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Crappie tournament brings fishermen to Reelfoot Lake

Crappie tournament brings fishermen to Reelfoot Lake

By: By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter

Crappie tournament brings fishermen to Reelfoot Lake | Reelfoot Lake State Park, Cliff Edwards, Jerry Trimble, Crappie Masters crappie tournament

Cliff Edwards (right) of Murray, Ky., and Jerry Trimble of Hardin, Ky.
Cliff Edwards of Murray, Ky., figures he and his fishing partner, Jerry Trimble of Hardin, Ky., will spend a total of $1,000 in the Reelfoot Lake area this week.
The Messenger found the two men about 3 p.m. Thursday at a campsite at Reelfoot Lake State Park, where they share a small trailer. They arrived Monday evening and plan to leave Sunday morning.
“Our wives are coming down. So you better add $250 each to that,” Edwards said. “But that’s OK. Best money we’ll spend the whole trip.”
Edwards and Trimble are competing with 440 other sports fishermen — two men to a boat — in the Crappie Masters crappie tournament today and Saturday at Reelfoot Lake.
“You better talk fast,” Edwards told this reporter. “I got a hot date. Just me ’n’ my wife. Our 47th wedding anniversary was yesterday. I missed it ’cause I was out on the lake fishing. Going to make up for it tonight. I’m going to take her out and feed her.”
Edwards, 69, is retired after 30 years with B.F. Goodrich Chemical Company in Calvert City, Ky.
Trimble, a former salesman with Woodmen of the World Insurance Society, is medically retired.
The two men arrived Monday evening in separate vehicles. Edwards drove a 2002 Toyota Tundra pickup with trailer and 14-foot Alweld aluminum boat with outboard motor. Trimble drove a 2002 Ford F150 pickup with their small house trailer in tow.
The crappie tournament is Trimble’s first time to fish Reelfoot Lake and the first time for Edwards in 12 years.
They undoubtedly know each other well. They’ve been fishing buddies for 10 years.
Crappie fishing is just about the only item on their lifestyle agenda. What time of the year do they quit?
“We don’t,” Edwards said. “We are members of Twin Lakes Crappie Club in western Kentucky. We have an event almost every month of the year. That’s why we fish all year.”
As you might imagine, they go a lot of places to compete, and they put a lot of mileage on their trucks.
Last June, they placed second in a regional tournament at Truman Lake in Missouri, which qualified them to compete in the Crappie Classic at Reelfoot Lake.
“We weighed in seven fish, had a total weight of little under nine pounds. We got beat out of first place by 35/100th of a pound,” Edwards said. “That’s seven fish. Average was one- and a quarter pounds. We are looking for a two-pound average tomorrow.”
“In fact, you are probably looking at the winners right now,” Trimble quipped.
Edwards said the fact that 220 boats will be on Reelfoot Lake in the tournament doesn’t bother him and his pal. They’re used to it. Last weekend they competed in a tournament at Kentucky Lake that drew 191.
“We finished 10th in that one,” he said. “We beat 181 boats. But they ain’t the ones you worry about. It’s the nine you didn’t beat that bothers you.”
“It’s like a horse race,” Trimble said. “One winner. The rest are also-rans.”
How long will these two senior citizen crappie fishermen keep on keeping on?
“As long as we’re able,” Edwards said.
But surely they can’t make a living going to crappie tournaments.
“No, you can’t,” Edwards said. “You better have your living already made.”
What would it take to make them happy this trip?
“A 14-pound sack of crappie. Seven crappie, two pounds apiece,” he said.
Published in The Messenger on 10.19.07

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