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A Shot in the Dark at Reelfoot

June 14, 2019
By

BY Chris Erwin

The first sunset shot as the men bring the fish into the boat, Jo Hamilton and Montana Powell Bowfishing Guides on Reelfoot Lake photo by Chris Erwin.


Note to readers: This is the third of a three-part series on the sights and sounds of Reelfoot Lake featuring Blue Bank Resort.

We were sitting at the dinner table in the restaurant at the Blue Bank Resort Lodge when two guys came over and started talking to Soc Clay and me about going out with them, as they planned to bowfish and shoot some fish ( Carp) from a specially designed bowfishig boat.
We looked out the window of the restaurant, the sky was turning red as the sun sank towards the horizon. Soc said, “you want to do this”? I thought about it for a second and said, why not, let’s do it.

The two guys were Blue Bank dock workers they had been helping us as we came in from fishing each day. Jo Hamilton the 3rd, age 24, also doubles as a bowfishing and duck hunting guide. His partner on the bowfishing trip was Montana Powell, age 25 when Montana isn’t working for Blue Bank Resort he attends a school where he is taking welding.
Since the idea of this trip for Clay and I, is to try and get a silhouette shot against the setting sun. We didn’t make it easy for these guys to find the fish that was going to be big enough to make that shot come to life.

Jo Hamilton Bowfishing and Duck hunting guide draws his bow as he spots a huge Grass Carp, Hamiliton and Montana Powell tries to bag a fish for our night time sunset silhouette photo. ( photo by Chris Erwin)


Jo and Montana cruised along the weed beds, at this point, it was still daylight. Once, or twice, Jo would draw his bow. We were in a different boat trying to get into position to take advantage of both the guys bowfishing and the setting sun.
Our boat was piloted by Ian Hurst Hornbeak age 17 he did a great job under harsh conditions. Jo cut loose with the first shot he hit a nice garfish but not quite what we are looking for. The sun is low in the sky now, and the guys need to turn on the lights to see into the shallow water of Reelfoot Lake.
The lights are blinding to our cameras. We know if they get a fish, we will want the lights to be turned off to get any kind of shot. Jo draws his bow and holds the shot for what seemed like forever, he lets it fly, you could hear the smack as the arrow hit home this was a carp but still short of the fish we are looking to see in that silhouette photo.
The red sky is burning the sunset, I take a few shots just to capture the fiery end to the day, about that time I see them both go on point looking and talking just out of my hearing range. Jo draws his bow again. I could tell they were getting excited, Ian moves our boat to get us in position. I could hear the arrow as it left the bow, and at the same time, the water explodes both guys are trying to wrangle the fish to the boat. I can see the water boiling as they try to get the fish close enough to get a hand on it. Its tail flips out of the water next to the side of the boat it’s enormous!

Hamilton and Powell holds the 50 lb Grass Carp against the firey Reelfoot sky as we take our last photos. ( Photo by Chris Erwin)


After a few more minutes the fish comes over the side of the boat, we move our boat, so the last of the burning red sunset is directly behind them, and we start taking pictures. The fish weight 50 pounds it was a grass carp shot straight through the middle.

The next day we would be on the road coming back home. This resort is a bucket list destination for anyone that loves the outdoors. I’ve never met any friendlier people, all devoted to making your visit one you will remember. If you would like to contact Blue Bank Resort, you can call 1-877-258-3226 or visit www.bluebankresort.com. Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an online magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

This was my first shot against the burning sky to test my camera it was not included in the column for the paper but I want to display it here (photo by Chris Erwin)

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