By Josh Gowan
With my yard manicured and my family happily content with their own activities, I was able to drag the boat into the great outdoors and produce a story worthy of the “big screen,” so long as you enjoy less-than-romantic tragedies! (If anyone is pondering the funding and casting of this script, I believe I could best be portrayed by Mark Wahlberg, and Chippy would like to be played by Girard Butler, the guy who was King Leonidas in the movie 300!)
We drove over Friday after work, very anxious to get on the water and do a little pre
fishing for the Reelfoot Crappie Club Tournament on Saturday. The skies were suspect, and about the time we pulled up to the cabin the bottom fell out, and it poured for the next two hours.
Finally, about 30 minutes before dark, the skies cleared and we were able to put the boat in the water. We didn’t have time to go fish were we wanted, so we piddled around the south bank, and Chippy managed to catch a small black crappie right at dark.
Our plan was to slow-troll Bell Stumps, which is right in front of our cabin, and not only had it been holding a few good fish, it was close enough that we could get in if a storm popped up. We signed up at Reelfoot Outdoors that morning and were out in the stumps by the 6:30 start time, only to find a mudhole. The heavy rains from the night before caused a ton of drainage and turned the area we planned on fishing into chocolate milk. We gave it an hour or so, and I’d had all I could take, and headed down the bank towards Bluebank until the water cleared.
We put the poles back out and let the wind push us out towards Green Island Point in the center of the south end of the lake. We picked up a couple good fish, and a few not so good, and turned to head back and do it again. Having an aluminum boat and spending most of my time in shallow water, I never spider-rig into the wind due to the noise the waves make hitting my boat, however, I recently acquired a product that fixed the problem.
The Silent Stalker, which can best be described as a thick, vinyl material that straps onto the front of your boat, much like a “bra” on a car, and is the equivalent of putting a silencer on a rifle. It completely eliminated the slapping sound, so I trolled back into the wind for the first time ever, and picked up the most of our fish for the day! You can go to www.thesilentstalker.com for more info, it’s the most important tool I’ve added to my arsenal in years!
While we were fishing, our biggest fish was dying. I’ve never lost a fish (in a tournament you weigh seven fish, and they must be alive) but this one seemed to be on his way out from the time he hit the livewell. I did everything I knew to do, doubling the aeration, cooling the water, constant recirculation of the livewell, and even hanging four ¼ ounce jig heads in his bottom fin to keep him upright, but all to no avail. The rest of the fish were as lively as any you’ve ever seen, and by 2 p.m. at the weigh-in, this fish was hammer dead.
It was unfortunate, but I really didn’t think we were in contention with some of the teams in the tournament, so I wasn’t too tore up about it. Losing a 1.5 pound fish meant we had to weigh a .7 pound fish, and our total weight was 6.65 pounds The winning weight was 6.67 pounds… Oh well, nothin’ wrong with silver! What really made it alright with me was the winning team was Jason Saltzman, a friend of mine and really good fisherman, and his son Logan, who probably caught as many fish as his Dad! Seeing Logan’s smiling face holding those fish makes it awfully hard to be upset!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com