Battling the Elements, Client Lands 16.5" Crappie
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on June 3, 2021
Hey Y’all from the Excel Storm Cat. If we can ever get on the back side of all this flooding rain, we might get back to some good fishing.
Last Thursday found me on a rare afternoon guide trip. We tried to fish the main lake where I had found a concentration of sauger, but the 3-foot waves ran us back to the protection of the bays. We tried for some bluegills, but they weren’t having any of our offerings. I said guys, we are going to do what I do best. We’re pulling cranks. That’s what they were really wanting to do anyway.
Our first pass down a series of main lake points produced a hook-up that had every indication of a BIG crappie! When the fish broke the surface, we were all 3 amazed at the baseball-sized mouth. The fight lasted just a few seconds when the fish pulled loose. The unlucky fisherman said that was the biggest crappie I’ve ever hooked. I said we’ll give things a while to settle down and I’ll run that same track again.
We caught some nice fish, including a nearly 15-incher but they still weren’t the huge fish that we were all haunted by. After almost an hour, I said OK here we go. I lined the Storm Cat up on the earlier track on my Helix 12 GPS and we started back toward the waypoint where the first fish had hit.
As I passed the boat directly over the waypoint, we all hoped for a repeat of the first pass with a better ending. One of the 5 poles bent over from a heavy fish and the guy who had lost the earlier fish grabbed it. As he started reeling, I started coaching him to ease the fish to the top.
When it broke the surface, it appeared every bit as big as the one we had lost. He did a great job of reeling just fast enough to keep the fish from getting its head underwater so it could dive. I laid the Crappie Monster net on the surface and let him slowly reel the giant into the net. We have no way of knowing if the two fish were the same fish. We can always wonder.
When I brought the fish over the transom, he was ecstatic! He said that is the biggest crappie I’ve ever SEEN! Handshakes and high-fives all around as I unhooked the amazing fish. I laid it on my measuring board, and it was 16.5 inches long!
A true trophy in anybody’s book. The fish was recently spawned but still by far his personal best crappie. He said "that’s why we came down here from central Kentucky to fish Kentucky Lake with you!"
From the glorious weather of Thursday came the disastrous weather of Saturday and to a lesser extent Sunday. At least we had sunshine Sunday to go with the extreme Northeast winds. The all-day rain Saturday made my decision to buy the custom top for the Storm Cat a wise choice.
I had always figured it will be great in those 90-degree temperature of mid-summer. I didn’t know how much it would be appreciated in all the rain of this spring. Saturday’s rain saw us catch a mixed bag of bass, crappie, catfish, sauger and white bass trolling Pico INT cranks. We also broke out the catfish tackle, bobbers, and nightcrawlers for most of the catfish.
The 3- and 4-foot rollers meant we were very limited in our places to fish. Sunday early found us across the lake, searching some of my normal catfish areas with zero results. We threw everything at them with no takers. The nice ride across the lake turned into a rough ride coming back.
I was fortunate enough to have the Monday holiday off. I heard from others the boat traffic Monday was a fraction of the traffic of Sunday. I saw all of it I wanted to see Sunday! It never ceases to amaze me how considerate folks can be on the bank or on the dock then how INCONSIDERATE they are when they get at the controls of a boat. I’ll leave it at that.
Tuesday saw the return of showers, but we were lucky enough to find some decent crappie. Hopefully we will see the beginning of some stable weather and the fish can ease into their summertime patterns. It seems the fish are more predictable in summer and the number of fishermen chasing said fish are less.
Yes, we must contend with recreational traffic but by picking early start times and staying away from weekends, fishing can be much more enjoyable. You might consider starting your fishing trip as the evening sun starts to get lower in the sky. I’ve had many great trips that saw me load the boat back onto the trailer at dark.
Justin and I will be fishing the West TN Crappie Trail tourney Saturday out of the Dyers Point Recreational Area near Dover. We will have a cameraman from Excel Boats with us, filming all aspects of a crappie tournament and hopefully a fun day on Lake Barkley. I’ll keep you posted where the videos can be found once they are released.
Saturday morning when I pulled into Sportsman’s Marina very early, I was met by dozens of flashing red lights from several fire trucks and fire boats. Seems there were several large boats at Sportsman’s involved in a fire that destroyed some and damaged the largest dock slips. We can all be thankful for all the hard work of our local fire departments and their quick response to what might have been an even more disastrous fire at the start of the holiday weekend. Their hard work often goes unnoticed and unpraised.
We are in the beginning of the summertime boating season and most kids are out of school. Vacations are starting. On that note, Miss Vicki and I are sneaking off late next week for a few days to ourselves. We are heading to Grenada Lake, Mississippi. (You didn’t think we were going to Vegas or Disney did you?)
Vicki has heard me gush for years about the wonderful fishing and the nice people of Grenada. She will get to see first-hand and now that she’s an old pro on the Storm Cat, she should be in for some serious crank bait action. I just drive the boat and clean the fish.
Be careful out there. Please wear your PFDs. Watch out for those who won’t watch out for you. Help those who need help. Next trip that might be you.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven.