Josh Gowan: Kentucky Lake, TN
Well, my rampant abroad-ness has been continued yet another week, and so brings another action-packed adventure from just outside the Heartland, kind of.
I spent the last three days on the “big water”, which of course is Kentucky Lake. Stretching 184 miles and covering 160,000 acres, Kentucky Lake is the largest manmade lake in the Eastern United States. The Tennessee River runs through the lake and is controlled at the 1-mile-long Kentucky Dam.
Oddly enough, I had never fished the lake before Thursday, but when something else fell through and I had the chance to go fish the Crappie Master’s Tennessee State Championship, I called up my old fishing buddy/stepdad Perry Jackson and made plans in a hurry! Chippy was covered up at work, and I had an ulterior motive in both going to the lake and inviting Perry.
This year’s Crappie Master’s National Championship will be held at Kentucky Lake, and I needed to familiarize myself with at least some of the lake, AND Perry has fished there quite a bit and has a ton of waypoints and knows his way around. So although the two-day tourney started on Friday and we weren’t leaving until Thursday morning, I still felt like we could make a good showing.
Thursday afternoon the wind was blowing around 30 mph and I was able to put my 18-foot Lowe to the test in some serious whitecaps! Although we both got pretty wet, my aluminum, burgundy tank had no issues on the big water. We quickly located some of Perry’s GPS spots and caught a few fish, and were optimistic about the morning.
The “Host Hotel” for the event was the Quality Inn in Paris, Tennessee, and we were both pleasantly surprised at our accommodations for the weekend. I always take care of the lodging, and my track record is suspect at times, and Perry questioned me more than once about the hotel. I really had no idea how it would be, but as soon as we pulled up there was huge banner hanging outside that read “Platinum Award Winner”, and although I had no idea what that meant, it had to be a good sign, right?!
The room was above and beyond my expectations of even a high-end hotel, and the Quality Inn starts at $85 per night! Aside from a double vanity, walk-in shower, oversized bath tub, and all the other comforts of home, there were multiple covered areas outside with picnic benches and tables and chairs to just hang out and enjoy the weather, and the free breakfast was phenomenal! Now you may be wondering why I would dote on this particular hotel so much, so I’ll tell you, the Quality Inn is American owned and operated, the GM Robin Whitt and her staff are proud of their hotel and it shows in every detail, and here’s what really sold me, fishermen and hunters ALWAYS get the corporate rate, (which is $77 per night) all you have to do is let them know! That’s just awesome, and that banner about the Platinum Award, that was for being voted in the top 3% of hotels!
Now unfortunately the fishing was not quite as “beyond my expectations,” but that was mostly due to an unfortunate incident early Friday morning that resulted in frying Perry’s depthfinder (losing all 600 waypoints) and leaving us to fish blind. Fortunately Perry remembered the general area of some of the spots in the creek we decided to fish, and we were able to use my Humminbird to locate some stake beds where we subsequently threw buoys and backed away and casted to the fish.
This particular style of fishing is not something I’ve done much of, and detecting extremely light bites on a 2-inch float from 20-30 feet away was nearly impossible for my eyes, but Perry was zoned in and caught most of the fish we weighed the first day. The second day was a little better being that we marked multiple spots the day before, and while we still were no threat to the top ten, we improved 1.5-pounds from the first day and had a blast doing it!