Gilliam-Ridley team finds Shoals success
(Article by Dennis Sherer - Times Daily -- Reprinted with Permission)

SHEFFIELD -- Gusty winds and clear water created tough fishing conditions for anglers competing in Saturday's Crappie USA fishing tournament on Pickwick and Wilson lakes.

Tim Gilliam and Lynn Ridley, however, found some big crappie and got them to bite. The McKenzie, Tenn., anglers weighed in 10 crappie that weighed 17.44 pounds to win the semi-pro division.

Their catch was anchored by a 2.25-pound white crappie, which was the big fish of the tournament.

Gilliam and Ridley, who won the Cabela's Crappie USA Classic on Pickwick and Wilson lakes in 2002, caught most of the fish Saturday around wood structure in water about 12 feet deep. They won $1,255.

"They were a little deeper than they were during practice Friday," Gilliam said. "They also changed a little in the color of bait they were wanting. On Friday, they were biting yellow-and-glow or chartreuse-and-glow jigs. (Today), they were wanting green-and-glow."

Gilliam and Ridley were using Southern Pro jigs rigged on orange Teaser brand jig heads.

"That orange head on the green-and-glow jig seemed to really be the key to catching them today," Ridley said.

Ridley declined to give specifics of where they were fishing, other than to say it was on the north end of Pickwick Lake.

The husband and wife team of Henry and Jo Haley, of Carbine, Ill., finished second with 10 fish weighing 16.31 pounds.

For the Haleys, it was their third consecutive second-place finish in a Crappie USA tournament on Pickwick and Wilson lakes.

Coming close to winning once again did not bother Jo Haley.

"Hey, to finish second to those guys is great," she siad.

The Illinois couple fished in Indian and Bear creeks on Pickwick Lake and caught most of their fish in water around 12 feet deep. They used Tennessee orange-and-chartreuse colored jigs and Cabala's jig heads tipped with live minnows to catch the fish.

Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman, of Tiptonville, Tenn., finished third with 16.31 pounds.

Capps said the crappie were caught with live bait in heavy wood cover on the north end of Pickwick Lake.

Rounding out the top five in the semi-pro division were Ben Blakely and Steve Ferguson, of Murray, Ky., with 15.96 pounds; and Greg and Brenda Freeman, of Eddyville, Ky., with 15.23 pounds.

Coy Sipes, of Pell City, and Gilford Sipes, of Moody, won the amateur division with 10 crappie weighing 15.54 pounds.

Coy Sipes said the fish were caught in water about four feet deep on the north end of Pickwick Lake using chartreuse and green jigs and live minnows.

Rounding out the top 5 in the amateur division were Keith and Jonathan Mullis, of Forsythe, Ga., with 12,62 pounds; Danny Wilson and Jessie Smith, of Corinth, Miss., with 11.82 pounds; David Rogers, of Georgetown, Ky., with 11.40 pounds; and Keven Moss, of Corinth, Miss., and Robert Phillips, of Glen, Miss., with 11.24 pounds.

Dennis Sherer can be reached at 740-5746 or dennis.sherer@-timesdaily.com.

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