Today is Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Compilation: luck or skill?

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My first smallmouth of the year wanted a GitZit on the third cast I made on Percy Priest.

Story I heard, is this: James Jordan was walking down a railroad track in Wisconsin. It was in 1914. He saw a big deer, shot it. He had never seen it before. It was later proclaimed, the world record whitetail.

Many years later, 2014, I think, guy named Hansen is on a deer drive up in Saskatchewan. Sees a big buck running by him and shoots him. New world record.

In 1965, Mel Johnson leaves work, grabs his recurve bow and heads to a field outside Peoria, IL. Puts an arrow through the still standing, Pope and Young, world record. Had never seen the deer before.

November, 2017, young man, named Stephen Tucker, from over in Gallatin, killed a potential world record, non-typical deer in Sumner County.

Did he know the deer was there? Of course, everybody in the area knew about him. Tucker missed the buck in the morning, got a second chance, that afternoon and killed him.

Were these deer killed by luck or skill?

Take note: Just because a hunter kills a world record buck and gets miles of publicity, don't automatically assume that hunter is an expert.

The experts are the ones that kill big deer, every year or so. Maybe not world records but deer that score over 170". They are the experts and some of them do it on public land. A

ll of them have two important ingredients. They all have hunting skill, know the game and the land and they all have access to land that holds big deer.

And, most of them are bowhunters, at least some of the time. Just something to consider.

A Duke's Mixture
February 23, a warm and slightly breezy day. Mark "Big Bird" Campbell and I launch his immaculate, deep breather boat with $3,000 worth of television sets, securely bolted in the bow.

Being Percy Priest and early spring with 53 degree water, I tie a baby bass-colored, GitZit on four-pound line. Third cast, set the hook. Two-pound drum.

Later, down another bank, set the hook. 1.75-pound smallmouth. Still later, different bank. Set the hook. Perfect eating-size catfish, all on the GitZit.

Meanwhile, "The Bird" is flailing the water with a variety of jerkbaits. Finally, he sets the hook. Twelve inch largemouth.

Typical early spring day on Priest. Ten days too early. It should be perfect, right now.

Center Hill and Tax Day
For just about as long as I have been fishing Center Hill, I had April 15, circled on my calendar with the notation, 642. If the water was at that level, 642-ft. and over 50-degrees, I could catch smallmouth -- big smallmouth.

In 1999, Foster Butt and I boated 36 great smallmouth in an afternoon and a morning. It was April 16-17.

Then, they pulled the lake down to next to nothing so they could work on the dam. Fishing, for me, went down as fast as the water.

But this year, I'm kinda-sorta planning an overnight at Edgar Evins State Park and a grand assault on Center Hill.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Also in April, I'll heading out to Paris Landing State Park for the annual Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association, spring conference.

I'll be fishing with two of the state's top guides, Steve McAdams and Gary Mason.

I have enjoyed several outings with both of them and look forward to that. I should be able to bring you back a fresh report on the crappie and bass situation on Kentucky Lake.

And, maybe another award or two for the column and The Post.

Murder, is what it is
Know what they call a group of crows? A murder. Now a bunch of pigs is called a sounder. Mess of lions is a pride and a mess of tigers is an ambush. A whole lot of starlings is called a mumuratio.

My favorite is when you get a group of chimpanzees, or some kind of money animal. That is called a congress.

Now that makes sense and turkey season opens April 1 . . . April Fools Day.

Could it be more fitting?

Contact the author -- jsloan1944@gmail.com

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GitZit, John L. Sloan, Outdoors, Percy Priest, Sloan, smallmouth
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