StriperFun and 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, Tennessee Walleye Charters, Superbaittanks.com
    Captain Jim Marine Electronics & Captain Jim Lures

    Staff Writer for fishin.com

    DATE OF REPORT: May 17th, 2020

    • Latest water temperature: 69.2° F surface

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

    About StriperFun and Captain Jim

    I personally charter out of a 2015 24-foot center console Alweld Escort Bay boat. Powered by a 2015 Mercury 150 four (4) stroke outboard, she is quiet to sneak up on big fish and fast to cover a lot of water!

    With 24-mile radar, full Humminbird electronics, Minn Kota trolling motor, 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. The boat is covered to keep our clients dry during inclement and a heater is provided when it is cold.

    All StriperFun guides have similarly rigged boats!

    Below is a photo of StriperFun Cherokee Lake guide Gary Harris’s boat!

    Below is a photo of StriperFun Cherokee Lake guide Mike Johnson’s boat!

    My crews and I are all State licensed, insured and are well trained in CPR & First Aid, with lots of experience per man! We have worked to be one of the largest and best-known guide services in Tennessee and we 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.


    As a former United States Air Force Airman - military veteran and as a current U.S. Merchant Marine Captain and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol Coxswain (Captain), I understand the great importance that our brave service men and women play in our society.

    We also cannot forget the duty and service provided by our Policemen, Fish and Wildlife Officers and Firemen.

    STRIPERFUN OFFERS A 10% DISCOUNT on all charters to currently active Policemen, Fish and Wildlife Officers and Firemen as well as to all active military AND retired military veterans (with proper verification ID provided by the person booking the trip).

    This is our way of saying “THANKS” to these important men and women for your service.

    God is amazing in his creation! I am blessed to spend another day pursuing my passion of putting clients on big fish on our magnificent lakes of Cumberland and Dale Hollow and the Cumberland River! I give it all to God!

    Recent Activity on Cherokee Lake

    Kabam - Kabam - Kabam – Kabam!

    The fishing (on most days) has been steady for all StriperFun guides. Some of the hottest fishing of the year is right around the corner!

    This is the time of year to look for a “vortex” of swirling birds actually diving into the water to help you find fish. What this means is that the fish are eating the bait from below, driving the bait fish to the surface right into the feeding birds!

    See the photos below of the all our recent clients catching big Stripers and Hybrids!! Great fishing with StriperFun!

    About Cherokee Lake

    Cherokee Lake in Eastern Tennessee covers 30,300 acres, is 59 miles long and has 463 miles of shoreline. Fish densities in Cherokee Lake are greater than most of the other TVA Reservoirs due to the high level dense forage base of Threadfin Shad, Gizzard Shad, and Alewife. Cherokee Lake is noted for big Stripers, but is also “loaded” with big fat “Hybrid” Stripers as well!

    The Striper and Hybrid fishing is simply off the chart! 20 and 30 fish days are frequent (TN allows catch and release!), with a limit of 2 keepers per fisherman!

    StriperFun offers day trips on Cherokee Lake year-round (weather permitting). We use fresh caught live Gizzard and Alewives shad, as well as a variety of my own brand of Captain Jim Special artificial lures to cast and troll with! We troll Captain Jim Special artificial lures on slide divers and umbrella rigs to target suspended schools of fish.

    The Stripers and Hybrids in Cherokee Lake must be 15 inches long to keep them. Each fisherman can keep 2 Stripers or Hybrids. Lake trips are 6 hours.

    You can catch fish using multiple methods at this time:

    • We are pulling planer boards with live bait using Ľ to 1/2 oz weighted lines from the surface to 20 feet deep, Carolina rigged.

    • We are occasionally catching surface feeding fish in the mid mornings, catching multiple nice keepers throwing Captain Jim Special “Little Friends” and “Dominator” hair jigs.

    • Down lines with live bait are also getting “viciously” ripped down as we move through these big aggressive schools of Stripers, use 2 oz weights on the down lines at 25 feet. We are also catching nice Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass as well as Walleye that are congregating with the Striper schools to tear into the huge schools of bait fish!

    Seeing the big predator Stripers take the live bait on boards or balloons is like watching a prehistoric moment! It is “KABAM” and the rod gets “ripped” down in 1/10th of a second!! Sheer adrenaline and pure excitement! Yee Hii !!! Bam! Bam! Kapow! “Zing” – your rods will be bent with the reels singing!


    The Umbrella rig bite has also simply jumped off the chart with great numbers of nice keeper fish being caught! MY TENNESSEE THUMPER AND SPECIAL MODELS HAVE ONLY 3 HOOKS TO MAKE THEM, LEGAL IN TENNESSEE!

    Click here to order these great Umbrella rigs that will deliver for you as they do for us:




    Many times, at day break or at dusk in June, the Stripers will gather to feed (strength in numbers!) as they drive the bait fish in to tight pods and then attack them. However, naturally like most big game marine predators, they will prefer the more “moderate” temperature zone for most of the day. Once the morning “blitz” bite is over, you will need to hunt to find them many days.

    This is where fishing the umbrella rig can pay major dividends!

    As always, find the bait and you find the predators! But pulling live bait around you can only travel at most about 1.0 MPH on your GPS without stressing and killing your bait. You cannot “hunt around” much at that speed. You also do not want to just be “cruising” around searching with nothing in the water (and “0” chance of catching anything!).

    So, what is the compromise? It is the umbrella rig!

    By fishing an umbrella rig, you can cover a lot of water quickly as you hunt for schools of bait and fish, but can also be fishing at the same time! I equate it to a “search and destroy” mission. Being, that once I begin to hammer the fish on the umbrella rigs (I have found the fish!), I can then go back and drop live bait on them! Many days, I will just stay with the umbrella rigs if they are producing well.

    Fishing an umbrella rig also gives you the added advantage of not having to get up at 2:00 am to catch bait. Additionally, some of the best Striper fishing with umbrella rigs is in the heat of the middle of the day! The big Stripers, once the morning bite has subsided and the sun is up and hot, many times will simply lie on the bottom on the edge of the temperature variance zone and will wait for a nice meal to come to them. When you run a set of umbrella rigs right over their head they get “excited” and it is “kabam” and “kapow” as the rigs get nailed!

    So, what exactly “is” an umbrella rig?

    Basically, it looks like an infant’s mobile turned sideways coming thru the water. It has a weight in the center (generally at least a couple of ounces) and 4 to 6 metal arms that stick out various lengths depending on the type of rig. Off of various places on the arms of the umbrella rig and from the center of the rig will hang lines of various lengths on to which you tie or clip lures (see the photo).

    I run a minimum of 40-pound test line on my umbrella rigs with 12-inch arms and 9 one-ounce jigs (6 Teasers) and a minimum of 25-pound test line on my umbrella rigs with 7-inch arms and 5 one half ounce jigs (2 Teasers). All reels must have line counters as well, as the distant back you run the rig in conjunction with the speed of the troll will control the precise “depth” at which the rig is running.

    You can go to the StriperFun website to click and watch my most recent TV show to see umbrella rigs demonstrated. I demonstrate these techniques on my “STRIPER FISH LIKE A PRO” Trilogy series. Click the link below to go to the StriperFun website for more information on how to order this informative “how to” DVD Trilogy series:


    You can watch the videos of them catching their fish (as well as many other customers catching their big Stripers!) right on the StriperFun You Tube page:



    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:


    Please also follow us on Facebook:


    While you are on our Facebook page, please “like” the page!

    You have got to come do this! Click here for more information: http://striperfun.com/pages/bookacharter.php


    One of my favorite tricks this time of year is to position the boat perfectly “still” (possible only with a Minn Kota I Pilot!) and then drop a Captain Jim Striper Dominator hair jig right into a big ball of bait. If your fish finder is of high quality (like my Humminbird Helix 12), you can actually see the jig going up and down. The secret then is to be sure to let the lure drop “below” the bait ball “bail open” to let it “flutter down” at least 6 to 10 feet (below the bait ball). Keep your thumb lightly on the line to feel for strikes, as many times the big predators will then eat the lure hard as it drops because the fluttering hair jig looks like a wounded minnow in a death spiral! If they do not hit it, then “rip” it back up into the bait ball and “bounce it” for a few seconds in place then repeat the process.

    This hot little technique can turn on the fish! Additionally, using the same technique to “drop shot” live bait also works (making a slow day into a frenzied bite)!


    I do a fishing radio talk show as a frequent guest 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 all seven (8) bodies of water my companies offer fishing charters on.

    You can listen to the radio show by clicking:


    Then just choose a show! I hope you enjoy it! I am generally on Sunday nights at 6:30 pm eastern.


    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!


    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 our TN Umbrella rigs demonstrated on YouTube by clicking the link below:

    “Tennessee Thumper”: https://youtu.be/BbJ-mey6Yfc

    Click here to order these great Umbrella rigs that will deliver for you as they do for us:




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

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

    “Captain Jim Hair Jigs and Blade Baits”:




    Captain Jim is your low-price on-line leader to purchase all Humminbird Mega Imaging Fishfinders! Call me at 931-403-2501 to order!

    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”. My new Helix 12 Humminbird finder is really delivering for me! These huge Stripers act like Largemouth in the river, stacking up and hiding behind cover in the current to “swoop” out and hit the Trout! This new side scan technology can make the difference on a slow day, helping me spot the patterns!

    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.


    Captain Jim is your low-price on-line leader to purchase all Minn Kota model trolling motors! Call me at 931-403-2501 to order!

    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 blow 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

    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!

    Spring is here. 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 TN fishing regulations while on Cherokee Lake or any or Tennessee waterway. Following the rules is a must! It is important that we all be good stewards of our fishing resources.

    Until next time, blue skies and tight lines!
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