Another beautiful weekend resulted in a lot of people enjoying the great outdoors. We had some strong storms come through in spots but outside of some hail and wind they mostly just cooled down the air. The bass are really firing up and the Mississippi River is on a slow rise which is making for some dynamite catfishing.
My personal fishing report was again spent at beautiful Reelfoot Lake. I took my wife and son to do a little filming for the annual Crappie.com video contest, and we had a blast. We caught the majority of our fish longlining or pulling. This technique is used quite a bit at Kentucky Lake, but rarely at Reelfoot. The reasoning is that when pulling, you do just that, you pull instead of push your baits. Letting your lures out to 50 feet behind the boat and running at 1.5 to 2 mph, staggering pole lengths to cover a wide path and keep from getting tangled. The problem with doing this at Reelfoot is obvious to anyone who's ever fished the lake, it is home to millions of underwater stumps. The trick is knowing the few spots that have fewer stumps and keeping your jigs at the right depth. I used six poles and pulled 1/8 ounce roadrunners with curly tailed grubs, black and chartreuse being the dominant color. It was a lot of fun, and not only did we catch some nice crappie, I landed a five pound catfish which was a blast on a 12 foot crappie pole!
The bass fishing at Kentucky Lake has really turned on. Fish are being caught everywhere with every method, but the ledges from 10 to 20 feet deep, especially in the mouths of coves, are on fire right now. Casting deep diving crank baits will catch the more aggressive fish but to really work the area Carolina-rigged worms, lizards, or creature baits are the ticket. Just locate a ledge, cast out some sort of bottom working lure and fish it slowly, "walking" it down the ledge until you feel that gentle tug or explosive yank, then set the hook!
The crappie are still being caught in 10 to 15 feet of water on mats and will continue to be, but the most efficient (and fun in my opinion) way to catch summer time crappie on Kentucky Lake is pulling crank baits and curly tails. This method just lets you cover a lot of water and gives you a better chance to catch more fish. The white bass are beginning to school up and can be targeted pulling crank baits as well, but the most fun way to catch these tenacious feeders is early in the morning when they push bait fish to the top of the water and explode on the surface in short frenzies. Casting any flashy lure or top-water bait works well during these chaotic feasts and the action is fast and furious.
Wappapello Lake in Southeast Missouri is continuing to put out good numbers of fish. The bass are turning on at "Wap" like they are at Kentucky, and the crappie are being caught pulling curly tails and crank baits as well as slow trolling. The fish have been suspended 5 to 7 feet deep in 10 to 14 feet of water, relating to brush and ledges.
Missouri's frog gigging season kicks off this Thursday, June 30th at dusk and a lot of eager outdoorsmen, myself included, will be chasing after these delicious amphibians. The limit is 8 per night and a total bag limit of 16, so check the batteries in your head lamps, sharpen your gigs, and get the tote sack out of the garage, it's time to stick some frogs!
The Mississippi River is on a slow rise, and bank fishermen on both sides are catching tons of catfish. Everything from earthworms to gumbo worms to stink bait to skipjack are effective. With the gas prices and the economy many of us won't be traveling on this 4th of July weekend, but there is plenty of Mississippi River and various lakes with prime beach available to prop up a few catfish poles and roast some hot dogs on a campfire, just take plenty OFF!