Scenic City Fishing Charters Expands to Six Guides

Scenic City Fishing Charters has expanded, now offering six fully-licensed guides to serve anglers who want to explore the bounties of the Tennessee River in the Chattanooga area. Clockwise from top left - Capt. Richard Simms, Capt. Sam Simons, Capt. Joe Jellison, Capt. Chris Peters, Capt. Ben Hayes and Capt. Ty Konkle. (Photo courtesy Scenic City Fishing Charters)

Scenic City Fishing Charters proudly announces a major expansion of its services with six fully-licensed guides to serve anglers who want to explore the bounties of the Tennessee River in the Chattanooga area.

In business since 2006, Scenic City Fishing Charters provides guided trips fishing Chickamauga and Nickajack Lakes for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trophy catfish, crappie and occasionally other species.

Chickamauga Lake has been pronounced one of the best bass fishing lakes in the United States in recent years, thanks largely to an aggressive Florida largemouth bass stocking program by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. has capitalized on that notoriety, successfully marketing Dayton as “BassTown USA.” In addition, the Tennessee River has also always been known as a “catfish factory,” producing blue catfish that average between five and 10 pounds, with catfish of 50-pounds and up always a possibility.

Besides a state guide license, all fishing guides who operate on navigable waters in the United States are required to hold a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License. It is a very arduous and expensive process. Scenic City Fishing Charters is one of the few guide services in the Southeast region with six fully-licensed guides available, making it one of the largest, fully-licensed, professional fishing operations in the State of Tennessee.

Capt. Richard Simms is proud to be backed up by Capt. Sam Simons, Capt. Ben Hayes, Capt. Ty Konkle, Capt. Joe Jellison and Capt. Chris Peters.


Born and raised in Chattanooga, Capt. Simms is proud that his mother’s side of the family has roots firmly embedded in Rhea County. He began his career in conservation as a game warden for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before becoming a wildlife photographer and public relations officer for TWRA. Along came children and the desire to come back to Southeast Tennessee, leading to a second career as a professional broadcast journalist for WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9 and freelance outdoor writer. Capt. Simms created Scenic City Fishing Charters in 2006, guiding part-time in the beginning. He gave up his career at WTVC in 2014 devoting himself to the guide business full-time.

“Scenic City Fishing Charters truly is a labor of love for me,” said Capt. Simms. “Chattanooga city and business leaders have done an awesome job developing our riverfront. But our desire is to get folks off of dry land and out onto the water. It is one thing to see giant fish in the Tennessee Aquarium. It is another experience altogether to see one on the end of your line.

“Coupled with the more recent efforts of to promote the area as a huge bass tournament destination, it is no wonder that our business is booming,” added Capt. Simms.


Capt. Ben Hayes is the primary traditional bass guide (using artificial lures) for Scenic City Fishing Charters. He caught his first bass when he was six years old. Chickamauga has been his home lake for nearly thirty 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 loves to help others catch the 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. Simons is a teacher, guiding part-time when he’s not in the classroom. His peers in education circles call him “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.


Captain Ty Konkle is perhaps the best trophy catfish guide for Scenic City Fishing Charters with what often seems to be an uncanny ability to find river monsters. He considers himself “a student of all things catfish.” He even keeps a huge aquarium stocked with Blue and Flathead Catfish in his home. He loves catching numbers and is certainly good at it, but given the choice he likes to “go big or go home.” He says that’s why the phrase, “It’s called fishing, not catching!” is sometimes true.


Capt. Joe Jellison actually started out as a client of Scenic City Fishing Charters. Now the student has become the teacher. 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 86,000 subscribers, garnering national, if not worldwide notoriety.


Capt. Chris Peters runs traditional largemouth bass trips on Chickamauga Lake along with Capt. Hayes. When he’s not on the water chasing bass, Capt. Peters serves his community battling blazes as a fulltime firefighter. Capt. Peters grew up on Chickamauga Lake where he cut his teeth as a young tournament angler fishing local tournaments. He has consistently placed high on the leader board of Chattanooga Bass Association Tournament Trail and other tournament trails along the Tennessee River System.

Visit their web page to learn more about Scenic City Fishing Charters and its guides.

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