Categorized | Opinion

Tournament Season Kicks Off

By Josh Gowan

Jason Aycock and Hunter Jones are pictured with two of the five-fish stringer that won first place at the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest at Paducha, Ky.

Jason Aycock and Hunter Jones are pictured with two of the five-fish stringer that won first place at the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest at Paducha, Ky.

How about some beautiful weather to remind us all that spring is just around the corner!
This past Saturday was gorgeous and a ton of fishermen got out and enjoyed it, myself included!
I still had more boat maintenance and updating to take care of over the weekend, and with a long drive to southern Mississippi for a tournament next week, everything needed to be in order. Chippy and I are headed down to Lake Washington, Mississippi on Wednesday for the BassPro Shop’s CrappieMaster’s tournament. This past weekend the Magnolia Crappie Club, a state-wide tournament trail in Mississippi held their tournament and the winning 7-fish weight was 16.67 pounds! The “Big Fish” for the tournament was 3.17 pounds! There are not many places on Earth that a 7-fish stringer of crappie average over 2 pounds. each (almost all of them are in Mississippi), and we cannot wait to get down there. As much as I’d like to be expecting a win, we’ve never been to the lake before and will be going up against the best tournament fishermen in the country, so just getting in the top ten would be great, that being said I generally have a “Ricky Bobby” mind frame when tournament fishing, first or last baby!
I (with the help and garage of my buddy Perry Jackson) installed a 12 volt aerator for both my livewell and minnow bucket, a pole rack for transporting, a set of individual Hi-Tek Stuff rod holders (not on the market yet but coming soon), and a FlexStep, among other things. The FlexStep, an ingenious little product by Megaware, is a multi-angle/extendable step system that attaches to your trailer frame giving you convenient access to virtually anywhere on your boat. For me, getting in and out of my boat when launching is not a problem, but getting fish out of the livewell was always a pain, so I mounted the FlexStep towards the front of my trailer so I could easily step up on it and reach my livewell without having to climb in my boat.
The FlexStep would really be helpful for older fishermen or boaters who have trouble getting in and out of their boat. They are available at www.keelguard.com.
The Wappapello Crappie Club held their annual Classic tournament and Travis Causey and Michael Smart won the two-day event with a total weight of 17.44 pounds. 2nd Place went to Brian Jines and Daniel Porter with 16.67 pounds and third was Chuck and James Chism with 13.72 pounds, and the “Big Fish” award went to Charlie Brotherton and Tom Frazier with a 1.97 pound slab. Calling Wappapello Lake a “small fish lake” just isn’t legitimate anymore, if you know where to catch them, the big fish are there!
Speaking of crappie clubs, Reelfoot Lake is starting its own club in a few weeks. Jeff Riddle, a guide and one half of the team (along with Dave Maddox) that took second place in total points last year on the CrappieMaster’s tournament trail, started the Reelfoot Crappie Club, and the first meeting is at Samburg City Hall at 6 p.m. on March 7. Membership I believe is $25 per year per person, and entry fees are $60 per boat with an optional $10 “Big Fish” pot. The first tournament is March 15 and the weigh-in is at Bo’s Landing. For more information contact Jeff Riddle at 731-446-7554.
B’n’M Catfish Pro Staffers Jason Aycock and Hunter Jones fished the first Bass Pro Shop’s Big Cat Quest tournament of the year at Paducah, KY, and took first place with 151 pounds of big blue cats! They fished a ledge on the Tennessee River near where it meets the Ohio. They anchored with the Neversnag Anchor in 30 feet of water and casted out into 50 feet They located a lot of wood on the ledge and the fish were stacked in behind it.
It didn’t take long for a B’n’M SilverCat Magnum rod to get slammed down, and another did the same immediately after. It was their biggest double ever, reeling in a 46 and 32 pounder at the same time! They stayed put for a few hours catching three more good fish, then began bounding down, which is when you keep the same anchor hold but let out more rope.
They made another move and with 30 minutes of legal fishing time they caught a 30 and a 25 pounder and knew they should be at least “in the money”.
The best thing about the win for Jason, was that they were fishing in a spot that Chris Stephens and Jerry Whitehead helped them out with. He said he felt like Chris was there with him in the boat, and I have no doubt he was smiling in heaven when the guys took the win!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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