By Josh Gowan
I saw a great post on Facebook that read “We get to say ‘gone fishing,’ because someone else said ‘gone to war.’” It’s important to remember why we celebrate this holiday, and even more important to talk about it with our children and grandchildren. Today’s society is constantly trying to guard our young people from anything that might upset their “fragile emotional state,” like the reality of war, the existence of evil outside of intolerance, and the real cost of freedom. This same society turns a blind eye to the extremely graphic video games kids are playing, desensitizing them to both war and crime, our youth should know and understand the heavy cost of both.
Alright, I’m done ranting, let’s get to the fishing! I’m going to be honest, I pondered just copying and pasting last year’s article, not that I don’t have a good story, I’m just whooped! But, I couldn’t cheat the couple of newspapers that actually pay for this column, and besides, that one gentleman in Dyersburg, TN with a photographic memory would probably call me out on it!
Just like every year I spent the first few days of Memorial Day Weekend peddling fishing equipment at the 100-mile yard sale. My mother lives off Highway 25 in Jackson, Mo., and her, my sister, and my wife always set up a massive yard sale. I figured out around five years ago that if I had my own stuff to sell, I wouldn’t have to price baby clothes, hang up blouses, and fold pants! I of course do not have anything that isn’t vital to my everyday life and outdoor endeavors (never sell a fishing pole, one day you’ll regret it!) so I bring a truckload of fishing whatnots from Grizzly and sell. I believe if I hit the lottery tomorrow (which is highly unlikely since I do not buy tickets) I would still set up, just to see my return customers.
A lot of these poor and unfortunate men get drug all over the Bootheel of Missouri, standing idly by while their wives barter for salt and pepper shakers, wreaths, and antique doo-dads, and the joy I get from seeing these poor souls eye’s light up when they see a rack full of fishing poles makes it all worth it!
By Sunday afternoon my wife, son, our new dog Abbie, and myself were at Reelfoot Lake waiting for the storms to move out. We fished for a few hours Saturday evening without getting a single bite, and the family was getting hungry so I pulled them up to the cabin and let Staci get dinner started and “the boy” as I like to call my son, get in the tub! That left me with an hour of daylight to jig the trees along the south bank, which is something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. It took about two “tics” and misses before I switched to the quintessential bream jig, a 1/80 ounce. Grizzly Jig (Lou’s Hot Brown was the color) and tipped it with a waxworm. I picked up a few big bream, and a few more small ones before I was beckoned in for supper.
After we ate, I asked the fam if they wanted to put out some catfish poles. My wife said yes, and my son said no that he’d rather play on the iPad. He was rebutted with a simultaneous “TOO BAD!” I had some Wicked Sticky stink bait in the shed, and within an hour we’d caught five catfish, all of which he reeled in and had a blast doing it!
Monday morning we were in the boat by 6:00 am, and not wanting to go far from where I put in, figuring on a short, couple hour trip, I headed to the closest set of trees and started jigging. We only picked up a few small bream and a bass and I was working my way towards the ramp when I stopped to fish a brush pile.
Within five minutes my family went from slumped over leaning on each half asleep, to my wife getting her pole out, my son standing up holding the net, and the dog on full point! We pulled a cooler full of black crappie from two brush piles, and put a perfect ending on a great weekend with the family!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com