John's Journal...

Guide Jackie Wayne VanCleave on Summertime Fishing

Day 2: Don’t Buy Catfish for a Summer Fish Fry – Catch Them with Jackie Wayne VanCleave

Editor’s Note: School is out, you’re at the lake, the weather is hot, and fishing is no good – or is it? You can have some of the best fishing of the year for you and your family, if you follow the advice of a 40-year veteran fishing guide and tournament crappie fisherman, Jackie Wayne VanCleave (731-538-2547 or 731-431-9700) of Samburg, Tennessee.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewDuring the hot summer months, many families like to catch catfish. Catfish will stretch your strings, bend your rods and make your drags squeal. When you take catfish home, you’ll enjoy those fine fillets for a Friday-night fish fry. We rod-and-reel fish for catfish here on Reelfoot Lake (, 1-877-258-3226). On the best day I’ve ever had, we caught 50 catfish in 5 hours on rods and reels. These primarily channel cats weighed 2- to 6-pounds each. During the day the catfish are looking for cool shady places where they can hide and ambush baits. So, we always search for underwater logs, trees visible on the surface or trees growing out in the water. We use B’n’M ( catfish rods and 15-pound-test line. I put a 3/4-ounce weight below the hook to make sure the weight sits on the bottom, and the hook and bait are a foot off the bottom. Occasionally I put two hooks on the line.

We use many-different baits to catch cats. I like Strike King’s Catfish Dynamite ( in different flavors, as well as deer meat, hot dogs, Catalpa worms, night crawlers and red worms. My favorite is the Strike King catfish bait, because it’s convenient and easy to use. We can’t guarantee how many cats we’ll catch in 4 or 5 hours of fishing, but we generally we catch plenty.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewCatfish are pretty much a sure bet here on Reelfoot. We may catch 10 or as many as 50, depending on the skill of the angler, and where the catfish are feeding. When you have a family fishing for catfish, everyone has a good time. Granddads bring their grandchildren, single parents bring their kids, and sometimes we have moms and dads and three kids catching cats all at one time. They’ll all have a lot of fun and catch a lot of fish.

To get “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” “For Hot-Weather Fishing Success, Head to Reelfoot,” “Reelfoot Lake: How to Fish for Crappie, Bass, Bluegills and Catfish and Hunt for Ducks,”click on the title or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: A Reelfoot Lake Summertime Party Where Bluegills Show Up with Jackie Wayne Vancleave

Check back each day this week for more about "Guide Jackie Wayne VanCleave on Summertime Fishing"

Day 1: Creating a Summertime Family Fishing Trip of a Lifetime
Day 2: Don’t Buy Catfish for a Summer Fish Fry – Catch Them with Jackie Wayne VanCleave
Day 3: A Reelfoot Lake Summertime Party Where Bluegills Show Up with Jackie Wayne VanCleave
Day 4: “Bass Fishing on Reelfoot Lake with Jackie Wayne VanCleave in the Summer”
Day 5: Many Anglers Tell Jackie Wayne VanCleave They Wish They Had His Job

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Entry 724, Day 2