Categorized | Opinion

Spring has arrived!

Mark Murakami poses with his six pound, 12 ounce large mouth bass, winning biggest trash fish.

Mark Murakami poses with his six pound, 12 ounce large mouth bass, winning biggest trash fish.

By Josh McGowan

Finally, spring is upon us. I fished in a short sleeved shirt for a while on Saturday, and it was just as good as I remember it!

It was just in time too, I was trying to secure funding for a trip to Punxsutawney, where I intended to run a water hose down a groundhog hole and stand at the other end with a shotgun!

Just because the weather warmed up though doesn’t necessarily mean the fishing got better, at least not for us.

I spent the weekend at Reelfoot Lake at Chippy’s little piece of paradise on the water at Sportsman’s Resort South. I had a group of guys coming from Cape Girardeau that rented the Club House and I’d set them up with guides for the weekend.

One of the guides was Nelson Northern, a fellow that can really put ‘em in the boat, and more importantly have a good time with his clients. The guys had a great time fishing, and already are booking for next year. You can contact Nelson at 731-446-1838 for more information about booking a trip on Reelfoot.

Now Chippy and I had our own fish to find for a local tournament we fish every year.

Chippy fished all day on Friday, on what was probably the prettiest day of the year, and didn’t find too many fish. The couple of big fish he caught were in the same shallow area we caught fish in last week, so that was our plan. I mean, you just need seven fish, how difficult is it to catch seven fish for a couple salty veterans like ourselves?

The tournament started at 6 a.m., so we rode out into the lake by moonlight, with Chippy shining a flashlight looking for stumps. We were using the same baits that have been working for us, 1/4 ounce pink jig heads with glow chartreuse LakeFork Boot Tail jigs, tipped with a nibble. We put our jigs in the water at 6:01, and by 6:30 had two big female crappie.

We were excited about the good start, but that excitement soon turned to dismay and frustration. For the next six hours we had exactly three more bites, and caught three more fish! It was pitiful. Had we known the high winds would hold off as long as they did, we’d have rode out to the deep water where 10 inch crappie were abundant and at least finished our seven fish limit, but hindsight’s 20/20.

Our first big female weighed 1 pound 11 ounce and won the “Big Fish” trophy and a little walking around money. My friends from Caruthersville, Larry and his son Jerry Don Hayes won the tournament.

There was an additional prize for biggest “trash fish”, which consisted of any fish that wasn’t a crappie, and it was a blowout!

Mark Murakami from Cape Girardeau caught a 6 pound 12 ounce largemouth bass on an ultra-light crappie pole, it was a pig!

The crappie are moving into the trees at Reelfoot, it’s about to be jigging time! Go to to watch the video.

I called my buddy Slabber Dave Maddox to both get a Wappapello report and console him.

Dave loves to tournament fish like me, and his partner Jeff Riddle, a guide on Reelfoot Lake, were at Grenada Lake, Miss. for the CrappieMaster’s tournament over the weekend. After day one of the two day event, Dave and Jeff were leading the 116 boat field with over 17 pounds!

On the way to the weigh-in on Saturday Jeff was getting the fish out, and one of their biggest fish died. You can’t weigh dead fish, and losing that one knocked them down a few spots to 8th place.

Still a heck of a finish. Dave said the crappie at “Wap” are right on the verge of spawning, and fishermen are buying him out of rosy red minnows. There are a ton of people lining the bank below the dam pulling in crappie, and it won’t be long before they’re up on the bank!

My buddies over at Kick’n Bass have been hot on the crappie over the last week.

They’ve been catching fish moving towards shallow structure, as well as slow trolling and spider-rigging over the flats. I can’t wait to get back on the water!


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April 2013
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