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Scenic City Fishing Charters expands to nine guides

(l-r) Capt. Ben Hayes and his son, Capt. Brent Hayes. Licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard, Capt. Brent is the newest guide to join forces with Chattanooga's Scenic City Fishing Charters, Inc., bringing a total of nine guides under the Scenic City Fishing Charters umbrella. Brent and his Dad are often high on the leader boards in several area bass tournament circuits. (Contributed Photo)
(l-r) Capt. Ben Hayes and his son, Capt. Brent Hayes. Licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard, Capt. Brent is the newest guide to join forces with Chattanooga's Scenic City Fishing Charters, Inc., bringing a total of nine guides under the Scenic City Fishing Charters umbrella. Brent and his Dad are often high on the leader boards in several area bass tournament circuits. (Contributed Photo)
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Scenic City Fishing Charters has announced another major expansion of its services. The addition of Capt. Brent Hayes brings nine fully-licensed guides under the Scenic City Fishing umbrella, serving anglers who want to explore the magnificent fishing on the beautiful Tennessee River in the Chattanooga area.

In business since 2006, Scenic City Fishing Charters provides guided trips fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trophy catfish, crappie, walleye, and other species on a seasonal basis.

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. We have four bass guides working in cooperation with Scenic City Fishing Charters.

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. Four Scenic City Fishing Charters guides primarily target catfish but also run trips for other species on a seasonal basis.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has also conducted an aggressive walleye stocking program on the Tennessee River in recent years and Capt. Scott Lillie specializes in putting those tasty fish in the livewell, along with periodic ventures for crappie.

On TripAdvisor travel website, SCF is ranked "#1 of 18 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Chattanooga." and has received the TripAdvisor "Travellers' Choice Award" six years in a row. This coveted award program recognizes the top 1 percent of all listings on TripAdvisor.

Besides a state guide license, all fishing guides who operate on navigable waters in the United States (including the Tennessee River) 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 nine fully-licensed guides available on a full or part-time basis, making it one of the largest, fully-licensed, professional fishing operations in the State of Tennessee.


Born in Chattanooga, Capt. Simms began Scenic City Fishing Charters in 2006. His first career was in conservation, as a game warden for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before becoming a wildlife photographer and public relations officer for TWRA. He returned to his Chattanooga roots in a second career as a professional journalist for WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9 News and as a freelance outdoor writer. Capt. Simms gave up his fulltime television career in 2014, devoting himself to the guide business full-time, while still freelancing for

"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."

Capt. Simms is phasing into the semi-retired mode to concentrate on booking the eight other guides working with Scenic City Fishing Charters.

CAPT. BEN HAYES (Bass Guide, pictured above)

Capt. Ben Hayes caught his first bass when he was six years old. Chickamauga has been his home lake for more 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 loves to help others catch bass, guiding all abilities of fishermen - from Moms and Dads 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, pictured above)

Capt. Brent Hayes' passion for bass fishing is in his DNA, literally. He is Capt. Ben Hayes' son. Capt. Brent has been fishing on Chickamauga Lake 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.


On the days he is not serving East Ridge battling blazes as a full-time firefighter, Capt. Chris Peters loves being on the water guiding bass anglers. He is a full-fledged Captain on the water AND at the firehall. 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. 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 Lake and wants to share his years of experience chasing big bass with Scenic City Fishing clients.

CAPT. SAM SIMONS (Catfish Guide)

Capt. Simons is a Hamilton County school teacher, guiding weekends only, except during the summer vacation when he guides full-time. In the classroom he is known as "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 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. 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. After working and fishing other parts of the country, Capt. Massey pulled up stakes and moved to the Chattanooga area specifically so he could spend more time on the Tennessee River. He fishes with a "go big or go home" mentality and loves to share his passion for chasing trophy catfish. He will soon be fishing from a 24-foot Sea Ark that will accommodate up to four anglers.

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 only guides for walleye during the cold weather months and his limited dates book up MONTHS in advance. He also branches out in the summer trolling for crappie on Chickamauga Lake. 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 in his roomy Tracker Pro Guide 175.

ROSS ROBERSON (Backup Scheduler/Booking Agent)

Ross Roberson isn't a guide, but he serves a critical role as the 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.

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. 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.

Visit the Scenic City Fishing Charters web page to learn more or to book a fishing trip. Be sure to check out their extensive, up-to-date Photo Galleries where every photo is specifically dated so you know exactly what their clients are catching and when.

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