Shipmates: Surprise overnight stop brings fun fishing

On her first time fishing, Carol Schreck of New York pulls in two good-sized fish

Carol Schreck had never been fishing in her life. But when the Grande Caribe made an unscheduled stop at a lovely marina known for its many fish, Carol decided to give it a try.

She pulled in a whopping two fish – a smallmouth bass and a catfish. “It was beginner’s luck,” Carol said modestly. Her prize catches were released back into their watery home.

Although the Grande Caribe was due to dock and spend the night at Cuba Landing Marina in Waverly, Tennessee, the river was so high that ship captain David Sylvaria decided to tie up at Buzzard Rock Marina instead. Located in Kuttawa, Tennessee, the marina is nestled in a quiet cove on beautiful Lake Barkley.

A short canal a few miles from Buzzard Rock connects Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake for over 4,000 miles of shoreline and 220,000 acres of water surface. The river system winds around the Land Between the Lakes and connects to the intercoastal waterway reaching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

No one knows how Buzzard Rock got its name but one tale involves an Indian princess and some bad luck. For Carol, however, the site was a lucky spot for her. “It was fun,” she said of reeling in her two catches. “It was a surprise, something I never expected.”

Dave Shelton shows Carol how to handle the rod and reel at Buzzard Rock Marina

When the ship made its detour stop, cruise director Jenn McDaniel thought that passengers might enjoy some afternoon fishing from a bass boat or from the docks. Marina maintenance manager Dave Shelton was happy to oblige and provided complimentary fishing equipment and bait.

“The fishing is really good here,” Dave said. “We got a big variety of fish so it’s a prime fishing spot.”

Among the fish in Lake Barkley are largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, white bass and catfish. Lake Barkley is a favorite for bass tournaments with anglers catching bass that average four pounds each.

Because of high water, our ship makes an unexpected overnight stop

Although her fish didn’t approach a record size, Carol says she is proud of her catch and hopes to fish again. “It was definitely life changing.”

For more information: Contact Blount Small Ship Adventures at (800) 556-7450, or Buzzard Rock Resort & Marina at (270) 388-7925, And, here’s some advice for choosing the best fishing rod and reel:

Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch


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