According to my temperature measuring device, it was 17 degrees.
Fortunately, I own clothes that are designed to keep you warm, anyway. I had them on. You see, I was going fishing-crappie fishing-with a spider rig.
Back some time ago, one of my four faithful readers, Brent Turner, promised to take me spider rig fishing for crappie. I had never been, heard they caught a lot of crappie.
So, Brent being the good Christian gentleman he is, waited until it was bitter cold to invite me. My plan was simple. Every few minutes, I would stand and holler, "Shiver me timbers, matey."
I never got the chance.
Brent took us on a short, "invigorating" run from Fate Sanders, boat dock and set about baiting and deploying the six, long, limber rods with small, open face spinning reels.
The line was 10 pound mono. On each rod was just enough weight to get the bait down quickly and keep it at the desired depth.
There were two crooked crappie hooks attached.
One above the weight, one below.
Each hook had a small bead and spinner above it. Bait was a medium-size minnow.
With all six rods bobbing with motion of the boat, we set about finding crappie. That is the key.
"This is no secret operation," said Brent. "We know the crappie are somewhere around here. It is just a matter of finding them and determining how deep they are."
So, we set about zigging and zagging, following drop-offs and creek channels and dadgum. No more than ten minutes out and we caught the first crappie-one that was just about an inch too short.
Then, we caught a small yellow bass...or two.
Then, as we moved into deeper water, we started picking up larger, keeper crappie and finally, we hit them.
In water that varied from 26-32 feet deep and 50 degrees, we found numbers of good crappie suspended at 12 feet.
In a four-hour period, we boated 49 crappie. Twenty-eight of them were over the 10-inch size limit. We also caught a small striper and a few yellow bass.
The action was steady, sometimes furious and the live well, actually a cooler filled with water, began to fill.
For some reason, I never noticed the cold. In fact, March 16, was quite a pleasant day. I could get to liking, this spider rigging thing. My share of the crappie produced seven vacuum bags of fillets for my dining pleasure. And then, just three days later, Mark "Big Bird" Campbell and I hit Old Hickory.
We caught a few crappie, a few bass and would you believe it, a 3-9, rainbow trout. And boy was he stuffed with shad. Go figure.
And then...then, on March 28, Bird I fished for less than three hours and put 20, big slabs in the boat and a 3-5, largemouth...along with assorted drum and such.
We only had two crappie all morning that did not measure. Again, that was on Old Chickory.
Perhaps next week I can provide a turkey hunting story. Anything is possible.