Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

Early, very early, spring crappie

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Lebanon's Jerry Reed, picked a sunny day, dressed right and caught a few nice slabs.

The reports are starting to trickle in. Not a lot of them, not the real big ones, but some crappie are being caught.

On the warmer days, some of the knowledgeable crappie anglers are beginning to pick up a few fish, especially on Percy Priest.

A couple years ago, the crappie fishing was not only early but they were big and on some days, they were caught in good numbers. Maybe that will happen this year. I hope so, I am low on crappie fillets.

The trick, so I am told by "those who know", is to find the cover near the deep water channels.

If you know how to fish a spider rig, which I don't and have the equipment, which I don't, I am told, that is the best method.

That is simply putting out a bunch of rods with jigs or live bait at varying depths and slowly, very slowly, trolling a creek channel.

That requires a lot of knowledge . . . and equipment.

You not only need the rods, (some use as many as eight,) you either need to know exactly how the channel runs or have the electronics to keep you on course.

I not only don't have that kind of electronics, I don't know how to use it. You must also have a trolling motor that will keep you steadily going at the same speed. I don't have that either.

But neither you, nor I, need despair. We can simply work our same structure that we have always worked, the ones near deeper water, anyway.

With some patience and luck, we can pick up enough specks to make the grease stink and provide a good meal.

Four or five good fish will make a meal for two.

I prefer a light rod with either four or six pound mono.

I throw jigs that weight 1/8-ounce or less and use a wide variety of tails. I'm not so sure color is that important to the fish?

Jerry Reed, uses nothing but chartreuse and he catches about as many slabs as anyone. This year on a tip, I am trying the trout magnet lures on crappie.

The important thing is to fish slowly and be persistent. Don't give up if you don't catch one the first 10 casts.

Work each area thoroughly and try a variety of lures. After all, what is your hurry?

Now here is a great tip when you are fishing brush piles. There is a good reason I using nothing but monofilament line. It will stretch a little.

That allows me to "bow and arrow" the lure, often, popping it free when hung up. If that fails, here is tip number two.

Before fishing, take your pliers and bend the hook out and in a couple times. That weakens it to the point you can often just pull it loose.

It will still be strong enough to hold old paper mouth.

As far as I know, I have never lost a fish because my line stretched a little.

So why not pick a warmer day with little or no wind, dress right and go fishing. You never know what you might catch.

I have caught some big bass in February and if you get lucky, you might just hit the mother lode of crappie.

Regardless of the catch, it beats sitting around the house.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com

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