Categorized | Opinion

Finally Fall

By Josh McGowan

Well thank goodness Fall is here, and a few more chilly mornings were well received. I did some fishing, bow season is in, doves are plentiful, and some “Brit” caught a 180 lb albino catfish in Spain, what else could you ask for?

How about the St. Louis Cardinals sneaking into the post-season in the Wild Card again!?

My personal report is again from the Northwest Tennessee swamp, Reelfoot Lake. I know my reports are getting redundant, but I just can’t bring myself to leave big, hungry crappie readily available at the end of an ultra-light jig pole at my favorite lake!

Chippy and I got to the lake early Sunday morning, and slipped out into the deep water amongst the stumps.

I was using a white, 1/8 oz head with a red/chartreuse LakeFork jig, and Chippy was using an orange, 1/8 oz head with a glow chartreuse LakeFork, and both were effective! We picked up some really nice fish vertical jigging the stumps anywhere from five to twelve feet deep.

The lake has come up some in the last few weeks, and is just a few good rains from covering the stumps and ending the jig fishing until spring.

The fishing elsewhere was pretty slow. Both Wappapello and Kentucky Lake had pretty slow weekends. Fall is officially here and although more people fish in spring, fall is when fish become most active, it’s just a matter of the water getting cooled down and stable. The thermocline is rapidly disappearing and the oxygen in the water is spreading out, and once that transformation is over, the best fishing of the year begins.

With Tennessee’s bow season kicking in and Missouri’s a few weeks in, I have yet to hear of a big buck being taken.

This past weekend the deer didn’t move much and my buddies that have been watching their game cameras close didn’t see much. As the crops are being cut around the region more deer will be displaced and have to find new areas to hide. This exodus gives hunters a much better chance, especially on a big buck. The hunting in our region, especially along the Mississippi River, has dramatically improved over the past few years, and with private landowners and the conservation agencies working together, it will continue to get better.

The catfishing has continued to be great, and we’re selling a ton of skipjack at Grizzly. Skipjack is an oily fish that big river catfish love, especially when they’re cut up in bite size chunks and drifted slowly along holding areas.

A lot of savvy catfishermen catch their own bait, and the most effective way as of late to do so, is to cast tiny white jigs (like 1/80 oz white Grizzlys) usually two to a line a few feet apart, with a small splitshot in slack areas around dykes or other breaks in the current. If that doesn’t work, just drive down (or up Tennessee) to Caruthersville and we’ll sell ya some for $2.75 per pound!

Most dove hunters only hunt opening weekend, and I’ve been guilty of doing this in past years myself, however the best hunting is always later in the long season. There are more doves in Southeast Missouri and West Tennessee right now than there has been all year, and more places available to hunt. I’m going to try to refrain from crappie fishing long enough to go pop some doves, especially since my wife keeps pestering me about wrapping some in bacon and basting them in barbecue sauce on the grill!

In my lackluster attempt to keep you up on the outdoor news around the world, some British chap vacationing in Spain caught a 180 lb, 8 ft long albino catfish.

This is a completely different species of catfish than what we have here in the states, but still an interesting catch. The record for “Spanish albino catfish” is 194 lbs, in case you were wondering!

Chippy and I shot some pretty good video over the weekend, and even managed to remember to plug some sponsors! The video and the picture of the albino cat is up at

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October 2012
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