By Josh Gowan
I believe I mentioned something last week about the negative impact gorgeous weather seems to have on my fishing, and being a creature of habit and one of the few honest fisherman I know, I went out of my way to maintain this trend over this past weekend!
Next weekend BassPro Shops Crappie Masters comes to Reelfoot, and I hope the forecast is diabolical!
Saturday marked the second Annual Spring Fling at Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake, put on by the guys from CrappieCrazy.com.
This event featured tons of free giveaways, on the water seminars by some of the best in the business, and a ton of great fellowship between fishermen, all set in the beautiful backdrop at Blue Bank.
Billy Blakely, the head guide and one of the most recognizable characters and best fisherman on the lake, had a big hand in bringing the event back, and he gave me a call a while back and asked me to bring my boat and park it out back in their cove with some of the other pro’s boats, to show off equipment and setups and whatnot to the folks in attendance. If you’ve never seen the backside of Blue Bank, it’s gorgeous, very well-manicured and makes for an excellent place to host such an event.
There were rental boats lined down the front, and in the middle were the very nice, very expensive boats of Kevin jones and Charles bunting, both with their power poles deployed holding them still.
As I pulled in Billy motioned for me to drive between the rentals and the big glass boats and tie up at the bridge. I absolutely did not want to hit one of the $1,500 Power Poles, so I gave it a wide berth and promptly “bumped” up against 4 or 5 rental boats, causing a domino effect and providing a bit of entertainment for the big crowd of spectators intently watching a few feet away…I always like to make a dramatic entrance!
Outside of that, the event went off without a hitch, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
Part of the event was a “Big Fish” tournament on Saturday, and 24 boats competed on a wonderful day of weather and a deplorable day of fishing. My wife and I spider-rigged from 7-2:30 and caught approximately 4 crappie, all weighing a bit over a pound. 1.54 pounds won the tourney, which is small for Reelfoot, and no one I spoke to caught more than 10 fish on the blue-bird day.
This coming Saturday is the BassPro Shop’s CrappieMaster’s tournament at Reelfoot, and some of pros are already down and will be pre-fishing all week. As is the case with us poor working folk, I’ll be lucky to get a half-day and Chippy won’t be there until Friday night, but we’ll give it our best as always.
Even with the fishing being as bad as it’s been, with the best crappie fishermen in the country descending on the lake for the tournament, someone is bound to find a big stringer!
The CrappieMaster’s trail was at Kentucky Lake last week for the Tennessee State Championship, and by most accounts the fishing was poor there as well. 20-half pounds over the two-day, 14 fish event is extremely light for Kentucky Lake, but that’s all it took to win. Prior to the tournament the pre-fishing was great, but then heavy rain came into the area. Waters got muddier overnight and after day one competition the fishing got more difficult for many teams. The Hughes Bonding Company sponsored team stayed with their game plan of one-pole fishing over homemade stake beds. The team fished the beds repeatedly as fish would repopulate throughout the day.
They fished in 8 to 9 foot waters catching fish 7 feet deep using Grizzly Elite poles and Teezur orange-chartreuse jigs. They fished out of an F & F boat with an Evinrude motor using Humminbird electronics and a MinnKota trolling motor. Their efforts earned them $4800 for first place!
The cat fishing is heating up along with the weather, and a lot of bank fishermen are coming into Grizzly buying big surf rods and reels and skipjack. I have a few more tournaments then I’ll be looking to relax and do a little jugging on the Mississippi River myself!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com