By Josh Gowan
How’s everyone’s first sunburn? Mine feels great, and I’m looking forward to compounding the problem with more of the same!
Unfortunately we a have a cool spell coming, but with the yard mowed and the BBQ grill broke in, the dogwoods blooming and the crappie spawning, the farmers planting and the big tom’s strutting, spring has arrived my friends! I had an amazing weekend, and I could tell by the crowd at the boat ramps and the pictures of turkeys that I wasn’t alone!
I was again at my home away from home, Reelfoot Lake. There were a ton of folks at the lake, and with a full house at the camp and the trailer, I secured a room for the family and I at Sportsman’s Resort South, where the dogwoods were full and white and the fish were biting close by. My favorite attribute about the “resort” is the close proximity of the ramp. Clean rooms and some of the lowest rates on the lake are great, but being able to put my boat in when I get there and pull it up a few feet from my door, knowing that it’s safe all night, is just an awesome convenience. To book a room or rent a boat, or inquire about renting or buying a permanent spot at the lake, give them a call at 731-253-6581.
As usual, I was up before everyone else watching the weather and planning our course, and had breakfast and coffee waiting. I completed a monumental amount of yard work on Saturday to green-light this trip, and 30 mph south winds weren’t going to stop me!
My wife and son accompanied me across the lake around 7am in what was already tumultuous waters. We found a spot out of the wind and began vertical jigging the grass and trees for spawning crappie. The water temperature was around 61 degrees, and the fish just weren’t in there. Instead, they were 10 feet off the bank in open water, and I didn’t bring my trolling racks! We made do by laying poles across the deck, and although we missed more than we caught, still managed 12 good crappie in a few hours.
At 11am everyone was ready for lunch, so we made the trek back across the lake, crossing the widest part of the lake east to west, with three foot rollers coming from the south. My son and I had a blast, my wife on the other hand, not so much! We eased back out after lunch and caught our six biggest fish deep in the structure along the bank. What made our trip unique was the variety of fish we caught. We landed crappie, goggle-eye, stripers, drum, gar, a 25+ pound Asian carp and an enormous turtle, which nearly threw my wife into a panic attack! It’s just that time of year, with the water temperature warming up and the bugs emerging from the trees and vegetation, all species of fish are becoming active.
Now is a great time to go out and fish, and adding live bait to your presentation will allow you to catch much more than just your target species. We got some great footage of both the carp and the turtle, a few crappie, and some instructional what-not which is up at www.youtube.com/wylecat1.
Over on Kentucky Lake the crappie are up in the shallows for the spawn. Casting to structure in 4-6 ft of water has been the most effective method, with a green curly tail the preferred bait.
The bass are preparing to spawn and the males can be found roaming the gravel bars and chunk rock banks, hitting on curly tails and Steel Shad Blade baits. BassPro Shop’s CrappieMaster’s Tournament Trail is having their “One Pole Ultimate Challenge” this coming weekend (artificial bait only) and unfortunately I can’t make it, but maybe that will open it up to some other competitors!