By Josh Gowan
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the outdoorsfolk in our beautiful little piece of America! Jesus is the reason for the season, and there are blessings abound in our neck of the woods. Lord knows I love the thrill of fishing and hunting, and the beauty of the great outdoors, but without friends and family to share this awesome passion with, I doubt many of us would be near as adamant about it. So take a kid fishing or hunting, and thank the Lord for time spent in the serenity of God’s creation with the ones we love, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Hopefully a lot of kids (and dads and grandpas) got a ton of camouflage, guns, ammo, fishing poles, and so on for Christmas this year. I’m still in the midst of our family’s many Christmases, one of the advantages of having a huge family and then strategically marrying into one, so it’s too early to take inventory!
The weather was the story from this past weekend. Multiple inches of rain flooded fields, and combined with the cold front pushing south has brought a ton of ducks and geese. A lot of guys I talked to had great hunts in the fields, and the never-ending strings of Z’s, W’s, and V’s spanning the sky, honking like a New York traffic jam, is plenty of proof that the geese are here.
The fishing was off and on due to the shifting weather patterns, winds and rain (and possibly the barometric pressure) over the last few days. My buddies over at Reelfoot caught some big fish before the rain, but the bite was scattered and tough to pattern. The lake has jumped over a foot in three days, and will continue to rise over the next week.
Kentucky Lake and Wappapello Lake are still turning out good fish on structure in all depths. Most of the fish are being caught in 10+ feet of water, but those fishermen that are finding fish shallow are finding some really good ones.
This past weekend’s muzzleloader season was pretty dismal from every account I heard, but the cold weather is just now reaching us down south. If you have food, you should have deer. The rifles in Tennessee should be very active during the Christmas holiday.
My resident catfish pro, Chris Stephens from Dyersburg was out after them before the rain, and was catching good fish. He said the key was to find the deepest spots on the river, and keep your baits down in them! He took David Harris out and fished in some of the holes fairly close to the Caruthersville/Dyersburg bridge, and they caught seven blue cats, with the biggest going 36 lb. He was using skipjack and his I-pilot trolling motor to hold in the current.
The news and social media sites have been abuzz with the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty, and A&E’s decision to pull Phil from the show (although the next nine episodes have already been filmed and he won’t be edited out of them). So much has already been said that it’s hard to break new ground on the subject, but I’ll give you my thoughts on the matter.
I grew up watching Phil Robertson duck hunt back when the only way to see him was to mail order the VHS. “The Duckmen of Louisiana” was the first duck hunting show I’d ever seen, and being a duck hunter, when the Outdoor Channel started running “Duck Commander”, it was my favorite show on tv. Si and Jase arguing about which blind to hunt, Godwin’s constant struggle with the decoys, Phil’s infinite wisdom and ability to sum up a situation or settle an argument with one Aerostatle-like sentence, and Jep strapped to a tree filming in horrible weather. Not to mention, they shot a ton of ducks! I’m not really into television unless it’s hunting and fishing, so once they took the hunting off the show, they kind of lost me. However, it’s peculiar that the television network has up and forgotten who watches the show, and while I believe it’s their (A&E) show to do what they want with, it sure doesn’t seem like good business, at least that’s what Cracker Barrel thought!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com