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Space prevented us from publishing all of Tom Waynick’s outdoors column in our print edition. So here’s a special treat for our Waynick fans: Tom’s whole column free, online.
The warm weather we enjoyed a few days ago had area lakes abuzz with action. Typical for early spring, fish are in the mood to move shallow in preparation for the upcoming spawn. On warm days they will move much shallower than you may realize even when water temperatures remain cold to us.
Let’s face it: it just doesn’t get any better than having fish on the bank, ready to eat anything they see and in large numbers. This is when some people may be tempted to keep more fish than creel limits allow. Recently a group of anglers were caught with an unbelievable catch and ended up with a face-to-face meeting with officers from the TWRA.
It isn’t uncommon for officers to issue citations for keeping more then the allowed limit. Usually these infractions involve just a few fish. This past week four men were charged with possession of 90 fish over the limit. “That was 90 fish over and above the limit for each of them,” noted arresting wildlife officer Brad Bagwell. “The most they could have had in their total possession was 60 or 15 white bass per person, but they had a total of 420 when they finally quit fishing.”
This is the time of year when white bass, sometimes known as stripe, prepare to spawn and school in rivers where eddying current creates ideal habitat for them. Experienced anglers take advantage of this late winter run in the tailwaters below dams.
“Part of the idea of establishing creel limits is to help spread out the amount of fish available to everyone,” noted Bagwell. “This was a lot of white bass that could have been enjoyed by others whether as table fare or just to catch and release.”
The four men, all from Nashville, are set to appear in Cheatham County General Session Court April 24 for a preliminary hearing. Khamnovan Keomanychanh, 60, Kongkham Phenevongsa, 68, So Akhom, 70, and Phay Souksavong, 78, will each face charges of exceeding the daily creel limit six times.
“When I saw how many fish there were, I had the four suspects help separate them into piles of 10 fish each,” said Bagwell. “When we got all them separated there were 42 piles, and that came out to 90 fish over the limit per man.”
Bagwell and assisting officers Major Cape Taylor and wildlife officer Eric Tummins confiscated ten fishing rods and reels and the 360 white bass in excess of the legal limit as evidence.
“Sometimes we have problems with people illegally netting game fish. Bagwell said. But every one of these white bass was caught during the day with rod, reels, and artificial tackle.”