Please Sign In


New To Sportsman Network?
  • I'm torn between two lakes.

    On the one hand The Rez is within 5 minutes of my boat shed and I love to catch stripers this time of the year (or any time of the year for that matter), and I read where Bobby C. has 'fount 'em'.

    On the other hand, some Magnolia Crappie Club buddies of mine are killing the white perch over on Chotard/Albermarle, and they're fishing in the shade, making the hot days a little more palatable.

    Either lake, both lakes are favorites of mine.

    Oh, how I do love the pull of a 9 pound stripe, and these beauties will bite from now through October. I've even learned how to slow cook them on my Big Green Egg charcoal cooker to a delightful smoked fish dish as good as any smoked salmon I've ever eaten. And, I am not a big fish eater, but these things cooked on the half shell after marinating in soy sauce, garlic powder, and malt vinegar are GREAT!

    And, I'll even use a jig pole to catch a crappie every now and then. My more recent fishing buds have not seen me jig fish much. They make light of jigging abilities. They have no idea that before all the drift rigs and long-lining and crankbaits came along to catch a mess of crappie that ole Gil and I used to weigh tournament limits (then it was 30 fish on the weigh-in scale) of jig-caught slabs all the time. They don't believe me when I tell them that the best day I ever had on Barnett was with my buddy Gil Woodis using white-hair Slater jigs on Halloween Day on the river ledge on Barnett. We caught 60 and all of 'em were over 2 pounds.

    Point being, that I still own a jig pole or two and can probably get the hang of it back pretty quick.

    Any way, Chotard/Albemarle are burning it up, too, folks. Go to the bushes. Fish 5 to 7 feet deep around visible structure in 5 to 9 feet of water. Jim McKay and I went Saturday morning. We didn't do well, and others did really well. I must tell you that it was very crowded and every one was fishing the same standing timber and snags.

    First time I've actually seen a parking attendant at Chotard Landing. No really--lady in orange vest with flash light directing the heavy flow of trucks with boat trailers where to park.

    It was jam-packed, y'all.

    July 15, 2009 at 2:42am

    Big Day At Barnett For MCC

    The Magnolia Crappie Club wound up its 08/09 Regular Tournament Season (our 17th season, by the way) on Barnett Reservoir yesterday. And, boy, was it a big day for us.

    Let me tell you about it.

    The day started with a pile of folks around the breakfast tables at Tommy's Trading Post. Get this--on the very last regular event of the year we had our largest turnout of the year @ 42 boats.

    Plus, we signed up 2 brand new teams--one, a husband and wife team from Memphis and another from up around Columbus. And, in addition to these new teams, we had a couple of first-time fishing members fill in as subs. Look, I don't recall ever closing out the year on such a high note.

    It's always encouraging to see the youngsters show up in our sport. Yesterday, we had several school age kids fishing with their dads or grand dads. One, young 3rd grader, fishing with Grandpa Lonnie Hannah, Pelahatchie, scored in the Top 5 for the day. Lonnie stated proudly at the weigh in that 'Jason caught at least half of our weighing fish.'
    --------------------------------------
    Sunrise Service
    Perhaps the highlight of the day for many of us was the memorial service we held at sunup over at Brown's Landing. We've had 10 MCC members die in the last few years, and once a year we stop long enough to remember our dear friends and their families.

    Now we've done this service 3 times, I think, all with a great deal of meaning and respect, but for some reason yesterday's was especially moving for us.

    Perhaps it was the absolutely georgous sunrise that God provided. Maybe it was the wonderful attendance of dozens of family members--several from out of state--and their expressed appreciation for the MCC bunch.

    Maybe it was Elvis singing 'Amazing Grace' or Willie Nelson's 'Uncloudy Day' or George Straight's 'You'll Be There'--not your normal memorial service entertainment crowd, I know--but all seemed to fit just right for our group.

    What ever it was, the 30 minutes we took to lay a wreath on the water and re-tell a few memories of our dearly departed before going to the lake to fish our last event was special for lots of people.

    I saw a few grown men crying yesterday morning. I also saw some of the brightest smiles and biggest hugs and warmest handshakes from many of us.
    -----------------------------
    Tournament Results
    Look, we have learned long ago that when it comes to fishing a tournament on Barnett, especially this time of the year, we are fishing for second place. Yep, you guessed it, Rabbit and Jane Rogers walked away with it. No contest, besting the other 41 teams handily.

    I don't remember the weight. It was a foregone conclusion before the scales ever got set up. I think the Rogers' best 7 weighed right at 14 pounds. Congratulations to Jane and Rabbit on your tournament win and on your 1st place Overall Points position for the 08/09 season.

    Gil Woodis and I were just trying to hold on to 4th place overall for the year. We had a couple of teams within striking distance and both the 5th and 6th place teams had vowed earlier in the week and at the blast-off that Gil and I were 'done'.

    Sorry, Jim & Tommy and Brad & Chris. You boys just didn't get 'er done yesterday. See you at the State Championship next month. You were good, just not good enough.

    Now, just a heads up, Jim & Tommy. Gil has already warned me not to help you fellers this time around. Says he's tired of my showing you boys where to fish and what to fish with and then getting our butts whipped by you on these two Delta Diamonds. Look, I'll pal around with you off the lake. We'll cook liver and onions, drink a few cold ones, swap lies, etc. But, I just can't 'show you the way' once we get serious on the lake.
    --------------------
    Up Next
    The Magnolia State Crappie Tournament will be held June 19-20 in Washington County. This 2-day event is MCC's big hoo-rah, end-of-the-year event. Our teams have to qualify to get into this State Championship, by participating in 7 of our 9 regular events.

    There will be 38 or so teams headed to Lakes Washington and Ferguson to battle current reigning State Champs, Bobby Clark, Newton, MS and Doug Hollingsworth, Decatur, MS. Click on photo to enlarge.

    It'll be interesting--Ferguson, especially. As you know, the Mississippi is very high at the moment. Personally, I think that's great. Similar to golf, the high water changes the course a little from previous plays up there. Makes you re-think your normal patterns and learn new ones.

    The Magnolia Crappie Club is a good bunch of folks. Contact President Brad Taylor, 662-820-4581, for more info on the best crappie fishing club in the country.

    Great year, guys, great year!!! Ton of fun!

    May 31, 2009 at 6:53am

    Hammer-time, I mean Striper-time is here!

    Actually, it is hammer time. If you had been with me Saturday at Ross Barnett Reservoir getting hammered by some stripes 'as big as they grow' you'd agree. Man, did I have a great half day down on the main lake below Fannin Landing on the same humps and edges we find them on every year beginning about now.

    The biggest one I caught was a beautiful sea-run measuring over 30 inches--I'm guessing about 11 pounds or so.

    The legal limit on these is 6 (regardless whether they're hybrids or sea-runs--you can only take 6 total and they must be 15 inches or longer per angler per day). Now, I probably caught 20 to 25 or so, but I only kept 6.

    I kept these for 2 reasons. One, they were really hammering my crankbaits, deep-throating one right after another, and I kept the 'wounded' ones.

    And, two, I kept these because I finally learned how to marinade these huge slabs and then cook on my smoker, and they're great! See my recipe below.

    My arms and hands are sore this morning, and that's a good thing. My string got stretched so many times yesterday morning by some huge hybrids and sea-runs.

    Hammer time, bay-bee, hammer time!

    -----------------------
    Smoked Striper
    Now I'll be the first to admit that I am no cook. Just ask my buds in the Magnolia Crappie Club. They can verify this. But, after many failed attempts, I finally learned how to cook striped bass on my slow cooker, and it ain't half bad, y'all.

    1--Catch the fish. (Well some one has to.)
    2--Ice 'em down. That's right, before you fillet them, ice them down overnight or at least for a few hours.
    3--Simply fillet the sides off the backbone, leaving skin and scales on. You'll have two huge hunks of meat 'on the half shell' if you can catch them as big as I do.
    4--Wash these in cold water.
    5--In a gallon size zip-lock, marinade these over night. I have two marinades that I like.
    A--Some cheap-ass brand of I-talian dressing. Don't waste the good stuff on this. Any oil and vinegar with some spices thrown in works good.
    or
    B--Mix soy sauce and balsamic vinegar together in equal parts. Throw in lots of course ground black pepper.
    6--I cook mine on my Big Green Egg at very low heat using pecan wood chips.

    Helpful Hint--On the grill lay an oversize piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on which your fillets will cook. Cook them skin side down and do not turn or flip. Cook slowly, testing for doneness after 15 minutes or so.
    When they're done, I use a large spatula or hamburger flipper to 'scoop' the meat from the skin.

    The trick here is to do this carefully, leaving all the scales and skin behind on the foil. What you end up with is a platter full of moist, tasty smoked fish that is great mixed in salads, or on a cracker with some cocktail sauce, or on a cracker with lots of beer, or with just lots of beer. Hey, it started out healthy-sounding enough.

    Try it, you might like it.

    Neatest thing is the grill clean up. It's a snap. Just gather up the foil along with the skin and scales in one non-messy move.

    May 11, 2009 at 7:16am

    It's Striper Time
    Hammer-time, I mean Striper-time is here!

    Actually, it is hammer time. If you had been with me yesterday at Ross Barnett Reservoir getting hammered by some stripes 'as big as they grow' you'd agree. Man, did I have a great half day down on the main lake below Fannin Landing on the same humps and edges we find them on every year beginning about now.

    The biggest one I caught was a beautiful sea-run measuring over 30 inches--I'm guessing about 11 pounds or so.

    The legal limit on these is 6 (regardless whether they're hybrids or sea-runs--you can only take 6 total and they must be 15 inches or longer per angler per day). Now, I probably caught 20 to 25 or so, but I only kept 6.

    I kept these for 2 reasons. One, they were really hammering my crankbaits, deep-throating one right after another, and I kept the 'wounded' ones.

    And, two, I kept these because I finally learned how to marinade these huge slabs and then cook on my smoker, and they're great! See my recipe below.

    My arms and hands are sore this morning, and that's a good thing. My string got stretched so many times yesterday morning by some huge hybrids and sea-runs.

    Hammer time, bay-bee, hammer time!

    -----------------------
    Smoked Striper
    Now I'll be the first to admit that I am no cook. Just ask my buds in the Magnolia Crappie Club. They can verify this. But, after many failed attempts, I finally learned how to cook striped bass on my slow cooker, and it ain't half bad, y'all.

    1--Catch the fish. (Well some one has to.)
    2--Ice 'em down. That's right, before you fillet them, ice them down overnight or at least for a few hours.
    3--Simply fillet the sides off the backbone, leaving skin and scales on. You'll have two huge hunks of meat 'on the half shell' if you can catch them as big as I do.
    4--Wash these in cold water.
    5--In a gallon size zip-lock, marinade these over night. I have two marinades that I like.
    A--Some cheap-ass brand of I-talian dressing. Don't waste the good stuff on this. Any oil and vinegar with some spices thrown in works good.
    or
    B--Mix soy sauce and balsamic vinegar together in equal parts. Throw in lots of course ground black pepper.
    6--I cook mine on my Big Green Egg at very low heat using pecan wood chips.

    Helpful Hint--On the grill lay an oversize piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on which your fillets will cook. Cook them skin side down and do not turn or flip. Cook slowly, testing for doneness after 15 minutes or so.
    When they're done, I use a large spatula or hamburger flipper to 'scoop' the meat from the skin.

    The trick here is to do this carefully, leaving all the scales and skin behind on the foil. What you end up with is a platter full of moist, tasty smoked fish that is great mixed in salads, or on a cracker with some cocktail sauce, or on a cracker with lots of beer, or with just lots of beer. Hey, it started out healthy-sounding enough.

    Try it, you might like it.

    Neatest thing is the grill clean up. It's a snap. Just gather up the foil along with the skin and scales in one non-messy move.

    May 11, 2009 at 7:11am

    Jim McKay and Tommy Moss, Brandon, MS, won the Wolf Lake crappie tournament staged by the Magnolia Crappie Club yesterday with their best 7 weighing 10.44 pounds.

    Only a breath away, Pat Jeffcoats and Don Shannon of Brandon registered 10.40 pounds on the scales.

    Moss explained that Jim caught the Big Mama of the day in less than a foot of water while jig fishing. A huge Wolf Lake female weighing in at 2.38 pounds was the kicker for them.

    Tournament conditions were mild, breezy weather conditions and the lake was as muddy as it ever gets. Wolf Lake fish, although looking like they are spawned out, were still holding very shallow and tight to structure. Overall, it appeared that teams who jig fished turned in better weights than those who trolled or minnow fished.

    In all, the Magnolia Crappie Club had 38 teams entered and practically all caught fish. Gil Woodis and I placed 6th and our fish came on a combination of trolling and jig fishing. We spent the day with our noses in the wind and we had agreed that which ever one of us was closest to the bank would jig fish what he could reach while the other ran the trolling poles.

    Because of the direction of the wind Gil's side of the boat always seemed to be closest to the bank. So, Poor Ole Gil drew the task of holding onto that 14 foot jig pole while I ran the trolling poles. Trust me, a 14 foot jig pole will wear your butt out because you're under lots of low overhanging climbs and extended toward the bank while looking over your shoulder for that next tree snake.

    Don't know how or why, but for some reason we just always seemed to end up on a bank, headed into the wind, which put Gil's side of the boat under the trees. He did good, catching some of our best keepers up under the low cypress limbs.

    MCC has one regular tournament--Barnett, May30-- left on its 08/09 Tournament Schedule followed by its Magnolia State Championship event.

    The big 2-day event will be held June 19 & 20 on Lake Washington, Day 1, and Lake Ferguson, Day 2. For more info on MCC contact Brad Taylor, 662-820-4581.

    May 03, 2009 at 8:50am

    The Magnolia Crappie Club held its 7th tournament of its 08/09 season on Grenada April 4th. Much anticipation was dashed by fast moving weather fronts and lots of rain just a couple of days before this tournament. Local reports of really big slabs had MCC competitors chomping at the bit to get to Grenada.
    T-Day was tough for many of the 34 teams, with bites of any kind hard to come by. Just catching a fish, any fish was tough for several teams.

    Still, the Top 5 teams all managed a real good 7 fish weigh-in limit of over 13 pounds. A good weight for 7 crappie on any lake. Oddly, most of the fish weighed in were males. And, males averaging nearly 2 pounds each are as big as they grow, and a lot of fun to catch.

    I couldn't decide if the spawn was mostly over or just beginning. I'm guessing that like a lot of big lakes, some of the fish had already spawned in some places. I know the waders had been having lots of success for 2 weeks before we got there.

    I questioned whether the spawn was really over because Gil & I (3rd place) weighed 6 big males and 1 female, and the males had not colored up, nor did their tails look like they'd been on the bed for long.
    Congratulations to tournament winners John Harrison, Calhoun City, and sub partner, Charles Kent, Baldwyn, who turned in the best 7 weighing 13.40 pounds.

    It was close with 2nd place team, Jim McKay and Tommy Moss, Brandon (13.22) and Paul Johnson and Gil Woodis, Brandon (13.21) turning in very good weights as well.
    4th place went to Bo Hudson and Brad Chappell, Ridgeland (13.04). 5th place belonged to Larry Nipper and Ken Middleton, Glen Allen (13.01).

    The Corps of Engineers used a catch and release tank fo the first time, and Corps officials said they were well pleased with the live return rate estimated at 80 % or better

    April 06, 2009 at 6:04am

    Mike McMurtrey and Paul Johnson show off some Big Bad Barnett crappie caught this past Saturday. These two veteran local tournament fishermen have teamed up for the first time to compete this coming weekend in the Crappiemasters event on Barnett Reservoir.

    Mike and Paul's best 7 this past Saturday weighed over 17 pounds.

    Now, if we can only duplicate this next Saturday...

    March 23, 2009 at 5:13am

    On what appeared to be a miserable weather day, the Magnolia Crappie Club folks nearly set a tournament record. We proved, once again, that Ross Barnett Reservoir is absolutely one of the very best crappie lakes in the entire country.

    Get this, folks, and you do remember the weather conditions, right? The winning string (best 7) weighed in at 16.18 pounds. That's a 2.31 pound average, and that's right up there with our club record of a winning weight averaging just over 2.5 pounds set a few years ago on Grenada.

    Club records are still best string (10 fish) @ 25.96 pounds, Buck & Lefty Thomas, Franklinton, LA. And, yours truly still holds the club record Big Mama @ 3.41 pounds. Both these club records were set on the same day on a Grenada tournament in March 04.

    Well, Kent Driscoll, Cordova, TN, fishing with a last minute sub took us to school Saturday. Kent & partner weighed 16.18 pounds and weighed the tournament's only over 3 pound perch @ 3.08.

    MCC had 38 teams--that's 76 crazy people -- sign up for the tournament in the middle of the worst weather we've had in some time. At breakfast at the Waffle House with the rain coming down in buckets, I predicted to club VP Shelton Culpepper that our turnout would be down--way down.

    Boy, was I wrong, again. We even had 2 or 3 new teams sign up in the middle of the rain storm. Good turnout at the weigh in, too, with a lot of interested on-lookers showing up to see the giant crappie.

    I've been competing in these events --about 10 or 12 a year-- for 17 years, and this was one of the very best tournaments ever--any where, any time--for lots of really big slabs. Great fishing for all the competitors. To illustrate, it took over 13 pounds (7 fish) to get into the money--that's the Top 15 teams!!! Man, I mean this was a real shoot out.

    As Tommy Moss, Brandon, MS, put it, 'Jim and I were proud of our catch--until we came to the scales. Our little ole 2 pound average just didn't matter, did it? And, besides, we really caught ours by accident. We'd only caught 3 little fish out on the main river ledge, and out of desperation and boredom we kicked up the trolling motor with our baits out to move into the Welfare Hole. And, bam, when we trolled through there, the 2 pounders were knocking the poles out of our hands. Boy, am I glad my partner, Big Jim McKay, decided to make that move.' Jim said, 'We were kind of long-lining, only with short string.'

    Pictures--
    1st place, Kent Driscoll, 7 fish, 16.08 pounds
    2nd place, Jimmy Smith/A.E. Smith, 7 fish, 15.44 pounds
    4th place, Jason & Bull Eichwurtzle, 7 fish, 14.90 pounds

    March 17, 2009 at 3:09am
    User has no comments at this time.
    User has no ads at this time.