A recent trip to Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee found Linda Powell of Mossberg, myself, and a handful of other outdoor media members setting out in search of ducks on the legendary lake. Reelfoot Lake is a truly special place. Its uniqueness comes from the fact that its shallow base came as a result of a major earthquake many years ago that created the shallow depression known as the “quake lake.”
The quake lake is an experience you really ought to have on your bucket list
Aside from her marketing duties at Mossberg, Linda Powell is also one of the newest members of the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. Founder, Garry Mason, gathered Powell, Ray Eye, and several other Hall of Fame affiliates to take part in a duck hunting camp at Reelfoot Lake to put the Mossberg 930 Pro-Series to the test while hunting with Billy Blakely and the crew at the famous Blue Bank Resort.
Linda Powell of Mossberg with a few Reelfoot Lake mallards
The evening before our first hunt, we gathered in Blue Bank’s restaurant that overlooks the lake. We were treated to appetizers and the finest “country boy” dinner you could possibly imagine. Fried catfish, chicken, ham and everything in between. We ate more than our fair share before going over the game plan for the first morning’s hunt. With bellies full and an early morning start ahead, most of the crew headed to bed early with great anticipation of what was to come at daybreak.
The crew gathers for dinner at Blue Bank Resort
First Morning Hunt
The alarm clock seemed to come much too quickly on the first morning of our hunt. Breakfast in the restaurant would start at 4:00am. The cooks at Blue Bank are second to none. They do an incredible job of starting and ending your day with a feast. After breakfast and coffee in the restaurant, we gathered gear and headed to the boat ramp to make the trip out to the duck blind.
A quick breakfast before heading out for the day
The weather forecast had been calling for rain all morning on the first day of our hunt and like clockwork, it began to come down right as we launched our boats across the lake. A trip across Reelfoot Lake in the dark is an adventure every duck hunter should experience. The expert guides methodically navigate their way in and around trees, stumps and other hazards that would wreak havoc on anyone that is not highly skilled in the ways of Reelfoot Lake.
The guides at Reelfoot are a lot of fun
After a rainy boat ride out to the blind, we began unloading gear and guns into the blind and started getting things set up and prepared for the fast-approaching start of shooting time. With the rain coming down, we gathered in the dining and kitchen area of the blind for a prayer for safety and success before stepping onto the shooting deck.
Hunters gather in the kitchen area before shooting time
Despite the weather, the ducks were on the move right from the start. Shortly after shooting time, a big wad of greenwing teal made a flyby over the decoys. The crew was ready when the birds made a second pass. The Mossberg 930’s spitfire in the early morning light as we unloaded on the flock. None made it out. It was a great way to break in some fresh guns on day 1 of the hunt.
It didn’t take long for the stringer to begin to fill up
We did the best we could to battle the elements with camera gear and guns in the rain. Hunting legend, Ray Eye, even put a leopard print umbrella to work to keep his camera high and dry.
Ray Eye – The man, the myth, the legend
Despite the weather, the ducks did their part to keep things lively. The action was steady with ducks coming to our decoys throughout the morning. Mallards and teal seemed to make up the bulk of the action, although we did have a gadwall or two mixed in from time to time.
As lunchtime came on, Garry Mason greeted the team in the kitchen area with prime rib fit for a king. Once again, we ate ‘til we hurt and then sat back and reflected back over the morning’s activity.
Head guide, Billy Blakely, dishes out the meat in the duck blind
Some hunters returned to their post on the shooting deck while others got comfortable in the warm kitchen area and settled in for a nap. As the afternoon wore on, the duck stringer began to sag with all the ducks from our day. We ended up with 39 ducks before the afternoon shooting time brought things to a close.
We loaded our gear and ducks back into the boat as everyone piled in for the 10-minute commute back to shore. We were tired and wet, but you couldn’t wipe the smiles off the faces of our group as we talked about the hunt on the way back to the bank.
Loaded up and ready to head to shore
After getting cleaned up and back into some dry clothes, we made the short walk back over to the restaurant for dinner. Blue Bank Resort resembles somewhat of a Christmas village in the month of December with some 200,000 lights and displays throughout the property. I found myself making plans to bring my wife and kids back over for a return trip to enjoy everything Blue Bank has to offer at this time of year.
Blue Bank Resort is a special place, especially during duck season and Christmas
Dinner proved to be another feast as the Blue Bank staff served steaks that were bigger than half the crew could handle. You won’t go hungry – or lose weight – while spending a few days at Blue Bank Resort, I promise.
Day 2 brought less rain, but the fog rolled in and made things tough. Low hanging fog meant we couldn’t see the ducks, and the ducks couldn’t see our decoys. We did manage to shoot a few ducks when the weather would break or the fog would temporarily lift. However, for the most part, the action proved to be much slower than the previous day. We killed 10 ducks before taking a break for lunch to eat a big bowl of duck gumbo.
Slowly but surely we were finding success on Day 2
The action never picked up after lunch, and with another round of thunderstorms closing in on the radar, we made plans to call it quits and get back to shore before the weather turned ugly. We gathered our gear and head back to the lodge.
It had been a great hunt. It was great to hang out with old friends, as well as make some new ones along the way. We put the Mossberg 930’s to the test and they performed flawlessly in some of the nastiest weather we’ve had yet this season.
If you ever get the chance to make the trip to West Tennessee to hunt ducks, be sure to give the guys at Blue Bank Resort a look. They run a top-notch crew and the experience is one you won’t soon forget.
The Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl gun performed flawlessly despite the nasty conditions
Also, be sure to check out the Mossberg 930 Pro-Series Waterfowl shotgun. These Pro-Series shotguns were designed with field-proven parts and finishes, like boron nitride to ensure peak performance from your gun, no matter what the elements throw your way. They feature a stainless steel recoil spring to stand up to the rigors of the season, particularly during long, wet seasons in the blind. Other features include an engraved receiver, fiber optic front sight, 3 choke tube set, Stock Drop System that provides drop-at-comb adjustment shims for a customizable fit, and Mossy Oak Shadowgrass Blades camo.