It was a good weekend of bass fishing for Carlyle native Josh Jackson. Jackson, 38, who now resides in Cobden, was the top co-angler in Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 2 held April 20-22 at Dayton, Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake.
Jackson caught a three-bass limit each day of the tournament and finished with nine bass for a total weight of 32 pounds, 9 ounces. With the victory, he went home with a Triton 179 TrX and a Mercury 115 four stroke boat/motor package, valued at $30,000.
Anglers from 27 states and countries competed in the three-day Southern Open.
The field of 390 pro and co-anglers was cut to 12 in each division for Saturday’s final day of competition.
Competing in the co-angler division, Jackson explained that he fished alongside pros and competed in a separate prize purse.
“We draw a random pro partner each day of the tournament with the pro fishing in front and the co-angler fishing behind him,” Jackson said.
On Thursday, the first day of competition, Jackson drew Louisiana fisherman Todd Murray and reeled in three fish totaling 9-10.
Surprisingly, on the second day, he drew his regular tournament fishing partner Luke Estel of Murphysboro, who was fishing in the pro division last weekend.
Jackson bagged 7-2 on Friday for a total two-day weight of 16-11 —just enough to put him in 12th place and secure a spot in Saturday’s championship competition.
“I was the 12th boat and 6 pounds out of the lead,” Jackson said.
“I told myself before the final day of the tournament that I needed 15 pounds to do any good, and I ended up with close to 16.”
Jackson was the second co-angler to weigh in.
“With three fish totaling 15-14, I took the leader’s chair and stayed there until the end. It was pretty neat.”
Jackson was fortunate to draw Alabama’s Justin Lucas, who fishes in the Bassmaster Elite Series — the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments — as his partner on the final day.
However, he said, that alone didn’t secure the victory.
“I talked to Justin Lucas the night before about what he was doing and he was doing similar stuff to what I was doing,” Jackson said. “We take off at 7 a.m., and we went to fish all of his places. By 11 a.m. we had zero fish in the boat.”
Knowing they had to be off the water by 3 p.m., it was time for some major adjustments.
“I didn’t want to say anything, but then he asked me if I had anything. We went to a main river ledge where my partner and I had done well in practice. We caught 60 bass in that spot.”
While Jackson came in first place in the co-angler competition, Lucas finished 11th among the pros bringing in a three-day total weight of 45-2 (five fish limit per day). Winning the pro competition was John Cox of Debary, Florida with a three-day total of 68-3.
Jackson, who is sponsored by the lure manufacturer Strike King, said he generally fishes around 30 local tournaments a year in some of southern Illinois’ favorites fishing holes like Kinkaid Lake, Cedar Lake, Crab Orchard Lake and Lake of Egypt.
But he got his start fishing with his dad, the late Harry Jackson, on Carlyle Lake.
“I was 13 years old when I got my boater’s license,” he said.
His interest in bass fishing escalated several years ago after moving to the Carbondale area.
Today, Jackson said, he fishes two larger tournaments a year. His next tournament is the USA Bassin April 28-29 on Kentucky Lake.
Jackson said he had the opportunity to fish in the pro division at Chickamauga Lake, but the extensive travel associated with the pro circuit is not for him. Plus, he has his own construction company to keep up with.
“My wife agrees that two bigger tournaments a year is enough,” he said.
And when the end result is a $30,000 prize package, that’s even better. Still, while the new boat is impressive, Jackson said he’s going to keep his old boat.
“The new boat’s for sale,” he said.
Anyone interested in purchasing the new Triton can call Jackson at 618-527-2476.
This is not the first time Jackson has made headlines for fishing. He and Ryan Povolish of Carbondale were fishing Kinkaid Lake in late March when Povolish caught a state record crappie.
The black crappie officially weighed in at 4 pounds and 8.8 ounces, narrowly eclipsing a state record (4-8.2 set at Rend Lake) that had stood for nearly 40 years.
Being a firefighter in an all-volunteer department, like Breese, is a noble calling. It’s founded on mutual respect and trust between firefighters and the citizens they serve. The same respect can be found between fire districts across the country. And, every fire department — no matter how large or small — will at one time or another need some form of mutual aid.
Mutual aid and respect were equally displayed last week when the Breese Fire District graciously donated its 1989 FMC rescue pumper to the Goodman Area Fire Protection District.
“We’re thankful to be able to help a fire station in need,” said Breese fire chief Bob Wuest.
Goodman fire chief Keith Estes explained that his district is picking up the pieces along with the rest of the Goodman community after an EF-2 tornado ripped through town on April 4.
Much like Breese, Goodman, Missouri has railroad tracks dividing the town and it’s not unusual for a train to be stopped on the tracks.
Therefore, the Goodman Fire District has two fire stations right across the tracks from each other. Estes said both stations were a total loss following the tornado and the wall of one station was being supported by a truck.
Initially, Estes said, the department couldn’t even get their trucks out because they were buried underneath crumbling walls and roofs. They had a total of 10 apparatuses located in the two fire stations.
“I have nine apparatus damaged and no buildings” Estes said. “We’re very fortunate that a private company in Goodman, Choice Puppies, has a huge facility, so we’re able to store five apparatus there for the time being.”
The storm ripped through the west side of the small town about 7:30 p.m. on April 4. In addition to the fire stations, the school, several homes and businesses reported damage.
Fortunately, fire crews do not stay at the stations overnight, so they were all home safe with their families when the tornado hit. Overall, two people in Goodman suffered minor injuries but there were no deaths.
After the storm, Estes said, the department received a big response from surrounding communities through mutual aid and volunteers. He said the support has been overwhelming.
Goodman is a town of a little over 1,200 people. It is 30 miles south of Joplin, Missouri, where a historic tornado six years ago killed 158 people, injured more than 1,200 and caused more than $2 billion in damage.
While the Goodman Fire District encompasses 96 square miles, it’s the only fire protection district in the county and the operating budget is tight.
“This may be a 1989 pumper but it’ll be the second newest truck in our fleet,” he said.
He noted that the district is in the process of building another rural station and still needs a truck for that facility.
The Breese Fire District recently purchased a 2017 KME rescue pumper which replaces the 1989 model. The new pumper was put into service two weeks ago.
“I have had so many people asking what do you need? What do you need? I still don’t know what we all need but this is a 1,000 gallon truck,” he said speaking of the donated truck from Breese. “When you’re a rural department and you hear it’s capable of hauling 1,000 gallons, that is definitely something we need.”
Ryan Weh, who is a police officer with the city of Trenton, was talking to some fellow D.A.R.E. officers who shared the story of the Goodman fire department and the destruction the area had sustained.
He knew the Breese Fire Department was taking its 1989 pumper out of service and he proposed the idea of donating the truck to Breese Fire Chief Bob Wuest and district board members. After some discussion, the decision was made to donate the truck to Goodman.
“As firefighters, we’re all one big family so we’re very happy that we can help someone in need,” Weh said.
“We are extremely thankful,” Estes commented. “I don’t know if I can ever express our gratitude for what this department and the people of this district are doing. It’s overwhelming. This piece of equipment will have a long life and will be part of our district for a very long time.”
Estes said he hopes to keep a good relationship going with the Breese Fire District, and he invited the firemen and board members to visit Goodman if they are ever in the area.
“Sometimes God makes things happen for reasons,” Estes said.
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