CAPT. RICHARD SIMMS (Catfish Guide)
Capt. Richard Simms is "semi-retired." He says, "As long as I can launch a boat, I'll never give it up completely. But nowadays my focus is on booking for the other great guides on the Scenic City Fishing Team." Born right here in Chattanooga, Capt. Simms was a game warden for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before becoming a photographer and PR guy for TWRA until he decided to return to his Chattanooga roots, leading to a new career as a broadcast journalist and freelance outdoor writer. Check out his book, "An Outdoor State of Mind." Capt. Simms created Scenic City Fishing Charters in 2006 but never had any idea it would grow to become one of the largest guide services in the region. Other guides are all independent contractors who work with Scenic City Fishing Charters to book and coordinate their guiding schedules. "In 2006 when I began, I never imagined the business growing to what is has become," said Capt. Simms. "It is a testament to our great guides who always put clients needs and enjoyment first, and the incredible fishery we are so fortunate to have at our back door. Scenic City Fishing Charters truly is a labor of love."
CAPT. BEN HAYES (Bass Guide)
Capt. Ben Hayes is the original traditional (using artificial lures only) bass guides working in partnership with Scenic City Fishing. He caught his first bass when he was six years old. Chickamauga has been his home lake for nearly 40 years and he says it has been very exciting to see it grow into one of the finest bass lakes in the country. Capt. Hayes has ranked among the Top 10 anglers on the Chattanooga Bass Association Tournament Trail, which has long been known as having the best bass fishermen on Chickamauga Lake. There was a day when a 5-pound bass got folks excited on Chickamauga. But the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been stocking Florida-strain largemouth since the year 2000. Now anglers don't get too excited until someone breaks the 10-pound barrier. Capt. Hayes is a full-time guide and loves to help others catch big bass, guiding all abilities of fishermen... from Mom's and Dad's taking their young children on their first bass fishing trip, to seasoned tournament anglers. Capt. Hayes fishes from a 20-foot Triton. He can accommodate up to three anglers.
CAPT. BRENT HAYES (Bass Guide)
Capt. Brent Hayes' passion for bass fishing is in his DNA, literally. He is Capt. Ben Hayes' son. Capt. Brent has been fishing on Lake Chickamauga for 25 years and has fished tournament circuits in the southeast for 15 years. His 1st Place wins include tournaments with the Chattanooga Bass Association, Sportsman’s Warehouse Dream Tournaments and Shriner’s Tournaments. Capt. Brent developed a competitive nature growing up playing sports. He received a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. He carried over his passion for football into fishing. Capt. Brent loves teaching people how to catch fish, and teaching different techniques to catch them. He fishes from a roomy 21-foot Caymas. He can easily accommodate up to three anglers.
CAPT. CHRIS PETERS (Bass Guide)
On the days he is not serving his community battling blazes as a full-time firefighter, Capt. Chris Peters runs traditional largemouth bass trips (artificial lures only), or our seasonal crappie trips. He is a full-fledged Captain on the water AND at the firehall. Capt. Peters grew up on Chickamauga Lake where he cut his teeth as a tournament angler. He has consistently placed high on the Chattanooga Bass Association Tournament Trail and placed second among the top pros across the country in a BASS Eastern Open on Chickamauga. He devotes several days a year fishing on various bass tournament circuits. He fishes out of a 20-foot Phoenix. He can accommodate up to 3 anglers. Capt. Peters and Capt. Hayes are good friends and routinely sharing information to stay on top of the latest best bite. Capt. Peters is ready and willing to hit the water with you any day he's not protecting lives and property.
CAPT. MIKE CARTER (Bass Guide)
Capt. Carter has been a bass and crappie fishing guide since 2005. He cut his teeth guiding on the famous Lake Guntersville in North Alabama where some of the biggest strings of bass in history have been caught by some of the world's most famous bass pros. But in the last decade, since TWRA stockings of Florida bass have taken hold, Chickamauga Lake has come to rival - and some might say, surpass Lake Guntersville. Capt. Carter has recently moved north, much closer to Chickamauga and wants to share his great expertise with Scenic City Fishing clients. "Having the opportunity to make my living guiding on these great bass lakes is truly a blessing. With all of my years of experience fishing tournaments and guiding, I look forward to helping hardcore bass addicts, or beginning anglers of all ages that just want to enjoy the bountiful fishing Chickamauga Lake has to offer."
CAPT. SAM SIMONS (Catfish Guide)
Capt. Simons is a teacher, guiding March through October (weekends only, except during the summer vacation when he guides full-time). In the classroom he is called "The Fishing Teacher." He and Capt. Simms became friends in 2009 when they teamed up for one of Capt. Simons' student outings, rewarding top performing students with a fishing trip. Soon afterwards Capt. Simons decided guiding was the perfect way to spend his days away from the classroom "educating" others about the bountiful fishing opportunities on the Tennessee River. Capt. Simons is primarily a catfish guide. But when conditions allow, he takes pride in combo trips for catfish and bass. We consider him our "live bait specialist." He is the hardest working man there is with a cast net. Whenever the river is willing to give up some of her bountiful crop of baitfish, Capt. Simons is the man to catch it. And there is a good chance he will use it to produce more big bass than most folks have ever seen in a day. He is also a great crappie guide during our favorite spring crappie season. Capt. Simons fishes from a 20-foot G3 Jon boat and can easily accommodate three people.
CAPT. JOE JELLISON (Catfish Guide)
We are proud to have Capt. Jellison under the Scenic City Fishing umbrella. Capt. Jellison actually started out as a client of Scenic City Fishing. Now the student has become the teacher. Of course like Capt. Simons, Capt. Jellison is a teacher, guiding part-time, fulltime during the summer and during other breaks from the classroom. His catfishing exploits are known far and wide thanks to his incredibly popular YouTube Channel called Chatt Cats Fishing with more than 134,000 subscribers, garnering national, if not worldwide notoriety. Hence, his limited number of guiding dates routinely book up very far in advance. Capt. Jellison fishes from a 17-foot G3 Jon boat and can carry a maximum of two anglers.
CAPT. AARON MASSEY (Catfish Guide)
Capt. Aaron Massey has a passion for chasing giant catfish on the Tennessee River. He caught his first giant flathead bank fishing the muddy Muskingum River in Ohio. He says, "That fish impacted me in ways I can not explain. I was on a mission to learn anything and everything I could about these huge fish." His career led him to a job at the Ritz-Carlton on the shore of Georgia's Lake Oconee, where he bought his first boat, a 14-foot jon. "That got me out on the lake and I was really able to cut my teeth and learn how to chase these fish, often venturing to South Carolina's Santee Cooper and the Tennessee River." In 2020 he pulled up stakes and moved to North Georgia specifically so he could spend more time on the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. Now he fishes from a roomy 2072 Alumacraft, that has a knack for finding trophy catfish. He fishes with a "go big or go home" mentality and loves to share his passion for chasing big cats with you!
CAPT. SCOTT LILLIE (Walleye Guide)
Capt. Scott Lillie specializes in trolling techniques using downriggers, planer boards, and directional divers. He catches a wide variety of fish but his favorite target is walleye which TWRA biologists have stocked in the Tenn. River since 2011. Capt. Lillie's available days are extremely limited and his dates routinely book up MONTHS in advance. He also branches out on a seasonal basis to pursue monster yellow perch and lake trout. Capt. Lillie cut his teeth learning to troll for trout and salmon on the Great Lakes. He grew to love the very specialized trolling techniques and has transferred his skills to Tennessee. He says, “These tools allow us to present our baits in water that is impossible to fish using traditional techniques.” There is no experience or angling expertise required. It can be a great new experience for the avid angler, OR the same great experience for someone who has never touched a fishing rod, including kids. Lillie can carry up to three anglers targeting a variety of fish. Sit back in his roomy Tracker Pro Guide 175 , relax and enjoy a unique fishing trip with Scott. Scott also makes and sells his own lures.
ROSS ROBERSON (Backup Scheduler/Booking Agent)
Ross Roberson isn't a guide, but he serves a critical role as our Scheduler/Booking Agent whenever Capt. Simms is out-of-service. Chattanooga is Ross's hometown and he grew up fishing on Chickamauga Lake with his grandfather. He earned his Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and works in the banking industry and insurance. Ross is also a veteran, having served in the Air Force as an avionics technician from 1999 to 2006. Since 2015, when he became Captain Simms’ son-in-law, Ross has taken an active interest in fishing and Scenic City Fishing Charters. Although Ross loves catching trophy catfish on the Tennessee River, his most memorable experiences on the water are kayaking for redfish in Louisiana and catching black tip shark in Florida. Ross lives in Chattanooga overlooking South Chickamauga Creek, where he often kayaks and fishes with his wife and son. He also has a daughter working toward her law degree in Memphis, Tennessee.
TIFFANY SIMMS (Assistant Webmaster)
Like several of our guides, Tiffany Simms is a professional educator. She received her Master's Degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After teaching stateside for a couple of years, she satisfied her wanderlust, teaching abroad for ten years with home bases in Thailand, Germany and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. But even with such exotic home bases, she rarely stayed "home" for long. With a passport stamped in more than 100 countries, she has traveled the world capturing fish in Bangkok, Oman, Bali, Sri Lanka and even Arctic char in Iceland. In 2020 she decided it was time to return to her roots, coming home to Chattanooga, currently teaching at her alma mater, Girls Preparatory School. She is proud to be lending her many skills to the Scenic City Fishing website, and occasionally venturing onto the Tennessee River to catch a few fish of her own.
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