Categorized | Opinion

Labor Day Weekend Outdoor Extravaganza

By Josh Gowan

Danny Bright from East Prairie poses with a banded dove on opening day of Missouri's dove season.

Danny Bright from East Prairie poses with a banded dove on opening day of Missouri’s dove season.

You know, folks give the French a lot of crap for various reasons, but there is one thing they are spot-on about, a four day work week!
I was again hosting my in-laws and niece over the holiday at Reelfoot Lake, and we had an absolute blast!
Reelfoot may be more well-known for having big crappie and bluegill, but I would put it up against any lake in the country for catfishing.
My father-in-law’s nephew Tristen was at the lake and had never caught a fish from a boat before, so my goal was to put him on fish over the weekend. We arranged to pick up Tristen at 5:30 am on Sunday, and he was up and waiting on us when arrived at Sportsman’s Resort North. I drove down to Lovell’s Landing on the south end of the lake, and slowly headed out to the deep water to sink some minnows.
With the lake just above the one-fourth million stumps, it was a very slow ride. Once we arrived and baited 16 hooks and threw out the wind socks, the suspicious skies that lingered behind us began producing flashes of lightning, and we pulled everything in and retreated.
The wind kicked up hard out of the south, and while the radar showed blotches of red and pink bearing down on us, nothing was really going on but wind, so we opted to put the boat back in the water and use the southern shore to break the wind while fishing close to the cabin just in case.
This would have worked fine, except that the wind switched hard out of the west as soon as we got all 16 hooks re-baited!
We fought the waves for a while, and I made the call to ride around Rat Island and get out of the west wind, although doing so would put us a long, slow ride from home.
We got around the point and the wind promptly switched back out of the south again! I was having a tough time, but my barely teenage companion was ready to fish, so we blew from Samburg all the way to Little Starve, without so much as a bite.
I knew the catfish had been biting, so I suggested we go back, regroup, and trade the crappie poles and minnows for catfish poles and stink bait, my crew agreed.
When we came back through the ditch, the scene was near apocalyptic. Four foot rolling whitecaps and a horizontal downpour made for an interesting ride home! It wasn’t bad enough to be scary, and my young fishing partner seemed to enjoy the wet ride, I can’t say the same for me or my father-in-law!
Once we got back, the sun came out and the catfish were jumping in the boat. Tristen caught five catfish from 2-5 pounds out of a spot the size of a five gallon bucket.
Every cypress tree had a catfish under it, and around 5 o’clock I dropped off a very proud teenager with a cooler full of Reelfoot Lake catfish.
The guys that found something to hunt, i.e. a cut field or layout ground with a water source, massacred the doves. I’ll be going after some in the next few weeks.
Saturday marks the 3rd Annual Ben Kruse Crappie Tournament on Wappapello Lake. The “18 Fore Life” team has hosted a ton of events, and has donated over a million dollars to various charities, but concentrate most of their efforts in helping local families battling cancer or life threatening diseases.
This event has grown tremendously over the last few years, and they expect over 60 teams in the event that will raise a lot of money for a great cause.
This is not just a fishing tournament, there will be a lot to do at the weigh-in and it’s a great place to bring the kids and watch the anglers bring in their catch.
These folks work their tale off for a great cause, so come out and support! For more information on the tournament call Dain Bess at 573-421-1491 or Bruce Christian at 573-820-6111.

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