Crappie Bite Scattered with Slowly Dropping Water
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on May 9, 2021
Hello from the desk of Capt. Doug. I normally say from the Excel Storm Cat 230 but it has spent the week in the Marina and my garage. My story starts on Saturday afternoon, May 1st.
I was coming home from the lake after a nice guide trip. My shortest route from the lake to Benton is on Hwy 408. Many of you are familiar with the road. It has a series of narrow bridges across areas of water including Clark’s River. I’ve crossed these bridges hundreds of times and only once before had I experienced problems.
I damaged a tire that had to be replaced when another vehicle used all of their lane and part of mine. Saturday the same thing happened but instead of being crowded ON the bridge. I got crowded as I APPROACHED the middle bridge.
Long story short, I hit the end of the bridge abutment rather than sideswipe an oncoming SUV. I knew instantly it was not good! Both right side tires exploded and both wheels were badly bent. I had to slowly limp my rig off the elevated levee before I could get it out of traffic.
Ends up, not only were the tires and wheels destroyed, both axles were badly bent as well as frame damage to the aluminum trailer. I’ve spent several days dealing with insurance. I have nothing but praise for Ray Barga and his staff. The final decision is sitting on a desk somewhere if my trailer is totaled.
As much as I trailer my boat, I absolutely HAD to get a trailer back under it. Thanks to Glenn Foreman at Excel Boats, I was able to get a new Storm Cat 230 trailer on Thursday. I then retrieved the boat from Sportsman’s Marina. I’ll be back on the lake on Monday.
Most of last week was luckily scheduled off and only one guide trip had to be rescheduled.
We are never able to schedule a hospital visit at a convenient time. Right in the middle of the crappie spawn is not a good time but Vicki, my wife and best friend, had to undergo artery surgery on Friday. Her blockage was discovered when she had tests done for neck pain.
She is doing well and hopefully will be getting ready soon for some bluegill and Redear fishing as well as pulling cranks for crappie and anything else that bites. A big round of applause for the doctors and staff at Murray-Calloway County Hospital. They are wonderful!
We are finally getting water temperatures that trigger the spawn. The cool temperatures for next week won’t help. The night temps in the 40s may impact the fry that have just hatched. Of course, we can’t do a thing about the weather or its effects on nature.
I’m getting mixed reports on bluegills and Redears but the encouraging thing is we are seeing many very good quality fish of both species. Again, I encourage you to consider releasing the yellow-bellied spawning female Redears. They are the future of that wonderful fishery. Try a piece of night crawler, red worms, or crickets fished just above the bottom. My favorite is a drop-shot rig with a Popeye jig tipped with a wax worm . Make long casts and drag the bait s-l-o-w-l-y right on the bottom.
You’ll have no trouble detecting the vicious bite of a bedding gill or Redear. I will say sometimes a Redear will just feel heavy on the line right before it tries to rip your rod out of your hands.
Crappie have been all over the place. The shallow bite has really slowed with the slowly dropping water. TVA is forecasting a foot or so drop in the next couple of days. Mid-depth, 8-15 feet has been the place for action. Many crappie will not only spawn in those depths, but also stay there to rest up after the rigors of the spawn. Check out cover in those areas with plastics, minnows, or crankbaits.
The middle of May to the end of June means one thing for lots of fishermen, catfish on the rocks. I’m not referring to a new drink! I’m referring to the rocky areas catfish prefer to spawn in.
Chunk rock banks, rip rap, or pea gravel areas will all work just fine for spawning catfish. Slip bobber rigs with a circle hook is my weapon of choice. Catfish baits are as numerous as the stars in the sky. Worms, jello chicken, stink baits, even crankbaits will all serve to attract the channel, blues, and flathead cats.
Flatheads do prefer a live bait like a small bluegill. That would explain why we have caught a couple of good ones this spring on cranks. A flathead on a hook is like trying to pull a stump off the bottom. A well-set drag is a must.
If this weather ever decides to break to seasonal late spring, it’s going to be Katy-bar-the-door for all fish species. You won’t catch your share if you’re not on the lake.
Be careful out there. There are still some floating gremlins around. With better weather also come the crowds.
Memorial Day weekend is coming soon and I’ve always said the worst day of the year to be on our lakes is Memorial weekend Sunday. It seems that it is the out-of-the-gate time for every recreational boater who has been cooped up all winter. Put crowds together with alcohol and the recipe for disaster is always there. Watch out for those who don’t or won’t watch out for you.
Wear those PFDs. We love our Rescue Squads but would feel much better if their boats get to stay in the garage.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven!