March 1, 2013. It has snowed all day with wind around 15 mph. Many inches of new rain in the last few weeks have made the north end muddy. The new water, along with the mud, and weather conditions have some tough conditions in the shallower waters.
I have proof the north end is basically dead this week. I followed Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman while they fished Kirby’s Pocket and areas not too far from there. We spent all morning in the snow and sub-freezing wind chills but didn’t get to see a fish caught. When this team, along with others we talked to, are having trouble catching fish, it’s obvious conditions are difficult. Stories up north range from no bites to only a few fish.
The big water has active fish right now. Capps and Coleman went there and had little trouble catching fish. There are no secret formulas. Simply slow troll using chains and/or driftsocks to make trolling passes at very slow speeds. Live bait or jigs tipped with minnows are the working. The problem with the big water is wind. A moderate wind can make the lake rough.
The Crappie Masters tournament on Saturday the 2nd stayed windy and cold with wind chills staying in the low 20’s all day long and snow up until weigh-in time. The big water provided some good weights for several of the teams. Chains, drift socks and sometimes both were used to slow the boats down so they could troll in the waves. There were three or four teams with over 11 pounds.
Looking Ahead!! “Next week will be a different story,” says Ronnie Capps. “A little change in weather will make things improve in the shallow water. The second week of March is the typical date for black crappie to be spawning. So hopefully everything will change in a hurry.”
He also said for fishermen wanting to fish a little warmer weather can come in Mid-April and catch the white crappie spawn, Winds are usually a little less in April.
(Photo: Josh Gowan and Josh Chipman at Reelfoot weigh-in)
Jan. 2013 -Florida fisherman Don Collins is a regular on the Crappie Master tournament trail where he and his wife won 2010 Angler Team of the Year. He also won the 1994 NACA National Championship. He is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, TTI-Blakemore, Driftmaster and Lake Fork Lures.
Occupation: Retired, funeral business.
Grew up: Santee Cooper Lake. Daddy started me fishing when I was about six years old.
Best memory: Fishing with dad. He made a boat out of two 49 Ford car hoods. It had a 3-hp Evenrude. We fished out of it until I was about 14 years old.
Home lake: I’m five minutes from Harris Chain.
Favorite lake: Santee Cooper, SC. I love to fish the stumps.
Fishing highlight: That’s easy, the 2010 Sportsman of the Year with Crappie Masters. It was an emotional experience. My dad taught me sportsmanship is more important than winning. I try to practice that.
Fishing strength: Patience.
Fishing weakness: Not having my wife fishing with me now. We fished together for so long, including ten classics. It’s just not the same without her in the boat.
Favorite bait: That depends, but a Lake Fork body on a Road Runner can be very good.
Favorite boat food: If I eat at all, probably a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Mistake of weekend fishermen: Most think you need a big boat to enjoy fishing. They can have fun by finding a place they can catch shallow fish, just relax and watch a float.
Percent of fishing that is luck: I would say 40% skill and 60% luck. On a given day anyone can catch fish.
Lessons learned: A man I fished with on Santee Cooper taught me not to be in a hurry when fishing. Also, an education helps, like operating the new electronics and dealing with problems, and for anything you do in life.
Fishing goals: I would like to fish this coming season with my grandson.
What keeps you motivated: I love to compete and I love the fellowship on the trail. I also enjoy being an ambassador of Take a Child Fishing.
Fishing regrets: None at all.
When not fishing: My wife and I travel around the country in our RV.
How would you like to be remembered? As a good guy who liked to fish and do things for others.
January 2012- A trip last month to Truman Lake with fishing guide Barry Morrow (660-723-2667) included some cold weather but good fun and fellowship. For me, the purpose of the trip was to learn more about the products he uses and how to fish them. A camera or recorder was in my hand more that a fishing pole, but I still managed to fish a little and caught several crappie; Barry caught a lot more.
Our fish came on a pattern that should hold through-out the winter. We fished timber in deep water. There were no secrets to catching fish. Fish were primarily at 14 feet but some were scattered from one foot down to 20 feet. The shallow fish hit on the fall while our baits were getting to the 12 to 14 foot zone. Line watching was critical. Barry uses big baits most of the time with a logical theory behind his thinking. “Some of my favorite baits include the Lindy Watsit, Fat Watsit and Yum Wooly Bee. All of these baits are large and I match them with a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce head. Concerning the big baits, we’ve all seen huge shad in the throats of crappie so the size is no problem. The advantage of a big bait is that when the fish takes it they have a more difficult time spitting it out, unlike a small jig they can just blow out. With a big bait you have more time to feel the bite and set the hook.”
A wildcard tactic that worked well for us was jigging a spoon. We used a silver Cotton Cordell Little Mickey. The funny thing is that we used it in the same places we fished our jigs. Timber and the break along a bluff provided the action. The spoon was allowed to drop and then held still. After holding still we would give a slight jigging action, not a huge lift, to add enough flash and action to entice bites. When it got hung the weight of the spoon helped free it. I don’t remember losing one bait.
It was a good trip with Barry. He provided a lot of different tactics using a variety of baits. Now is a good time for you to get to Truman Lake for some cold water crappie.
Rend Lake, IL. November 2012.
Rend Lake is a nice lake to fish. However, fish aren't behind every stump, and there are lots of stumps. The 18,900 acre lake is generally shallow with a couple of major feeder arms. The water is stained.
The number one pattern right now is the bridges. There are several of them with each producing fish. Crappie can be caught from four primary locations including the pilings, upwind points on both sides of the bridge, both points on the downwind side, and the riprap along the road on both sides.
Fishing bridges is simple. You can cast. We watched people from boats and from the bank catching fish this way. Or vertically fish. I was with guide and Crappie Masters tournament angler, Kyle Schoenherr. He set us up to vertically jig holding our poles. We did this for a couple of reasons. One was to get and keep our baits next to the bottom all the time. With constantly changing depths it would not have been easy to have the rods in holders. The second purpose was to feel the bite and quickly set the hook; a must when fishing jigs.Share
Lake of the Ozarks-November 2012
My comfort and skill level at shooting docks ranks closely with my skills as a long distance runner. I'm no runner. But, the good news is that I can improve my dock shooting with practice.
I spent one day shooting docks with my new friend, Mike Baker. And a second day with friends Travis and Charles Bunting. This entry is about my trip with Mike.
Mike Baker's background includes four years fishing the B.A.S.S. circuit traveling all over the country, several years fishing for crappie including a few tournaments, and currently chasing both crappie and catfish on Lake of the Ozarks. His reason for changing species is that he loves the challenge of learning something new. He has another good trait...not laughing too much at a horrible dock shooting partner.Share
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