Bow Prepping and Warm Weather Slabs
Another beautiful weekend in the heartland, and according to my Facebook feed the lowly old outdoors writer may be the only person that didn't go catch any fish! There's been some talk that I may have joined Angler's Anonymous, but it's not true, I'm still a working fishaholic, and the second my boat's out of the shop I'll be back delivering first hand reports. Until then however, I have to live vicariously through my outdoor cohorts across the region.
The heat is coming on, and the humidity is setting firmly on top of it, but the fish are still biting in a lot of area lakes. Catfishing is always great around here in the summer, but the crappie can get tough. There's one place however, a few hours south of the region that gets extremely good when it gets too hot to breathe, and a lot of folks from around here make the drive to take advantage of it.
Mississippi's "Big Five", Sardis, Washington, Enid, Arkabutla, and Grenada are the collective birthplace for a style of fishing called "pullin' cranks". The tactic is simple in theory, fan out six poles across the back of the boat with Bandit 300 series crankbaits (generally black and pink are good colors), let out 100 to 150 feet of line, and set your speed to around 1.5 mph. The guys that live down there and practice this technique a lot use electric drive trolling motors that are operated by a remote control. Most of us "one poler's" have cable drive motors, and have to make an adjustment to maintain speed and direction. By taking your spider-rig racks and turning them sideways, and using pole lengths in four foot increments (I use 8's, 12's, and 16's) you can pull from the front of the boat. Another trick is to tighten the tension screw on the foot pedal to hold your direction better. 1.5 mph may not seem like much, but it creates a nice breeze and covers a ton of area. In the last few weeks, the fishing at Sardis and Enid in north Mississippi has been unbelievable, and pulling cranks is the best method to filling a summertime livewell.
Reelfoot has been Reelfoot, it gets hot, and the crappie reports slow, but the guides at BlueBank have still been catching decent numbers, and that probably catch more except for the fact that everyone is more interested in chasing the plentiful big bluegill. The bream fishing has been good in the scattered pads and shallow trees, and the guides are still catching all they want off the beds. The catfishing is so good at the lake, it's just ridiculous. I've seen stringers with 40 to 50 cats in a days' worth of fishing. Stink bait has still been the ticket and will remain to be throughout the summer.
Believe it or not, this is when hardcore bowhunters really begin practicing for the upcoming season. Speaking from experiences I'll never write about, missing a big deer is a tough thing to get over, and while there are no guarantees and perfection is rarely accomplished, practice still helps a ton. I went down to Rector, Arkansas to Wilson Outdoors this past week to talk with the owner Gregg Wilson and tune up my Elite Answer. The technology has come a country mile in bow hunting, and pulling back these bows at 65 lbs paired with the let-off is just unreal. I can hold this bow at full draw forever! Elite's main selling point is "shootability", and it's obvious when you shoot one, it's the smoothest, quietest bow I've ever shot, which is why I stick with it. Rector is right on the other side of Kennett, Missouri and the Wilson's will take care of you, give them a call at 870-783-2226, and go shoot an Elite!
Josh M. Gowan
Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine