Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bass on Beale Street?

The title of this post could be a bit misleading for some readers who might stumble upon it.

Beale Street is world famous for blues music, and there's always some bass of the musical sort emanating from the establishments on Beale, but bass of the piscine variety... well, that's another matter.

So, are there bass (with fins and gills) swimming on Beale Street?

Probably not... but at the moment... it is possible. A tiny little bit of Beale is underwater after all.

The intersection of Beale St. and Riverside Dr. underwater.

Just in case you've been living under a rock for the past few days, or maybe just getting out and fishing more than I have, the Mississippi River is more than 13' above flood stage at Memphis today. It will come close to the record flood level of 1937 when it crests in the next 48 to 72 hours. I think most of the national news broadcasts will be brought to you from the big "M" tomorrow.

Flood gawkers

Tom Lee Park hidden by flood waters.

On the other side of the railing in the photo above lies Tom Lee Park, but you can't see it because it's underwater. This park is home to the major events of the Memphis in May International Festival including Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Music Fest escaped the wrath of the big river last weekend, but the BBQ event (May 12-14) has been relocated for the first time in its 33 year history.

Despite the impression that the news media might be giving the country, downtown Memphis is not flooded. There are many homes, churches, schools, and businesses that have been hit hard, but the majority of the city sits well above the mighty Mississippi. Although there is a fair amount of localized flooding around the city, the hardest hit places are mostly in outlying areas well outside of Memphis. I don't mean to minimize the seriousness of this event, but the actual number of people affected by the flood is rather small for a metropolitan area of well over one million people.

On a more positive note, my Memphis Grizzlies finally decided that winning NBA playoff games was a good thing...

First Tennessee Bank showing a little support for the home team.

Beale Street after the last Grizzlies victory over OKC Thunder

There's a lot going on in Memphis right now, but unfortunately no fishing for me... unless the bass start biting on Beale Street.


  1. Good Luck to Memphis. Here around Nashville they are holding back waters in the lakes to reduce flooding down stream.

  2. I am continually (and embarrassingly) mixing up pronunciations of bass...I play the upright, and fish for them!

    Thanks for the accurate news. You're right, I just heard on NPR while driving into work this morning that downtown Memphis was flooded.

    Stay safe, and dry!

  3. Larry, Memphis usually gets the short end of the stick from the folks in the capitol. It's good to know that Nashville and Memphis can cooperate during times of serious concern.

    Erin, unless I decide to go play at Tom Lee Park I won't have any trouble staying dry. I had heard rumor that the national news coverage had been giving the wrong impression about the flooding. Thanks for the confirmation, and I'm glad I could set the record straight.

  4. Like Erin, I thought that d.t. Memphis was under water as well. Not that the flooding is not bad,because it is, but not as bad as it would be if the city was underwater. Hang in there, Jay.


  5. Stephanie, it's really not as bad as the media wants you to believe. From the most recent report I've heard there are approximately 400 people in shelters. It really sucks for them, but that's a very small number when you consider the greater population who is entirely unaffected.

  6. I'm glad you posted this, Jay. I saw the news and immediately thought of you. Happy to know it's not as bad as I feared. Stay dry, my friend.

  7. Mike, thanks for thinking of me. I'll only get wet if I choose to do so. My neighborhood is entirely unaffected... as are most Memphis neighborhoods. A lot of industrial stuff, trailer parks, and businesses near the smaller tributaries have been hit hardest.

  8. I think you need to go fish Beale Street just to say you did. At best you'll catch a fish and have an awesome story. At worse, you'll have an interesting picture.

  9. Yeah, Jay, a roll cast in front of the Rum Boogie would be the best fly fishing photo EVER.

    Seriously, glad it's not as catastrophic as the media is making it sound. Weird to see Tom Lee under water like that though.

  10. Jay you and Kelly stay safe, and just know that when all this water gets back to normal, there will new areas to fish. Thank goodness for the levees in around downtown Memphis. I will be making a trip to Smith in the morning for the spots. I am using three different set-ups with the 3, 4 and 5 weight rods. I’m still looking forward to our trip.

  11. Glad to hear all is relatively well. I agree with Clif, you must fish it if at all possible.

    Oh, and I'm rooting for the Grizzlies too. Just wish that Zach Randolph wasn't such a headcase.

  12. Clif, I'll see what I can do.

    Ty, it's not nearly as catastrophic as the good ol' media makes it sound. That was part of my reasoning for this post.

    Bill, the floods have definitely rejuvenated some of the oxbows and have probably changed a lot of the structure for the better.

    Mike, after triple OT in tonight's game that ended well after midnight, the Grizz lost to OKC. The series is now tied at 2-2... Memphis now must win on their court. Not good. I just wish Tony Allen could make a layup or hit a shot occasionally.

  13. any updates? might there still be bass on beale? i am with clif and troutrageous and I am hoping for a successful trip report soon.

  14. Ivan, unfortunately I haven't had a chance to go downtown. The floodwaters are receding... I might just have to wait for the next "flood of the century"... I suspect that will be sometime next year.