Crappie Fishing Great; Carp Causes Tactic Change
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on December 12, 2019
Hey Y'all from the Excel Bay Pro 230 "Fishful Thinking". It seems winter is getting ready to tighten its grip on the fishing community. Colder temperatures and the possibility of winter precipitation will slow the red-hot fishing down. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Wintertime can be some of the best fishing in these parts, you just have to dress for it and be willing to stick it out in tough conditions.
The Twin Lakes Crappie Club held its Classic this past weekend and it took 7 crappie with a combined weight of over 13 pounds to win! Folks, those are the kinds of weights one would expect to see in Mississippi on the "Big 4" this time of the year.
What does this mean? This means Number 1, we still have a good population of crappie here and Number 2, the crappie we have are healthier than they have been in many years. All together this means our crappie are in much better shape to thrive during the winter and be in great shape to make lots of baby crappie next year as long as water conditions cooperate.
Our recent down-turn has been the result of several minimal spawns as well as changing conditions from clear water and the Asian carp.
There, I said it, the dreaded C word. Yes, the Asian carp are in my opinion changing the way our crappie conduct their daily lives and it is now up to us to change our tactics to keep up with the changing crappie. As we see our Threadfin Shad populations get back to traditional levels, the crappie don't have to move as much to get their food.
During the past several seasons I have been extremely successful trolling both plastics and crankbaits because with the lack of shad, the crappie had to be out moving, hunting for the shad schools. As the shad population has risen, the crappie can move deep into cover and not have to expend as much energy chasing food. The food comes to them because the shad also feed on the plankton that grows around the wood cover.
It's a win-win for crappie. They can get away from the bully Asian carp, not have to move around as much, and get fat from the shad that come right into their bedrooms. They expend less energy and get fat and sassy to boot. Sounds like a great deal if you can get it!
What does that mean for us die-hard fishermen? It means to me I'm having to spend a bunch of money to offer my clients a slower presentation in colder water until the crankbait bite heats up in late spring. Spider rigging and single poling in cold weather and slow fishing cover in early spring will be the order of the day.
I will be learning to tune and use my new Garmin Livescope while I wait (like a kid at Christmas) for the release of the Humminbird Mega 360. These 2 tools will force me to move my operation from the back of the Bay Pro 230 to the bow. It's going to be a learning curve for all of us but it will let me offer many more tactics to my average client who not only wants to catch a mess of crappie but also want to see the latest technology in action.
This is also the first year in the last 4 that I can fish all winter and guide my clients for 12 months. Hopefully after having both knees replaced and lower spinal fusion surgeries, I'm thankful for a clean bill of health and look forward to maintaining it. A diet is in my near future.
If you decide to hit the lakes, check out deep woody cover with minnows and plastics. S-L-O-W is the key word here. Don't neglect to check out the points on drop-offs. One tactic I love to use is to drop-shot a live minnow by casting from the shallow part of the drop to the deeper part then working it molasses slow up the drop. Be sure to have a good grip because a hungry crappie will snatch a rod out of your hands in the winter.
Christmas is right around the corner and that means having to worry about buying for that person who is impossible to buy for. How about making him/her take you fishing? You can buy a Gift Certificate we sell and kill 2 birds with one stone. I accept payment for deposit or for the full price of the trip on the Gift Certificates. Booking early means getting your preferred dates.
I’ve thought for years about offering eagle and wildlife viewing trips. That is now a reality. With me now running the 23 foot Bay Pro, I can accommodate up to 5 adults or children in combination. These trips will be for 3 hours, weather permitting. We will be checking out several areas so you will need to dress for the cold but it will give each of you an open-air view and a chance to observe and hear the wildlife world up close in an undisturbed setting.
Camera and a love of seeing eagles, deer, ospreys, otters, and who knows what else are required. Prices will be listed on my web site. Gift certificates are also available for the wildlife tours. Deposits will be required, same as fishing trips.
I hope you will take advantage of the great fishing we are seeing now and will continue to see in the spring. Our lakes area has garnered much too much bad press about the Asian carp recently. We still have so much to offer. You will see an increased effort to attract tourism from many of the local tourism businesses. I will be attending several boat shows, including the highly successful West KY Boat Show. I will be doing at least one seminar again this year. Let’s hope the weather is better this time.
Please be careful out there. There is no measure of hope if you end up in 40 degree water unless you have a partner and a change of clothes in the boat to get you to the safety of a warm truck. Watch out for those gremlins that love the shallow water conditions.
Welcome to our Slice of Heaven. From crappie-gills-n--more.com , Vicki and I wish you a Merry Christmas.