Strike King Lure Co. hosts Outdoor Writers Conference at Kentucky Lake
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:01 pm
By: By Brent Callicott
This past week, Sunday through Wednesday, something special took place at the Paris Landing area on Kentucky Lake — the 2012 Annual Strike King Lure Company Outdoors’ Writers Conference.
I had the honor and privilege to attend both Sunday and Monday, taking photos, interviewing the best professional fishermen on the planet and making new friends while I was in attendance. I have had the opportunity over the past several years being invited to this event spending quality time and learning from the best. I have also had the honor of serving on Strike King Lure Company’s regional pro staff for at least 16 years now. They are a one of a kind great group of people who I love being associated with.
The headquarters for the conference was at the FishTale Lodge just down the road from Paris Landing State Park Marina on Highway 79.
Each year, Strike King brings together their national pro staff members both in bass and crappie as well as some of the best outdoor writers in the United States from many publications and media outlets. Many of the pros said they liked the area and wanted the conference to continue to be held in the Paris Landing area just simply because it was Kentucky Lake.
This event allows the writers themselves to get in the boat with one of the Strike King National Pro Staff members and see first-hand on the water what Strike King Lure Co. has to offer with their newest baits they have out on the market today.
Various writers, TV show hosts, fishing websites as well as others are able to get a inside look on how the Strike King baits perform and sometimes what the end result is, catching a fish. Many photos, videos and interviews, as well as a few old stories, are shared during this 31⁄2 day event, which usually started early in the morning and ended late in the afternoon. Not to mention all of the great food.
How did they choose with having their annual event on Kentucky Lake and the Paris Landing area? Location was one key. Centrally located in the middle of the United States and on one of the best lakes in the country has Mark Copley, Marketing/Public & Media Relations director for Strike King excited. Mark said the folks at the Paris/Henry County area Chamber of Commerce stepped up and pitched in to help in a big way which by doing this alone would be a very large undertaking for anyone to say the least.
Speaking of the Paris and the Paris Landing area, Copley went on to explain it goes beyond fishing. “This area has hiking, golf, boating, photographing nature as well as many other things that help in attracting all walks of life to the area,” he said. “Also, by having this in the fall, the trees are changing colors, which also adds to the photography backgrounds for the thousands of pictures and videos that are taken of the pros and the Strike King lures.”
Cooler weather also helps in more ways than one, which makes for the long work days more enjoyable.
Economically, it helps the area as well. Bringing attention to the area is a big deal. It gives anglers more insight to maybe tell their tournament trail directors that maybe Kentucky Lake is something that needs to be looked into on hosting more professional tournaments.
Copley also added, “this is a win/win situation for both the area around the lake and Strike King Lure Company.” They (Strike King) are looking for more time spent in the Paris/Henry County area in the years to come with their annual outdoor writers conference.
For several years, this event was held down at Reelfoot Lake. They enjoyed their time there but felt it was time for a change. This is the second year in a row to have the Paris Landing/Henry County area be the host spot.
This is a joint effort not only locally but it also bringing in sponsors who are on the same team as Strike King and they all work together. Many of the Strike King staff from its headquarters in Collierville make the trip north to the conference and put many hours in long before the event ever takes place. Preplanning starts just after the last one ends. Besides Copley, Strike King employee and longtime outdoorsman Tommy Akin, who is from the local area, helps get things together and coordinates the writers/pros schedule during each day events. Tommy has spent most of his life fishing Kentucky lake and hunting around the area. He agreed with Copley that Kentucky Lake is a great fit for everyone. Akin is also a former commissioner for the TWRA. Chrispin Powley, another Strike King employee, is also one who is from the Paris area and puts a lot of time in getting this event running and on the water.
This is a total team effort by all Strike King employees from the top down. The one thing about Strike King, it is made up of fishermen and fisherwomen. They all love the outdoors.
Wherever Strike King chooses to have their conference, now being at Kentucky Lake, it allows these writers to include that area itself into their stories and articles that are written and produced. Also, many of the anglers love fishing Kentucky Lake. It is voted as one of the best lakes in the country by many. Many of the national pro staff members both on bass and crappie have won major tournaments on this great body of water. This lake is fished by many who read this column weekly who are local folks around West Tennessee which is good for the economy also.
The Strike King National Pro Staff teams of both Bass and Crappie are as follows. Bass professionals: Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Shaw Grigsby, George Cochran, Mark Rose, Mark Menendez, Mark Davis, James Niggemeyer, Jonathon VanDam, Luke Estel, Roger Stegall, Clay Dyer, Debra Hengst, Andy Montgomery and Greg Hackney.
Crappie professional are Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall, Doug Cherry, Mark Williams, Tim Blac-kley and Jackie VanCleave.
This writers conference has been going on for many years and has grown from something small to something very large and well worth the time.
A big thank you from Strike King to the Paris/Henry County Chamber Of Commerce, Paris Landing State Park, FishTale Lodge and many others for allowing this event to take place and are looking forward to many more years to come.
In the weeks to come, look for me to share what I did at the writers conference. I was able to sit in a boat with Clay Dyer, a amazing person and fisherman you have to see to believe and a good friend of mine, just go to his website, www.claydyerfishing.com and see for yourself. I will also feature Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall, who is known as the best crappie man anywhere signs on with Strike King. I will touch more on the National Crappie pro staffs and how Strike King has gotten more into the Crappie fishing along with bass fishing.
The Obion County Cen-tral High School Bass Anglers will be sponsoring a Big Buck Contest Nov. 17. Final Flight Outfitters is also a sponsor of this event and where you will bring your bucks to check them in. Cost will be $25. There will be a rifle and free mount given away. For more information, call 885-2903. Be looking for posters and sign-up sheets placed around the area. You can also get a registration form at Union City Marine and Final Flight Outfitters.
Deer season is here. West Tennessee counties fall in two different Deer Region Units, A and L. Pay attention.
Obion, Weakley, Carroll, Gibson and Henry counties all fall under the Unit L region as well as a host of many other counties across West and Middle Tennessee. Crockett, Dyer, Lake, as well as a few other counties, fall under the Unit A Deer region from far West Tennessee.
Archery (which includes crossbows) for both units is Sept. 22 through Oct. 26. Then Oct. 29 - Nov. 2nd. muzzleloader (and archery season will then start Nov. 3-16. Gun (and muzzleloader and archery) season starts Nov. 17 through Jan. 6, 2013. Depending on the unit your hunting and county will depend on the harvest numbers. The Young Sportsman hunts will take place Oct. 27-28 and then again Jan. 12-13, 2013. This is for youths 6 to 16 years of age only. Each young sportsman must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device and who must also comply with fluorescent orange regulations, as specified for legal hunters.
Multiple youths may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult. Youths 10 years of age or older must meet Hunter Education requirements. You can visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org for more information.
The youth waterfowl season in the Statewide Zone and Reelfoot Zone will be split into two one-day hunts on consecutive Saturdays, rather than a Saturday-Sunday format. The dates in 2013 will be Feb. 2 and 9 for youth ages 6-15.
The other waterfowl seasons will reflect mostly calendar date changes from recent years. There will again be a 60-day season for 2012-13 duck hunting, with one split. The season will end Jan. 27, 2013 and a 6-duck bag limit.
The Statewide Zone duck hunting seasons to be held are Nov. 24-25 and Dec.1-Jan. 27 while the Reelfoot Zone dates are Nov. 10-11 and Dec. 1-Jan. 27. The seasons will maximize the number of weekends open to duck hunting and will end on the latest date allowed (the last Sunday in January).
The number of days allowed for Canada goose hunting seasons has been extended by six days in each of the zones. The daily bag limit for Canada goose has also increased to three from two in all zones.
A daily bag limit of 6 ducks may include no more than: 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be a hen), 3 wood ducks (during the late waterfowl season only), 4 scaup (an increase of 2 from last year), 2 pintails, 1 canvasback, and 1 black duck. The daily bag limit of merganser would be 5, only 2 which may be hooded mergansers.
Season dates for Canada geese are Oct. 13-Oct. 30, Nov. 24-25, and Dec. 1-Jan. 27, 2013 in the Statewide Zone. In the Northwest Zone, the dates are Oct. 13-16, Nov. 10-11, and Dec. 1-Feb. 10. The daily bag limit is 3 per person.
The white-fronted goose season runs statewide from Dec. 1-Feb. 10. The daily bag limit is 2 per person. Season dates and bag limits for light geese (snow, blue, Ross) are similar to last season with a shift for the calendar. The standard season will run from Nov. 24 through Feb. 10, 2013 (standard regulations apply). Federal Conservation Order provisions allow the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns for the Feb. 11 through March 10, 2013 portion of the season. The daily bag limit of light geese is 20 per person, per day during the conservation season.
It is getting closer, the Reelfoot “Love the Lake” Lakeshore Clean-Up is set for Nov. 17. This will take place starting at 9 a.m. that day. The Reelfoot Lake State Natural Area will be the focal point. For more information you can contact Robin Wooten with the Tennessee Natural Areas Program and state park rangers, Reelfoot Lake State Park. Reservations are required for this event and why I am including this in my column so early. Reservations may be made by calling (731) 253-9652 and for more information please email Robin.Wooten@tn.gov or David.Haggard@tn.gov.
Those who sign up will be ask to meet at the state park visitor center for a morning of lakeshore clean up by canoe. Bring a pair of work gloves if you have them. Boats, life jackets, canoes and paddles will be provided for this special opportunity to get close to the unique lake shore. Participants will paddle in the shallow water between cypress knees to remove unwanted debris. Snacks will be provided. Dress for the weather. Thank you for your support of Reelfoot Lake and Tennessee State Natural Areas. For more information, including descriptions, directions, and maps about this and other state natural areas visit the Division of Natural Areas web site at: www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/
Please continue to remember that we want you to contact us for sharing your photos, stories and outdoor calendar events. I can be reached either by calling 446-3678 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
Published in The Messenger 10.19.12