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Talkin’ bass and bowfishing

We’re coming off another great event at Zippo BASSfest at Kentucky Lake presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps in Paris, Tenn.

BASSfest is becoming an extremely popular event that adds excitement and intrigue for anglers and fans.

Congratulations to Edwin Evers for pulling out the win. He’s always done exceptionally well there and finished second to me the last time we fished there. This time, he won out and did it in style, catching big bass on three of the four competition days.

Kentucky Lake continues to amaze me as to what a great fishery it is for size and numbers of bass. Part of the reason for the bigger bass is due to Tennessee stocking Florida strain bass a few years ago on the south end of the lake. It’s paying off big dividends.

As good as the fishing is I’m still concerned about the influx of Asian carp into the Tennessee River system. I’ve seen thousands rollicking on the surface when I’m there during the fall for the Strike King Media Conference.

In fact, they were visible on the graph on the river ledges during the tournament, although a lot of anglers probably mistook them for bass. It’s difficult to tell the difference when you’re graphing offshore and see big wads of sizable fish.

I realize carp have been a problem for decades, but this exotic variety is spreading like wildfire and creating serious problems for the ecosystem. The food chain in a body of water can support only a few mouths, so when you have a lopsided population, there’s a serious chance that the exotics will impact the sportfish population over time.

Think of this way – if a farmer puts too many cows in a 10-acre pasture land, that land will quickly be overgrazed. The same thing happens with fish. Young Asian carp feed on the same microscopic zooplankton as little bass, crappie and catfish. As that lower end of the food chain diminishes, it hurts sport fish.

That’s why events like the Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Bowfishing tournament are important and growing in popularity.

My family has been staying at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my in-laws while the bow shooting event is gearing up. I’ll be helping out at registration at the Springfield store on Saturday.

Only carp and gar will be harvested and all the fish taken during the event will be processed into organic fertilizer and used on organic farms.

There will be 275 four-man teams competing on Ozark area lakes for cash and prizes this weekend. The contest is held in conjunction with the World Bowfishing Fair in Springfield.

I did a lot of bowfishing in my younger years and plan to take my sons out one night with one of the tournament organizers. We’re really looking forward to that, as my boys enjoy both fishing and bow hunting. Doing it on the water in a tricked out Tracker bowfishing boat will be a blast.

The sport has created a hot new segment to the fishing market including specialty boats and equipment for bowfishermen. It’s one of the fastest growing segments in the fishing industry.

And, as much fun as it is, the sport is benefitting the fishery by taking out rough fish that will make room for more sport fish that anglers can enjoy.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!