Categorized | Opinion

Duck Poles and July Whiskers

By Josh Gowan

Kyle Samples, Chris Robertson and Dave Fincher pose with a 40-pound flathead catfish cuaght on a limb line in the St. Francois RIver.

Kyle Samples, Chris Robertson and Dave Fincher pose with a 40-pound flathead catfish cuaght on a limb line in the St. Francois RIver.

Another summer weekend in the books, and more nice weather to enjoy!
A lot of the Heartland got a much needed soak Sunday evening as heavy summer storms moved through the area, easing up the irrigation bill for our farmers.
The Mississippi River is falling fast, and the catfishing down here is about to get as good as it’s been for the guys up above the Ohio. There are a few good fishing reports and some exciting outdoor news, so let’s get to it!
Technology has come a long way to advance everything from cooking to driving, and the great outdoors is no exception. I’m partially ashamed to say that if I drove an hour to fish, and got there and realized I left my Humminbird depthfinders at home, I’d probably turn around and go back. They’ve become as much of a tool and necessity in the boat as my poles, reels, and motor.
When Side Imaging technology became somewhat affordable, Chippy and I bought one and have used it extensively on a lot of different bodies of water. The most difficult lake to take advantage of the side scanning was and is our home lake, Reelfoot. The shallow swamp just doesn’t give way to much technology outside of gps.
There is just so much structure and vegetation and such a lack of depth changes, we’ve never really caught fish at Reelfoot due to finding something on the screen first. Generally, we’ll find and catch fish, and then circle around and scan the area to find out exactly what we were catching fish on. Another big product release at the 2013 ICAST was the Humminbird 360 trolling motor mount. What this does is scans 360 degrees from the front of your boat. This could be deadly at Reelfoot one-poling submerged stumps, and very useful at any lake where structure oriented fish are the target. Basically, instead of your depth finders just looking down like they have for decades, or scanning with hi-tech imaging out to the sides like my unit, you will be able to sit still and see what’s in front of you! They’re not cheap, but eventually I’m going to have to have one!
Speaking of Reelfoot, the catfishing is still on fire. Greg and Roger Powell waylaid the catfish on nightcrawlers over the weekend. They hung yo-yo’s in the cypress trees and had constant action, boating over 40 catfish in one day, as well as a 5 pound largemouth bass.
I mentioned duck poles in the title, and here’s why. The biggest name in crappie fishing, particularly poles, is B’n’M Pole Company. They produced the original Buck’s Graphite Jig Pole over 30 years ago, and dominate the market today with a slew of different panfish poles. Apparently, everyone’s favorite duck hunters, the Robertson men, also crappie fish, and in conglomeration with B’n’M have designed some new crappie poles! It’s still early, but it looks like they’ll be debuting a jig pole available in a 8’, 10’, 11’, and 12’, a trolling rod in a 10’, 12’, and 14’, telescopic rods in 10’, 11’, and 12’, and ultralight spinning rods in 4’ and 6’.
These will be premium rods, backed up by B’n’M’s standards, and I can’t wait to get one in my hands!
Kyle Samples, Chris Robertson, and Dave Fincher are hard-core catfishermen. They put out limb lines for big cats in the St. Francis River in Southeast Missouri, and recently had four consecutive days to run them. They went to Pillow’s bait shop and bought live goldfish for bait (flathead catfish, the filet minon of the catfish family, only eat live fish) because they live longer than other live bait. They’d caught a lot of good sized catfish, but on the last day they had their best haul.
They had some lines hanging from big trees on a 3 feet flat close to a 3 foot drop. When they pulled up to this particular tree, there was no activity, until they pulled the line! The 40 pound flathead drenched them thrashing about, and right after they got the goliath in the boat he broke the 7/0 Eagle Claw hook! The delicious head meat that flatheads are famous for, was about the size of a two liter bottle!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com

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