John's Journal...


Busting Bass on Reelfoot

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Billy Blakely of Tiptonville, Tennessee, manages Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake and also chief fishing guide there. Each day Blakely and the other guides who work with him on Reelfoot Lake take clients out fishing for bluegills, crappie, catfish and bass. “We have to depend on the fishing line we use to help us be successful and to help our clients to catch fish,” Blakely explains. “That’s the reason we’ve all changed over to Mossy Oak Fishing Line. We know that when a fish takes the bait we can depend on the Mossy Oak Line to put that fish in the boat.” This week Blakely will tell us how he and the other guides at Blue Bank produce large numbers of fish each day throughout the spring and summer. You may not believe the catch numbers that Blakely reports, but if you doubt that he and his other guides can produce as many fish in a day as they say.

Click to enlargeWe catch quite a few bass during May and June here at Reelfoot Lake. You can fish almost any way you prefer to fish to catch these bass. When I’m fishing crankbaits and spinner baits, I’ll use 12-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. If I’m fishing soft-plastic tubes and worms, I’ll have 15-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line on my reel. On my flipping stick that I use to fish jigs, I’ll use 20-pound-test fishing line. At this time of the year, the bass seem to be biting best on spinner baits and crankbaits. I like the Strike King Bleeding Series of spinner baits in the chartreuse-and-white color and the 4S Strike King crankbait in the shad color with a black back and a white body. The trick to making the bass bite is to reel those baits as fast as you can by the lily pads. The bass really like a fast-moving bait at this time of the year, and they’re willing to chase a bait. So, the faster you can swim those crankbaits and spinner baits, the better chance you’ll have to catch bass. The secret to catching bass at this time of the year at Reelfoot is to ride around and look at the edges of the lily pads before you start fishing. When you spot schools of shad there, start casting your crankbaits and spinner baits. The bass will be there.

Another tactic that produces bass at this time of the year is to flip Strike King’s tubes and jigs around the base of the standing timber. When I’m flipping the Strike King Denny Brauer jig around the base of these trees, I’m using 20-pound-test fishing line. The Strike King jig is a big-bass bait. When I’m fishing with a 7-foot flipping stick, I want the power Click to enlargethat’s built in to 20-pound-test fishing line to help me get those big bass out of those trees and limbs. We’re flipping a lot of really-heavy cover here at Blue Bank, and you’ve got to not only have a strong line but also an abrasion-resistant line to fish productively. If you don’t have the strength and the abrasion-resistance in the line that you need, you can flip all day and get plenty of bites. But you won’t catch any bass, if you don’t fish with line with those properties to get the bass out of the stumps and logs. Something else that works to produce bass when you’re flipping is to flip Strike King tubes around and in the holes in the grass that’s so widespread here at Reelfoot Lake.

My living depends on my ability to help my anglers catch fish. I started fishing Mossy Oak Fishing Line when it first came out about three months ago. I believe in it so much that I now have it strung on every pole and rod that I fish. Since the line has produced so well for me and my clients, Jackie Wayne Van Cleave and Mark Pierce, two of the other guides here at Blue Bank Resort, they’ve also changed out the line on all their rods and poles and now are fishing Mossy oak Fishing Line exclusively. This Click to enlargefishing line is better than any other monofilament we’ve ever fished. Remember, when you’re fishing, there’s only one thing between you and the fish that’s on the hook – the line. If that line’s not any good, then you ain’t no good. So, we put quality fishing line on all our reels and poles.

To learn more about Blue Bank Resort, go to or call
1-877-258-3226. Blue Bank has a motel, restaurant, guide service, rental boats, motors, fishing tackle and a bait shop. You also can visit to learn about the company’s baits for catfish. For more information about Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to To learn more about Yo-Yos, go to or contact Mechanical Fisher Division, P.O. Box 1170, Diamond City, Arkansas 72630, (870) 422-7715.

Check back each day this week for more about WHEN LINE COUNTS

Day 1: How Blakely Catches Bream la
Day 2: Come Catch Some Catfish
Day 3: Nighttime Fishing for Cats
Day 4: Year-Round Crappie
Day 5: Busting Bass on Reelfoot



Entry 300, Day 5