By Josh Gowan
It is strange to think about what the crappie at Reelfoot must have seen Sunday, as they suspended a few feet off the bottom, snuggled up to their favorite stump with defiantly closed mouths. Peering up (the only way a crappie can peer) through the sunrays that were beaming deep into the lightly stained and perfectly calm water, watching the shadows of 1,000 giant, floating spiders easing around the surface! I suppose it wouldn’t have triggered an appetite in me either!
Regardless of the lack of success we had, Sunday was absolutely beautiful and every boat owner in the region seemed to have been out enjoying it. Chippy and I descended on Reelfoot Lake Sunday, a day we did not intend to fish until late in the week when we saw the peculiar forecast, bright sunshine and no wind, it was just too good to pass up. We met early in Portageville and were close to being on schedule until we crossed the bridge and a white curtain fell on us. The fog was so thick I contemplated getting my depthfinder out and plugging in the Navionics GPS chip so we could find our way.
I spent some time Saturday night bringing an idea I’ve had for a while to life, so that I could test it out Sunday morning. The SeaGull 9000 (patent pending), a precision flotation device engineered with the finest materials I could find in my shed, permanently bonded together using my wife’s best hot glue gun, and held in position by a fishing pole attached to another pole using NASA’s favorite pliable adhesive, duct tape. In laymen’s terms, a bunch of pieces of sheet foam glued together on a stick, with the intended purpose to hold a video camera out in front of the boat filming back at us.
Aside from being a bit more noticeable than I’d intended, it performed surprisingly well. I’ll post a few pictures on my website www.joshgowanoutdoors.com, as well as the video it captured. To say we got a few “looks” would be calling the mighty Mississippi River a gentle flowing stream. Everyone seemed to be drifting carelessly about in the same general area, and at times I pondered if stop lights might help the traffic move a bit smoother. Two “old-timers” came very close, and I gave the obligatory fisherman’s nod, and they said “hey, what’s that ya got out there?” I replied “it’s a camera”, and one of the gentleman said “well, is it seeing any fish, ‘cause we’re not catching crap!” I explained that it was filming us, and they asked if we were catching any, and I said no, and received a strange look and a “hmph”…
While the fishing was slow for us and the armada in the deep water, (we kept 12 fish and left at noon) like always at Reelfoot, someone, somewhere hammered ‘em. There are still black crappie being caught in the shallows if you can find them, but my buddy Larry Griffin spent the day searching unsuccessfully, however he talked to a guy at the ramp that had a cooler full of big specks. Chasing black crappie is tough at Reelfoot, because they prefer shallow water with lots of cover (which there is approximately 7,000 acres of) and stay bunched up. When you find one though, you will generally find many more. I saw a report by Randle Flowers of the “Old Folks Fishing and Hunting Club” at Walnut Log, Reelfoot, that he caught a few big bass pitching a black and blue Strike King jig at the trees. He said the bite was slow, but what hit was big!
Slabber Dave Maddox said Wappapello Lake was slow over the weekend.
The fish are leaving the flats and moving to their final staging areas in the creeks. Those that did catch fish we’re casting yellow/chartreuse, yellow/white, and lime/chartreuse jigs.
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com