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One year and counting: Writer marks first year with local fishing report

One year and counting: Writer marks first year with local fishing report

Posted: Friday, April 16, 2010 12:06 pm
By: Brent Callicott

One year and counting: Writer marks first year with local fishing report | One year and counting: Writer marks first year with local fishing report

Patricia Callicott
Well folks, before I get into the fishing report, I want to let you know this is my one-year anniversary on writing the weekly outdoors column/fishing report for The Messenger. My first report for print was April 17, 2009. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be writing something in the outdoors section of The Messenger, much less any other paper.
First of all, I want to take this time to thank the fine folks at the Messenger for approaching me and asking me to do such a thing. Thank you for having the confidence in me to do this. I am not a professional writer, as you can tell, my dialect is a little on the country side — to say the least — and a misspelled word slips through every now and then.
To you, the readers, for simply taking the time to read my weekly column….Thank You! I have many folks every day and week who call me, e-mail me, send me cards or simply stop me on the street to say how much they enjoy reading each Friday’s edition of my outdoors column. I have learned a lot and will continue to do so.
Now for the reports….
On Reelfoot lake, the water temperature has finally reached the 70-degree mark. Long time coming I would say. Most of the time, the water temperature has been starting out in the mid-60s the past several days but by the time the late afternoon rolls around, the water temps are up in the lower 70s. This is good for all fishing. I know late Tuesday afternoon, the water temp — according to my temp gauge — was reading 75. This is not official but is in the ballpark.
The water level has dropped a few inches and I would say is still at least 2 to 4 inches above the normal pool level. The current has also slowed down in the ditches, letting us know that the lake levels are just about where they should be.
Water color is good. From Kirby Pocket, Buck Basin, Buzzard Slough, Black Jack Pocket and up through the Upper Blue Basin/Walnut Log area on the lake, the water is fairly clear with just a touch of a brownish stain.
Then from the Big Starve Pond, Lost Pond, Rat Island Shore down through the Lower Blue Basin (Southern end) area of the lake, the water is mainly clear. Top clear in some areas on sunny days.
The crappie bite is HOT! I have been told by some resort owners that this is the best crappie year they have seen in the last 10 years. Many other locals will agree. This year has really been good. Especially for the tourists, the folks who travel hundreds of miles just to try their luck at the Reelfoot Lake crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish.
I know I have seen several pictures in the last several weeks with many out-of-town guests catching their limits or close to it and having some very nice crappie in size to boot.
Most folks are catching their crappie on minnows. Some are jig fishermen and that’s all they do and they are doing well, too. One other good method that has caught on over the last several years is fishing a crappie jig and tipping it with a small to medium size minnow.
This past Monday, my mother and father (Patricia & Lanny) had a very successful day fishing for crappie. They didn’t manage to bring in their limits but they did bring in some very nice crappie with their largest tipping the scales at 2 pounds 13 ounces. They had a few more that were in the 1 1/2 to 2 pound range.
I bass-fished myself Monday and Tuesday with decent days on both. I did boat several bass on my two trips and also boated six very nice crappie which I did release back into the lake because I had no way of keeping the fish.
Then on Wednesday, my dad and Ray Wilson of Union City crappie-fished on Reelfoot. The bite was still good but has slowed down a bit. They caught several crappie but managed to only bring home 16 that were all of good size.
This past Saturday, the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club held their second club tournament of the year. They fished Crockett Lake here in Obion County and had good weather to go along with several fish caught.
Several members of the club tested their luck on the bass at Crockett Lake with John Coble Garrett coming out on top as the winner in the younger age group and overall. John had five bass that tipped the scales at 14.72 pounds.. John also had big bass of the tournament at 5.52 pounds.
Winner in the older age group was Chance Williams. He had a total weight of 4.80 pounds.
The club as a whole weighed in 17 bass that tipped the scales at over 38 pounds.
Also, I wanted to report that Robert Bagwell of Union City recently took his grandchildren crappie fishing on Kentucky Lake during their spring break. From what I have been told, they fished two different times and had good days on both. Those who were guided by Mr. Bagwell were his grandchildren, 7-year-old Evelyn Bagwell, 8-year-old Leah Beth Faulkner, 10-year–old Nolan Faulkner and 13-year-old Knox Faulkner. Now folks, I know the kids had a great time but not as much as Mr. Bagwell did. This was true quality family time well spent and memories made forever.
Tomorrow morning, the Annual Walk Of Hope Open Buddy Bass Tournament will take place out of the Kirby Pocket State Park area. Entry fee is $80 per boat. For more information, you can contact Dave Bragg 731-446-6759 or Travis Johnson 731-446-8724. More information will be posted later on this event. Money raised during this tournament will help support the Obion County Hometown Walk of Hope.
I hope to have the results of the tournament in my column next week.
On May 8th, the Annual St. Jude Buddy Bass Tournament — sponsored by Reynolds Brothers Tire & Oil Co. — will take place on Reelfoot Lake. This event will be out of the Kirby Pocket State Park Ramp area with 100 percent of the proceeds raised going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. For more information, you can contact Gordon Fox or Jimmy White at 885-5541.
Turning our attention to our American Bird, the Bald Eagle.
Once on the brink of extinction, bald eagles are increasing their numbers in Tennessee. Our country’s national symbol had all but disappeared 30 years ago but the species was taken off the federal list of endangered species in 2007, and now state biologists are considering removing them from the Tennessee list as well.
We have them right here in our back yard at Reelfoot Lake. WOW, what a bird!!!
I personally get to see them up close just about every day I am on Reelfoot Lake. I have even seen the young being raised.
In 1955, there were only 14 known active eagle nests in Tennessee, al at Reelfoot Lake. By 1961 there were none. It took 22 years before bald eagles again nested in the state, when a pair took up residence at Reelfoot Lake in 1983. Since then their numbers have soared with 130 pairs documented in 2009.
Although bald eagles are now doing well in Tennessee and are perhaps more abundant than ever, there are potential threats to their continued success. As their numbers grow, they are occupying more undeveloped private land along major reservoirs and lakes across the state.
Many of these areas are being cleared for development, posing the biggest threat to bald eagles and other native wildlife. It is possible there may be a decline in nesting bald eagles as they are excluded from many of the best breeding areas in the state.
For now new nest sites are still being discovered each year, with more than 15 previously undocumented bald eagle breeding locations reported by TWRA personnel and volunteers last year alone. If an individual sees an eagle in the state, especially if there is knowledge of an eagle nest, please contact TWRA at (615) 781-6653 or The TWRA doesn’t track observations of individual birds, but a sighting of an adult eagle in spring may lead to a nest. With the public’s help, the TWRA will be able to continue tracking this incredible success story. For more information on bald eagles and other wildlife in Tennessee, see the new Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife web page at
That’s all for this weeks report. A reminder to send you stories or photos along to me (446-3678 or or the folks at the Messenger.
Catch ya on the
water folks….
Published in The Messenger 4.16.10

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