From turkeys to tourneys, outdoor activities are springing up

From turkeys to tourneys, outdoor activities are springing up

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:20 pm
By: By Brent Callicott

The Messenger 04.05.13

Gobble, gobble, gobble — the 2013 spring turkey season is in full swing.
Starting last Saturday through May 12, all Tennessee counties are open to wild turkey hunting, including WMAs and refuges unless specifically listed.
Bag limits are one bearded turkey per day, not to exceed four per season. Turkeys taken on all quota hunts and specially designated WMAs are bonus turkeys.
Spring turkey shooting hours are 30 minutes before legal sunrise to sunset.
From several whom I have spoken with, last weekend’s opening day was a little on the slow side with the weather maybe having something to do with that.
Despite the weather calendar, which says it should be warmer with things blooming and trees starting to show their leaves a little, cool weather with rainy/cloudy conditions has held on about as long as I have seen it do in many years. This has also had some effect on fishing, but not as much as you might think. Fish bite based on barometric pressure, most of the time. But Old Man Winter may have tried his last gasp this past Tuesday with hints of sleet and just a few snowflakes despite air temps at the surface in the lower to middle 40s. Much warmer weather has started to settle in and each day means we are one day closer to summer-like temps down the road. Next week, temperatures should be in the 70s and maybe touching 80 degrees with sunshine. Finally!
Tourney results
The 20th annual Reelfoot Lake Bass Club’s Open Buddy Bass Tournament held last Saturday on Reelfoot Lake produced some heavy stringers of bass. Twenty-three two-man teams took to the waters of Reelfoot chasing after the first-place prize.
First-place winners in both the overall tournament and Big Bass award went to the team of James Tolley and Jacob Howard, both of Tiptonville, with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 4 ounces with their big bass of 7 pounds, 12 ounces claiming $840 for their efforts. Second place went to the team of Shawn Newsom and Bobby Gray, both of Hornbeak, with a five-bass weight of 21 pounds, 12 ounces. They won second-place Big Bass award with a 7 pound, 2 ounce bass, claiming a check for $590 for their efforts. Third place went to Team Kelly, brothers Rick Kelly of Union City and Randy Kelly of Springfield, Mo., with five bass weighing 21 pounds even. They had a 6 pound, 2 ounce fish for their heaviest bass and claimed a check worth $300 for their efforts.
Bill Coffey and his partner, Jerry Gammons, didn’t place in the money but did weigh in a bass that tipped the scales at 6 pounds, 12 ounces.
Out of the 23 teams, 13 of them brought in 47 bass to the scales to be weighed in. The average weight of those was 3.90 pounds each. Only four teams brought a limit of five bass to the scales in the tournament. All fish were released in good shape back into Reelfoot Lake. The six largest bass of the tournament that were weighed in weighed 38.89 pounds, which would be an average of 6.48 pounds per fish.
The weather wasn’t too bad, with temps in the mid-to upper 40s, light winds and cloudy conditions with rain that moved in about one hour before the tournament was over. Gordon Fox, longtime president of Reelfoot Lake Bass Club and tournament director, said the turnout was a little lower than usual but, overall, it was a great event. He thanked each of the sponsors of the tournament for their support of Reelfoot Lake Bass Club over the years. Without them, this tournament wouldn’t be possible.
I also have been asked to start giving reminders that the annual Buddy Big Bass Tournament will be hosted by Reelfoot Lake Bass Club May 11 on Reelfoot Lake. This tournament is one in which each boat/team is only allowed to weigh in one bass, with the overall winner determined at the end of the event by who has the largest bass. I will have more details in the coming weeks on this event. This is designed to be for anyone. Anyone can go fishing and catch the dream fish of their life or for that particular tournament. I proved that this past Monday. Stay tuned or call Gordon Fox at 885-5541 for more information.
Continuing to speak about Reelfoot Lake, water conditions are as follows:
Reelfoot Lake remains above normal with the water levels. As of midweek and before the rains late Wednesday night and Thursday, Reelfoot Lake water levels were 282.67 feet above sea level. This is still five to seven inches above normal. Water temperature was in the lower 50s but should warm several degrees over the next several days. The water color is slightly stained to clear lakewide.
TWRA watching
A reminder from the TWRA, as temperatures rise and spring continues to bloom — the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has an important warning for all fishermen hitting the lakes, rivers and ponds. They will be watching you.
One of TWRA’S first busts of the season was reported in the last few days.
Four  mid-state fishermen from the Nashville area were recently cited for possessing 360 white bass over the state limit. By law, they are allowed to have 15 per fisherman, per day.
This poaching discovery was made below the dam on Cheatham Lake in Middle Tennessee.
All four people were cited and they face a fine that could reach thousands of dollars. One of the fishermen said they didn’t know about the limit and caught the fish for personal consumption.
The TWRA urges anyone who sees illegal activity to contact the agency, saying tips are critical.
For more information on TWRA rules and regulations, go to its website at www.tnwildlife.org.
Sad news
I thought I would pass along that well-known and avid bass fisherman Doug Hannon died last week at his home after an illness. Hannon was a legend and was known in the fishing world as the “Bass Professor.” He knew so much about the bass itself and fishing in general. He was only 66.
Hannon was known by recreational anglers for catching and releasing well over 800 largemouth bass that weighed 10 or more pounds. He also had nearly 20 patents for numerous fishing tackle, lures and boating propulsion designs. Back last summer, Hannon was riding the crest of worldwide acclaim with his newest innovation, the MicroWave Line Control System by American Tackle. This is for light tackle spinning and casting rods called a guide train. Hannon’s lightweight advancement system will give anglers longer and more accurate casts with far less vibration and friction to the line.
Day to remember
Last Monday, I had one heck of a day bass fishing. I caught the largest bass of my life (see column photo above). This bass tipped the scales at 11 pounds, 13 ounces. I had a really good day fishing, with every one of my bass coming off Strike King Lure Company products. Also, I credit Humminbird Electronics for finding the fish for me. I use the Humminbird 1198 Side Image unit, which actually shows me the fish as much as 240 feet to either side of my boat. You still have to make the fish bite, even though I know they are in the general area. This technology has made such a difference for the betterment in my fishing.
It was just my day and one the good Lord blessed me with. It, for sure, was a day to remember and one for the memory books.
’Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water, folks.
— Brent

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