Tragedy on lake a cruel reminder of the power of Mother Nature

Tragedy on lake a cruel reminder of the power of Mother Nature

Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 3:00 pm

Late Thursday afternoon of last week, a tragedy took place on Reelfoot Lake that claimed the life of a fisherman. Not knowing exactly what happened, several things could have played a major role in the outcome that evening.
That particular day, there were record high temperatures set all over West Tennessee with highs in the mid- to upper 70s. Sunny skies along with very high winds were part of the weather that day as well. Anytime you have very warm air temperatures during the spring months, it usually means southerly winds. That day, they were were out of the south/southwest.
This accident took place in a area of the lake that winds would have had the lake pretty rough with all factors coming together.
What I am wanting to say is always be sure and check the weather before heading out on your fishing or hunting trip if it involves water. The main thing is what the wind speed is predicted and direction of the winds for that day. This needs to be done on any body of water you’re about to launch your boat on.
Many times, I have been out on the water and winds have reached in the neighborhood of 30 to 35 mph. But at the same time, knowing where to unload and load your boat avoiding rough water ahead of time is also very important.
I have seen winds missed by the weather forecasters more times than not and usually for the worse. Wearing your life jacket is very important, but at the same time, when water reaches a certain temperature, that could spell major troubles for anyone.
Lots of factors played into the role of what happened during this accident. My prayers go out to this family.
Also, a praise goes out to all of the first responders to this accident. There were several who put their lives at risk going out to look for other people that might have been with this gentleman but the good news is no one else was involved.
Have you ever wondered how cold it has to be before hypothermia and frostbite become health threats? This is how serious it is when the water is cold no matter how warm or cold the air temperatures are.
The water temperatures can fool you, especially on a day like last Feb. 23 and usually the case when we go from the winter months to the spring and summer months.
Water temps do not need to be in the 30s to cause troubles; they can even be in the 60s. Just imagine jumping in your shower or bathtub at home with just the cold water running. On  average, our homes’ tap water is usually around 60 degrees — maybe just a degree or two cooler.
That is about 10 degrees warmer than the average water temperatures are right now in area
But wind chill and how well skin is protected and moisture levels factor into the risk. Hypothermia occurs most commonly at freezing temperatures, but can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat or submersion in cold water.
Here are some statistics I put together worth knowing.
Water temperature: 32 degrees or below
Time until exhaustion or unconsciousness: Less than 15 minutes
Expected time of survival in the water: Less than 15 to 45 minutes
Water temperature: 32.5 to 40 degrees
Time until exhaustion or unconsciousness: 15 to 30 minutes
Expected time of survival in the water: 30 to 90 minutes
Water temperature: 40 to 50 degrees
Time until exhaustion or unconsciousness: 30 to 60 minutes
Expected time of survival in the water: 1 to 3 hours
Reelfoot Lake
The report from Reelfoot Lake says the crappie are still good and now the bass bite has picked up over the last few days. The bass bite has been the result of warmer weather and mainly warmer water temperatures.
Reelfoot continues to be above normal as for the water level. As of Tuesday, the lake was at the 282.78 feet above sea level mark with the normal level be 282.20 feet above sea level. Wednesday morning rains didn’t amount to much but more rain is in the forecast today and tonight.
Water temps have come up some and are now in the lower to mid-50s. That is up from the upper 40s to around 50 last week. Water color is good.
Crappie continue to be caught using minnows and some of the new line of Strike King Crappie baits.
On Monday, my dad, Lanny, and one of his fishing buddies, Jack Parker, managed to catch 37 crappie on Reelfoot and, of those, 13 were of a very nice grade. Then on Sunday, Jeff Crabtree managed to limit out (30 crappie) while fishing on Reelfoot. Both report most were caught on minnows.
Also on Monday, Larry Isbell and Gene Crabtree were able to catch 36 on Kentucky Lake until the northeastern winds sent them home.
A bass can be caught on Reelfoot Lake fishing around cypress trees with jigs and soft plastics. Also, a Strike King KVD Wild Shinner suspending bait would be a good choice. Slow rolling a Strike King Premier Plus spinnerbait in Sexy Shad or White colors will work also.
BASS crowned a new BassMaster Classic Champion this past Sunday.
Elite Series touring bass professional Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., won the Bassmaster Classic Sunday by more than 3 pounds, fending off hard-charging Greg Vinson. Lane’s victory was his second Bassmaster tournament title of 2012. Each came with a qualification for the 2013 Classic.
Lane brought 51 pounds, 6 ounces to the scales over three days to claim the 2012 crown of professional bass fishing and the $500,000 first-place prize. It was his first Classic win.
Lane and his brother, Bobby, both tour as professional bass fishermen on the BassMaster Elite Series with Bobby having the upper hand most of the time, except for this past Sunday.
Chris Lane out-fished 48 other professional bass fishermen during the three-day event, which was held on the Red River in Shreveport-Bossier City Louisiana area.
In a bet between the brothers that has been in place since they both started fishing the pro tour together, if one of them ever won the BassMaster Classic, he would have to pay the other brother’s entry fee for that year, which will amount to around $45,000.
Calendar of events
The local Reelfoot Longbeards Chapter of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation will be hosting their annual banquet March 9 at the John Tanner National Guard in Union City. There will be a live auction, a silent auction and games to be played. A meal will be served including thick cut pork chops, baked potatoes and the other side items. There will be a guest speaker from the Wounded Warrior-Wheeling Sportsman as the main speaker for this event. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the meal will be served around 7. The live auction will take place after the meal. It is also stressed that there will be no alcohol at this event as they are and will have a family type atmosphere at the family event. There will be tickets available at the door or you can call 731-697-6017.
Calvary Baptist Church in Union City will be hosting a Wild Game Supper March 24 at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and this will be held in the Mac Building there on the church grounds. Jon Paul Moody, director of the Covenant Ranch in Paris will be the guest speaker. Calvary Baptist Church is located at 2250 East Reelfoot Ave. here in Union City and to make reservations, you can call the church office at 731-885-6579.
The annual Reelfoot Lake Buddy Bass Tournament will be held April 7 on Reelfoot Lake out of the Kirby Pocket State Park area. Tournament hours will be the blast-off at 7 a.m. and weigh-in at 3 p.m. sharp. Entry fee is $80 per boat (2 person team) and will be guaranteeing $1,500 for 1st through 3rd place. You can pre-register up until April 4th and pick up a entry form at Reynolds Brothers in Union City, some area Walmarts and other sporting good outlets that are local. You can also register the morning of the tournament.
A reminder for March 8th from 6-9 p.m., Hills Hardware in Union City will be hosting “Hunters Night Out”. Jon Paul Moody of the Covenant Ranch in Paris will be doing some seminar. Some reps of different outdoor companies will be on hand, like the Primos Game Calls and Outdoor Company. Also, Missouri outdoor wildlife artist Tony Campbell will be there.
I hope you were able to read Kevin Bowden’s article on the Wounded Warrior event that will be taking place at Reelfoot Lake in April. I plan to be there when they arrive on Tuesday and hand out a bag of goodies I will collect from my sponsors in appreciation for their sacrifice and what they mean to us.
In closing, I want to congratulate both the Union City Lady Tornadoes and the Obion County Lady Rebels in winning both of their regional championship games this past week. They will both now host a substate game tomorrow night with one at the Union City High School and the other at Obion County Central High School. This will be the Union City girls’ team’s first trip ever to a substate game. Obion County’s Lady Rebels have been down this road many times before. I want to wish them both the best of luck Saturday and hope to see them in the Tennessee Girls’ State Tournament next week.
Til next week’s column
Catch ya on the water folks
Brent

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