By Josh McGowan
You know how you can tell when it’s teal season? When you’re out on the lake, slowly, quietly, gently easing up to your favorite set of stumps, you lightly pitch a 1/32 oz. finesse jig, and “BANG, BANG, BANG”, a couple dozen shots ring out over your head!!!
Teal season is open in both Missouri and Tennessee, and the boys over at Reelfoot were hammering them this past weekend. My fishing partner, Chippy, is about to be MIA for a few months due to the cotton crop coming in, so we had our “last hurrah” at the lake for a while, and thank goodness it was our last, because I don’t think we could take one more “hurrah” like that!
Everyone has seen “Bill Dance’s Fishing Bloopers”, well Chippy and I put on our own production over the weekend. First off, my wife really didn’t “approve” my two-day trip as officially as I would have liked, which was likely an omen of bad things to come (according to my wife it came directly from the Almighty himself).
We were using the small, stick-steer boat we leave at the cabin because it’s better in the low water. We put the boat in, and took a little water over the back in the steep hole below the ramp. We drove out and the trolling motor wouldn’t run, so we spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out why, while the 15 mph wind bashed us from stump to stump like the “Plinko” game on the Price is Right. Turns out, some critter, maybe possum, cat, rat, or mink, chewed through the hot wire, and we were able to patch it on the water.
We fished for the last hour of daylight, caught a couple, and came back in where I pulled the plug to drain the water that came over the back of the boat (see where this is going?)
We kicked back on the porch and excitedly watched Mizzou in their first SEC game… that was a bust. But alas, we were up early, an hour before daylight, putting the boat in and excited about a rare, (and accurately forecasted), beautiful day of weather. Another part of this trip, was breaking in Chippy’s brand new Chevrolet Silverado, and break it in we did! As he was backing in beside another truck and trailer, there was a loud screeching noise…a 10 inch scratch on a truck with 250 miles on it.
He took it well, considering, and I left him holding the boat while I went back inside for a few things. When I came back, we walked over to the boat and untied it from the tree, walked down to the water, and noticed that the little boat was barely afloat! I forgot about the plug and nearly sank the ship! We rushed to get the trailer back in the water, and managed to get the now very heavy boat halfway up the trailer, and pulled it out and drained it.
We finally pulled out of the cove, sweating profusely from fighting the boat, laughed about our experience, and promptly pulled up on huge stump!
We finally made it out to the deep water and managed to catch a good mess of big crappie. I had my digital camera with me so I could get some pictures for the magazine, and when we came in I couldn’t find it, but it turned up, at the bottom of my minnow bucket!
Enough of my woes, the Ben Kruse Charity Tournament went off without a hitch, and 58 teams showed up to compete!
The fishermen had to battle tough conditions Saturday morning, with a 20 degree temperature drop and winds 20-plus mph out of the north. Chad Maddox and Bryan Condict won with 7.34 pounds, Tony Jacques and Darren Baker took second with 6.41 lbs, and Daniel Gentz and Steven Gentz got the bronze with 6.19 lbs. There were a ton of sponsors and volunteers and more information at www.18forelife.com.
As usual, there is more information and some decent video of our trip at www.joshgowanoutdoors.com. Send pictures or comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.