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Outdoor writers conference attracts top fishermen to Kentucky Lake

Outdoor writers conference attracts top fishermen to Kentucky Lake

Posted: Friday, October 14, 2011 3:02 pm
By: By Brent Callicott

Outdoor writers conference attracts top fishermen to Kentucky Lake | Brent Callicott, fishing report

This past week, the annual Strike King Lure Company 2011 Outdoors Writers Conference was held up at Kentucky Lake near the Paris Landing State Park Marina. Actually, the FishTale Lodge was centered as the headquarters for this great event.
From last Sunday afternoon until midday on this past Wednesday, some of the best outdoor writers in the country — as well as radio and TV outdoor personalities — interviewed, videotaped and photographed some of, if not the best, bass anglers in the world.
This is a event where new products and outlooks for the coming year are shared and demonstrated step by step and will soon make their way into your living room, on the radio, on the Internet or in major bass magazine publications.
I was once again invited to this year’s event, being able to hang out with the best of the best both in fishermen and the best bait company in the industry, Strike King Lures — as well as writers.
I’m also very honored to be serving on the regional pro staff with Strike King, as I have for over 15 years.
Strike King Lure Company is based right here in Tennessee just outside of Memphis in Collierville, where the company has been for many years.
After most all of the Strike King Lure Company national pro staff and writers arrived on Sunday afternoon, we all gathered at a local restaurant there near the headquarters and were fed an awesome meal, followed by a few stories from some of the national pro staffers of Strike King.
With the introduction of many new products on the bass side of things, Strike King has ventured into the crappie fishing world by developing many new crappie baits with the main two the Strike King Slab Hammer Tooty Fruity Tubes and Rage Tail Slab Hammer Crappie Grubs.
My dad has been fortunate to be able to serve as a crappie regional pro staff member, along with local crappie guide Billy Blakely and a few others.
At the same time, Strike King has two touring crappie pro fishing teams fishing professionally around the country with one of the two man teams being from tight here in Obion County, the other team also being from West Tennessee.
Tim Blackley of Hornbeak and Jackie VanCleave of Samburg fish as members of the Strike King National Pro Staff, representing the company out on tour as well as sharing the news of all of the new line of crappie baits.
Then there are two other fine crappie fishermen who also serve as the other Strike King Crappie Pro Team. Doug Cherry of Halls and Mark Williams of Bells travel the country fishing professionally for crappie and sharing their knowledge to others, teaching those who want to learn more.
Both of these teams fish the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Tour and the Cabelas Crappie USA Tour. These men are well known in the crappie field, with several others from our area who also fish on the professional level fishing for crappie.
Look for these guys to continue to make strives in the crappie fishing world, that’s for sure.
As for the bass fishing side of things, those national pro staff members who were in attendance for the writers conference were Mark Menendez, Kevin VanDam, Shaw Grigsby, Denny Brauer, Mark Davis, Greg Hackney, James Niggemeyer, Jonathon VanDam, Andy Montgomery, Luke Estel, Roger Stegall and Mark Rose. Regional pro staff members who were there included Sam Lashlee, Bobby Kilzer, Todd Witt and yours truly. Others who are national pro staff members are George Cochran, Clay Dyer and Debra Hengst.
I want to thank Tommy Akin, Valerie Dixon, Crispin Pawley and Mark Copley, members of the Strike King Company, for the invite to this event as well as a host of others. I truly had a great time learning a lot and planning on sharing some info in the following weeks and months.
Also a special thanks to John Barnes (owner of Strike King), Doug Minor (vice president) and Alan Ranson (chief operating officer) for allowing me to be able to serve with such great people and a great company.
At Strike King, everyone loves to fish and love to share their fishing knowledge with others, which makes this company so special.
You can learn more about the full line of Strike King Lure Company baits by visiting their website at or send them a e-mail requesting a catalog.
Don’t forget Final Flight Outfitters will be hosting a extravaganza of duck and goose calling competitions this weekend at their store location in the Midway Community near Union City. These major calling contests offer five chances to qualify for the World Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Ark.
A junior competition in duck and goose as well as the TN State Goose Calling Competition for adults will be held at this year’s event. The action begins on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Reelfoot Lake continues to need water. The lack of runoff rains has made for lower than normal water conditions on Reelfoot, which makes navigation slow, or should be.
Right now, depending the amounts of rain this late week, Reelfoot Lake continues to be sitting at the 280.95 feet above sea level with the normal pool level at 282.20 feet above sea level. This means that Reelfoot lake is about 14 or so inches below the normal level.
Water temps are around 70 degrees.
Crappie fishing is slow but every now and then someone stumbles upon a good stringer of fish. Look for cooler weather in the future, which in return will cool the water temps down and get the crappie bite going in full swing. We have already had very nice weather this fall so even if the bite is kinda on the slow side, I always say, you can’t catch’em at home.
That’s it for this week’s report and column.
Til next week,
Catch ya on the water folks

Published in The Messenger 10.14.11