By Josh McGowan
Another beautiful weekend in the heartland and man did I enjoy it. I saw a ton of folks out and about, and heard stories from the water and the woods, some were good, and some were not.
I apologized last week for delivering the same personal report four or five weeks in a row. I decided that for the sake of the readers and the integrity of my column, I was going to go somewhere else and fish or hunt for something other than crappie.
Then, Friday at lunch I got a call from my fishing partner Chippy, saying that the rains had pushed the seven-day-a-week cotton ginning off one more weekend, and he was free to fish.
Then a friend of mine, Jackie Powell, came in and told me about his nephew culling fish at Reelfoot. (If you’re culling fish, that means you’ve caught your 30 fish limit and are now replacing smaller fish with bigger fish.) I was still trying to fight the urge, but on the way home another buddy called me from the water and said he was “burnin’ ‘em up”.
Well I’m not apologizing for this trip! Saturday morning, Chippy and I got to the lake around 7:00, and really got on the fish about 8:30, and by 2:00, we had our 60 fish limit and were culling! We’ve been fishing a half day every weekend and grinding out between 17 and 25 keepers, and always consider that a good day “one-poling” the stumps, but Saturday was magical. Once we patterned the fish and found the right bait, we were catching fish as fast as we could get our jigs in the water. We had countless doubles (when we both caught a fish at the same time), a bunch of big fish, and almost as many hi-fives and fist bumps as we did at game 6 of last year’s World Series!
Our biggest fish was the first one I caught at 1 lb 14 oz, and we had 30 at a pound or bigger, with nothing under 10 inches. It was the best day I’ve had jigging in two years, the kind of trip you never forget, and you compare to every trip you have in the future. I don’t know how long the rain will hold off and the stumps will stay exposed, but I hope I get the chance to do that again!
Kentucky Lake turned out some decent fish over the weekend as well.
My buddy and fellow Grizzly Jig Pro-Staffer Kevin Murphy vertical jigged brush piles from 5 to 12 ft of water and caught a ton of fish, but only 22 keepers. He said they had to “weed through” a ton of short fish that were 9 ¾ inches (Kentucky Lake has a 10 inch length limit) and were using a 1/8 oz black head with a white Southern Pro tube.
The Wappapello report I got is, as usual, pretty similar to Kentucky. A couple buddies caught 20 keepers jigging treetops along the channel, working through a lot of short fish (at Wap, the length limit is 9 inches, Reelfoot if you’re wondering, has no length limit.)
This coming weekend is the Arts and Crafts Festival at Reelfoot.
If you’re unfamiliar with this event, it’s a lot more than Arts and Crafts, it’s kind of like the 100 mile yard sale rolled up in a ball on the banks of Reelfoot.
The actual Festival is fenced in and is only homemade stuff, but surrounding the Festival are people in every direction selling everything from used chainsaws to boats to bird houses to goats. I’ll be set up in the big grass lot beside “The Pit”, the BBQ place on the southwest side of the lake, selling all sorts of stuff, but mostly discount, close-out boat seats.
My buddies at Reelfoot Outdoors are having their grand opening during the festival, showing off their outdoors store and lodging, and featuring a clay shoot and country music singer Leith Loftin. Call them at 253-3203.
Want to know what we were using Saturday? Go to www.joshgowanoutdoors.com for the info, along with video from the trip!
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