Doug Wynn Reflects on Mississippi Tourney, Updates Local Area Crappie Bite
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on October 2, 2019
Hey Folks! Capt. Doug here from the Excel Bay Pro 230 "Fishful Thinking." Man, what a whirlwind the past week has been.
This time last week my tournament partner, Justin, and I were on Grenada Lake, Miss. for practice for the Crappie Master's National Championship. We spent Tuesday-Thursday seeking out spots that held those BIG crappie that Grenada is known for. We had qualified for this tournament by finishing 5th overall at Rend Lake, Ill. in May. The Rend Lake event was just the second crappie tournament I had ever fished in, Grenada was the fourth.
On Friday, the first day of the Crappie Master's event, we were able to locate and boat seven of the slabs we had found in practice and tallied 14.09 pounds with seven fish. To our surprise, we stood in 13th place after day one out of 145 boats that started. Justin topped his personal best crappie twice that day, the largest at 2.55 pounds.
We tried to keep an even keel and prepare for Day 2 just like we had Day 1. Mother Nature threw us (and every other participant) a curve the next morning when we were hit by stout winds that whipped up many of the areas we had caught our best fish on Day 1.
We were pulling Pico crankbaits behind Off Shore OR12 planer boards and the wave action and wind gave me fits with boat control and our hurt ability to keep the lines untangled. Planer board fishing is best done on calm waters with the boat running in somewhat straight lines. I was running river ledges and contour breaks and we finally gave up on keeping our lines clear and went to plain old pulling cranks.
Our biggest mistake (hindsight is always 20/20) was leaving an area where we were catching one 1 1/4 pound crappie after another. We knew those fish wouldn't add to our weight, so we left that area. Big Mistake! Another competitor boat that was doing the same thing as us stayed in that same area and tallied almost 15 pounds for Day 2.
As best we tried, we came up well short on Day 2 with just shy of 10 pounds. That's tournament fishing but what hurt the most was I had broken my own rule of never leaving biting fish to find other fish. I knew better! We finished in 42nd place, well off the 31 pounds it took to win. It was still an amazing week. I want to thank all who sent us best wishes and encouragement. I also thank God for watching over us and giving us traveling mercy.
Grenada is one of the friendliest fishing towns I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. The people were all extremely nice and helpful. They know full well what a tournament of the magnitude of the Crappie Master's means for the local economy and they were openly grateful.
Back to the reel world. I fished Barkley yesterday with the Reverends Joe and Tim. Joe has been a friend since middle school and was a football teammate at North Marshall all those years ago. He had asked that I show them my tactics for pulling cranks and how to locate crappie on Barkley. As best I tried, the locating left a lot to be desired. We ended up with a few crappie but had a great time visiting and reminiscing.
The reports I'm getting from Kentucky Lake is there are still crappie being caught reasonably shallow on minnows being spider rigged and jigs being trolled slowly. The crankbait bite is picking back up on medium depth breaks with structure.
As the baitfish move back into the bays, so will all the game fish. Start looking for bass and crappie in shallower areas and along the secondary points.
With the welcome arrival of cooler temperatures, many fishermen who have mothballed their crappie gear since spring, will start heading for the ramps. Please make sure your equipment and boat are in working order. Holding up others at the ramp won't make you any new friends.
Cooling temperatures also mean cooler water. Be careful out there. Wear those PFDs any time the big motor is running. Watch out for those who won't watch out for you.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven!