Ms. Dane: Reelfoot ‘like a horror movie’

Ms. Dane: Reelfoot ‘like a horror movie’
Staff Reporter
Denise Dane of Hornbeak knows all too well the dangers of the flying Asian Carp at Reelfoot Lake.
So, too, does Eddie Fickle.
Ms. Dane and her boyfriend, Joseph Goodlett, were out on Reelfoot Lake last week when she was viciously hit in the face, back and shoulders by flying Asian Carp.
“There’s got to be something done. It’s horrible,” Ms. Dane told The Messenger earlier this week.
She said she and her boyfriend left from the Blue Bank resort for a fishing trip out on the lake last week. It wasn’t until they began their way back to the resort that the carp began bombarding their boat. Ms. Dane said in the hour or so it took them to get back to shore, they saw between 500 and 700 flying Asian Carp leaping from the water around their boat.
“They’ve been kind of bad but nothing this bad,” she said. “This was like a horror movie.”
She said seeing all the flying fish was “just unbelievable.”
So unbelievable that she said she had to duck for cover and used a couple of life preservers as protection as she hunkered down in the boat.
“I was lying down in the boat and he was knocking them down with a net,” Ms. Dane said.
The encounter left her with busted lips where the airborne fish hit her in the mouth, and she also sustained a hit to her nose and has a large knot on her shoulder.
She used terms like “rocket” and “torpedo” to describe the trajectory of the flying Asian Carp. The low water at Reelfoot Lake is apparently making the problem worse for boaters this fall.
“Everybody on the lake knows it … somebody is going to get really hurt,” Ms. Dane said. “It’s worse than bad.”
She said the fish she and her boyfriend encountered last week on the lake were between 20 and 25 pounds.
Ms. Dane said she is particularly concerned about young children, the elderly and out-of-state boaters being vulnerable out on the lake when the startled fish start leaping into the air. She said there needs to be some signs posted or some kind of warning system in place to warn those going out on the lake.
For Fickle, who works as a hunting and fishing guide at Reelfoot Lake, the Asian Carp are a problem for him every time he takes off from the dock behind his house on West Lakeview Drive in Samburg. The vibration from his boat motor triggers the fish to leap out of the water and arc into the air.
“We cut a path through the lily pads behind my house to go hunt wood ducks,” Fickle said.
“Every time I go out, there are two or three of the carp that will jump into the boat and I’ll have some that will jump alongside the boat,” he said.
Fickle said he first started noticing the Asian Carp at Reelfoot Lake about five years ago and he said the flying fish problem has grown worse over the years.
“These fish are about 12 to 15 pounds each and now I’m starting to see a lot of babies jump,” Fickle said. “They’re about four to six inches long.”              
The Messenger reported on the Asian Carp phenomenon at Reelfoot Lake in late July. The exotic fish were originally introduced to catfish ponds in the United States in the 1970s as a way to manage algae in fish ponds. They have since found their way into streams, lakes and rivers across the Eastern United States.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at

Published in The Messenger 9.21.12

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