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Rain fails to put a damper on local fishermen’s tourney success

Rain fails to put a damper on local fishermen’s tourney success

Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 2:17 pm
By: By Brent Callicott

The Messenger 05.03.13

Well, the weather has taken center stage once again. If it is not the rain, it is the cooler weather and how unsettled the weather really has been.
As you read this week’s column, you will see that more rain is falling and more is in the forecast, and much cooler temperatures have invaded our area once again. This sometimes happens at this time of year, also when crappie and bass are trying to spawn.
Rain — yes, we have had our share of it, for sure. Last month in April, most parts of Obion County received between 10 and 12 inches of rainfall. So far for the year, almost 23 inches of rain have fallen in my rain gauge.
The drought that our area and many parts of the country experienced last year is now history.
Since June 15, 2012, I have recorded near 53 inches of rainfall. That’s in a 365-day period. Our average is usually in the 48-inch range.
So if you start June 15, 2012, and then go through June 14, 2013, we are very much well on our way of being well above average. I would not be surprised to see us end up with well over 60 inches in that time period. In the flooding we saw back in 2011, I remember we had somewhere like 66 inches for the year.
TWRA talk
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency made its 2013-14 hunting season recommendations at the April meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, with few changes to the current regulations. The April meeting was held at the Paris Convention Center in Henry County. The commission will vote on the 2013-14 seasons at its May 30-31 meeting in Nashville.
These are just some things that were talked about.
TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division Chief Daryl Ratajczak and members of the division’s staff made presentations to TWFC members.
In regard to white-tail deer hunting, Crockett County in West Tennessee was moved to Unit L. Numerous counties in units A and B were recommended for increases in antler-less opportunities.
The agency is recommending hunters be able to take a red deer throughout the year, provided they receive a free permit from the TWRA Region IV office in Morristown.
During fall turkey season, several counties in southern Middle Tennessee will have their bag limits reduced. The bag limits in Giles, Wayne and Lawrence will be one, while Lincoln County will be three. The fall turkey counties included three expansions to include Meigs, Rhea and Roane counties to have bag limits of one. Bag limits in Carroll and Weakley counties were increased from one to three.
The statewide changes to Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) include cave closures on all areas unless authorized by TWRA. All WMAs open to statewide seasons will have a Jan. 15 closure for quail hunting.
There were recommended changes to the big game tagging procedures in preparation for the 2013-14 seasons. Details of the new procedures will be provided to the public prior to the seasons.
View the TWRA-proposed recommendations made at the April TFWC meeting by going to the TWRA website.
In other items of business, the commission approved two new WMAs that were previously unproclaimed state lands. Parker Branch WMA in Gibson County and Harp WMA in Bledsoe County have been added to TWRA’s list of WMAs.
A no wake zone was approved for the entire TWRA 560-acre Gibson County Lake. This is a good thing because lots of underwater large trees and wood piles are over several areas of the lake.
The May 30-31 TFWC meeting will begin at 1 p.m. that Thursday at TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building. Friday’s meeting will start at 9 a.m.
The TWRA is soliciting comments for its 2013-14 hunting seasons’ regulations proposals. This is an opportunity for the public to share ideas and concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff.
Comments will be considered by TWRA’s Wildlife Division staff and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes. Comments may be mailed to 2013-14 Hunting Season Comments, TWRA, Wildlife Man-agement Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204; or emailed to Include “Hunting Season Comments” on the subject line of emails.
The comment period concerning the 2013-14 proposed hunting seasons regulations will be open until May 27.
Tourney time
Last Saturday, 35 two-man teams tested their skills on Reelfoot Lake in the second of two Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Team Tournaments, with the first one held back in March of this year.
There were several anglers from our area in Lake and Obion counties that fished the tournament.
Claiming second place overall and second place overall in the Big Fish award was the Strike King Crappie Pro team of Tim Blackley and Jackie VanCleave. They had seven crappie that weighed 10.31 pounds, just three-hundredths of an ounce from winning the entire tournament. Their big crappie weighed 1.93 pounds. Winning weight of the tournament was 10.33 pounds of seven crappie and the largest crappie weighed in was 1.98 pounds.
They used some minnows but mainly used the many products that Strike King Lure Company has out on the market now for just crappie fishing. Tim said their best fish came off of using an eighth-ounce Strike King Jig head and a white/chartreuse Strike King Crappie Thunder jig body.
The weather was horrible like back in March when the tournament came to the lake. Most of these fish were caught in deep water.
The duo of Blackley/Vancleave will now move on and have qualified to fish the Crappie Masters Classic, which will be held in September in Grenada Lake in Mississippi.
Others from our area who did well were Jeff Riddle of Hornbeak and partner David Maddux from Missouri, finishing in third with seven crappie that weighed 10.30 pounds. Roy Logan, local TWRA officer, and partner Wade Hendren, also a TWRA officer, of Carroll County claimed fourth place overall with seven crappie tipping the scales at 9.77 pounds. Lake Countians and well-known professional crappie team of Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman had seven crappie that weighed 9.11 pounds. They claimed eighth place overall for their efforts.
Another member of the Strike King Pro Staff, Mark Williams of Bells, and partner Bart Gillon of Dyersburg had seven crappie that weighed 8.08 pounds. Mark has also qualified for the Classic in September, as well as some of the others mentioned above. Mark, as well as Blackley, Vancleave, Doug Cherry, Greg Mathenia and Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall, all represent the Strike King Lure Company National Crappie Pro Staff.
A total of 192.63 pounds of crappie was weighed in during the tournament.
If you have not done so by now, go to Tim Blackley’s Facebook page and see what static electricity is like while holding a fishing pole out in the middle of the lake. It has a great video of when to head to the bank for a break and let the storms pass by. This is a great learning tool because there was no lightning or thunder around. Lightning can strike just about any time.
Congrats to my good friend John Coble Garrett as he represented his junior bass club, his family and his community well in the 2013 Bass Federation Southern Divisional Junior Championship last week on Douglas Lake in East Tennessee. John finished in fourth place with five bass that weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces. It was a great experience and one he has enjoyed before. Great things are ahead for this young angler, as well as many others in the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club and Obion County Central High School Bass Anglers.
’Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water, folks.

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