". This gave new (and even experienced!) fishermen a lot of good solid data on how we "Pros" do what we do, etc.

    But from the constant feedback I get I have learned that more information and training is wanted! Because of this continual strong request and demand for more information and Striper fishing training, I now offer "hands on and personalized" Striper fishing technique training with "on the water" instructional trips! These will be trips on my new Alweld that will allow customers to “narrow down and focus in on” a large and diverse group of specific areas of Striper fishing they want to learn more about. It will also allow me to provide very precise and detailed training in a direct on the water "one on one" teaching environment!

    The Striper fishing technique training subjects will include (but not be limited to):






    And dozens of more subjects!!!

    Training trips are $75.00 an hour with a 4 hour minimum and are held afternoons beginning at noon. I suggest you book at least 30 days in advance as they are already getting popular and I am booking up.

    By the way, you might even catch a trophy Striper while we are training!

    Please call me at 931-403-2501 if you would like more information. I hope to see you soon!

    To get in on the great fishing action, you can book a Striper fishing adventure with StriperFun! Click the following link: www.striperfun.com/pages/bookacharter.php

    Many of our customers do not initially realize that the Striper fishing is 365 days year round. However, all of our boats are covered and we virtually fish almost every day.

    We live for this type of fishing and you can too! Come see us!

    Do not be afraid however to call last minute if you want a trip as we have numerous guides and can accommodate your schedule!

    If you have any other ideas, techniques or subjects you want me to write about, drop me a line!

    I am many times asked “What are the advantages to hiring a guide”? In essence, you hire a guide to utilize the guide’s many years of experience and lake knowledge, to learn new tactics and techniques to increase your chance of “landing the big one”. Guides use top of the line equipment and the freshest live bait. Also, if you cannot afford your own boat, it is a very cost effective way for you or your group to fish (cost per fisherman). Even professional fishermen hire guides to learn a lake and new techniques!

    We are moving quickly through Spring. Dawn rolls around a little earlier each morning and “Twilight” now rolls around just a little later each night.
    It is great to be alive and be a “free” American! I look forward to seeing all of you this year on the water.

    Count your blessings each day and live “in the moment”, not in the future and 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!

    Remember also to always obey all Kentucky and TN fishing regulations while on Lake Cumberland or any Kentucky (or Tennessee) waterway. Following the rules is a must! It is important that we all be good stewards of our fishing resources. If you have any questions about fishing regulations or to report poachers, call Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at 800-858-1549.

    Until next time, blue skies and tight lines!
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