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Area colleges well represented at bass fishing championship

Area colleges well represented at bass fishing championship

Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 3:00 pm

The University of Ten-nessee at Martin was well represented last week at the Boat U.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. The school sent four teams to the event, which consisted of two days with 181 boats from universities all across the country.
The UTM collegiate bass team, as well as members of the Bethel University collegiate bass team, competed in this event. UTM Bass Team members Grayson Smith, a senior engineering major of Clarksville and Dylan Powley, a junior marketing major of Paris finished 12th out of 181 boats. This makes it the second straight year that UTM has placed in the top 15 of the National Championship. The UTM duo had a two-day, 10-bass total weight of 28.85 pounds.
The teamed coerced their bites from main river ledges using Strike King 6XD deep diving crankbaits as well as Strike King Tour Grade football jigs. They caught an estimated 60 keepers each day, but struggled to get the big bites needed to propel them up the leaderboard
Two members of the Bethel University bass team finished 10th place overall. Zach Parker and Mark Condron had a two-day, 10 bass total weight of 30.14 pounds. Bethel also had several other team members fish. In 31st place was the Bethel team of Will Davis and Ben Freeman with 10 bass weighing 24.64 pounds while Jake Lawrence and Jacob Haroy had 10 bass for 22.81 pounds.
The difference in the two teams, UTM and Bethel, is that Bethel is a team made up of college fishermen that are on scholarship and the UTM club is basically just a college bass club with very limited funding, if any from the university.
The North Carolina State BassPack won the event with a two-day total weight of 10 bass that weighed 45.60 pounds.
Cooler weather and the rain threats were a welcome relief to the record warm temperatures our area has seen over the past several days. Hopefully we was able to receive enough rain that helped all area lakes and rivers.
Kentucky Lake info
I have received word through various outlets that unless we have a substantial amounts of rain soon anywhere along the Tennessee River system, the TVA folks plan to keep the lake levels in the 357.50 feet above sea level range for the next 14 days and it could be longer. The normal Kentucky Lake levels for the summer months is usually 359.0 feet above sea level. This means the lake will remain at least a foot and a half below the summer pool mark, give or take a inch or two.
I can’t stress enough that when you are navigating around the Kentucky Lake area and on the Tennessee River, please run the buoys that mark all channels. This is your best bet to keep you running aground on a sandbar or underwater debris such as logs and stumps.
Some areas up and down the Tennessee River system have already seen a few inches of rain in hard downpours on Monday night and Tuesday. Add Thursday’s possible rains and maybe, just maybe, this will help get Kentucky Lake up to the normal level of 359.0 feet above sea level..
Crappie remain fair trolling Strike King Series 3 and 3XD Crappie crankbaits that run anywhere from 8 to 14 feet deep. The Sexy Shad color and anything red is working well. Troll about 1.5 mph using 8 and 10 pound 100 percent Florocarbon Berkley line. Remember, the lighter the lines in size means a deeper diving bait.
Bass are good with reports of a shallow bite in some areas with most fish coming from the usual summer pattern of fishing drops and ledges up and down the Tennessee River and also on the Big Sandy River.
Good places to start are anywhere from the Highway 79 Bridge south to the 23rd point, which is where the Tennessee and Big Sandy Rivers meet and come together.
Strike King 1/2 ounce to 3/4 ounce Football Jigs in the Peanut Butter and Jelly color and well as some spinnerbaits and some top water in shallow bays. Use the 5 and 6XD’s when fishing the ledges and drops in the Sexy Shad Color as well as the Powder Blue Back and Chartreuse bodies. Strike King’s Sexy Spoons are working well also.
The Triton owners tournament will be going on this coming weekend and Friday as well. Lots of boat traffic will be on the lake and most of that will be fishermen.
Reelfoot Lake info
Reelfoot Lake water levels continue to fall but hopefully will get enough rain out of this event now that might help the lake a little. The ground is so dry and more than likely anything that falls will soak into the farm fields and lands that surround Reelfoot Lake.
Right now, Reelfoot Lake remains in the 281.77 feet above sea level range. Normal levels for Reelfoot according to the USGS is 282.20 feet above sea level. This means Reelfoot Lake is at least 5 or 6 inches low. Just take it slow when navigating on Reelfoot Lake.
Fishing is slow for the most part lakewide. Catfish are the best thing going right now with bluegill with a close second. Bass remain fair with a early morning and late evening g bite during this past warm spell. The Crappie bite has really slowed down.
If we get enough rain and combo that with much cooler temps, this should get the bite back going on Reelfoot for a few days.
Water temps on both lakes have been around 80 degrees to 82 degrees but that is all about to change with the cooler weather we have that is settling into our area this late week and weekend. A complete turnaround from what the Memorial Day weekenders experienced, that’s for sure.
News from the TWRA
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is reporting that there were no boating-related fatalities reported over the 2012 Memorial Day holiday weekend, which is great news.
During the Memorial Day holiday period from May 25-28, there were eight total reported boating accidents. Five of the accidents resulted in injuries and the other three were property damage accidents.
TWRA officers made 22 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests over the weekend, an increase of nine from the same period last year. Officers also issued 12 reckless/negligent operation citations, down two from 2011. This marks the second consecutive Memorial Day holiday weekend that there were no boating fatalities. Last year, there were six reported accidents, two of which resulted in injuries.
There have been seven boating-related fatalities from five accidents thus far in 2012 in Tennessee. There were also seven fatalities at this time last year.
TWRA officers have worked 39 reportable boating accidents in 2012. Officers have now made 42 BUI arrests.
State championship
Four members of the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club from Union City will be fishing in the 2012 Tennessee Junior Bass State Championship Tournament that will be held on Kentucky Lake out of the New Johnsonville area. The ramp will be the Anchor Inn Ramp located at 130 Harbor Circle in New Johnsonville. Members who will be fishing are John Coble Garrett, Matt Lamastus, Lawson Maxwell and Joe Hamilton. Good luck guys and bring the championship back to Obion County.
I have been asked to pass along an invitation to come and hang out with Michael Waddell, Nick Mundt and Travis “T-Bone” Turner  of the Brotherhood of the Bone Collectors Bus Tour.
They will be appearing from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday at Final Flight Outfitters. This is a free meet-and-greet event that is open to the public. Final Flight is located in the Midway Community on the old Martin Highway 22.
Family time
On Memorial Day, I was able to spend that day as the first time my daughter Gracyn and I went bass fishing in a boat together, just the two of us. She has a very good chance of being a person who has the love for fishing, especially bass fishing. We spent close to four hours Monday morning bass fishing on Gibson County Lake chasing around a few small schooling bass before the warmest part of the day settled in. We were able to leave the house at around 5:45 and, of course, she was able to sleep going to and coming from the lake, but she never missed a beat while we were in the boat. She is a great caster and knows how to handle a rod and reel at her age. Thanks Gracyn for helping make that special day for the two of us and looking forward to many more in the very near future.
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.

Published in The Messenger 6.1.12

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