Crappie and Catfish Holding on Sharp Drops and Points
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on June 29, 2022
Hello from the Excel Storm Cat 230. My poor trailer tires have had a workout the last two weeks.
I have been to Grenada , Mississippi twice and back, as well as several trips to Lake Barkley. With gas prices approaching $5 per gallon on the Interstates, I need to get back to earth and back to work.
Vicki made her first trip to Grenada Lake where she actually got to fish. Flooding rains ruined our trip in June 2021. Two days of unrelenting sun and high 90s didn’t make for good fishing and she left Grenada disappointed after years of hearing my stories about how wonderful it can be.
We did catch several crappie, as well as tons of small blue catfiish, but none of the giants Grenada is known for. Crappie on the “Big 4” in Mississippi must be OVER 12 inches long. We caught dozens of fish that would have been solid keepers here.
The last day of our fishing trip was spent on Enid Lake and it was glorious. We had allotted four hours of fishing time before we had to head back to Kentucky. In those four hours, we caught well over 40 crappie, with 10 of them being at least 12.5 inches.
I told Vicki it was her day to take care of the rods. I was there to run the trolling motor. I think she tired of reeling in the crappie, up to four at a time. I highly suggest making Enid Lake a stop if you make a trip to Mississippi. It is a different lake and not nearly as intimidating as the standing timber filled Grenada.
My last few trips have been on Barkley and as is often the case, lakes and fishing patterns change greatly from year to year. Last year crappie fishing for me in June on Barkley was the stuff of dreams with several GIANT crappie.
This year my normal haunts have not produced well. Trying new water hasn’t worked much better. I do know several folks who are Livescoping have had some good catches.
Bass and blue catfish have ruled some of our catches and my clients have been gracious when the crappie didn’t show up in quality or quantity.
Let me address a 900-pound gorilla in the room here. I often get snide remarks, to down-right venom spewed at me when I show a photo of a client keeping a bass for me to clean.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife says each fisherman can keep six bass per day. Most fisheries biologists will tell you that taking SOME bass makes for a healthier population. I’ve even been thanked by Conservation Officers for encouraging my clients to keep bass over 15 inches long if they choose.
As long as a fish is over the minimum size limit and within the creel limits for that species, it is the prerogative of the person who catches it whether to keep it or not. I feel no different cleaning a bass than I do a catfish or crappie.
That fish belongs to the person who catches it. I have seen heated arguments, almost to the point of blows, over a person cleaning a bass. Get over it!
We caught a bass in the 5-pound range last week that was properly handled and released gently. That fish went belly up, despite our handling. The clients were upset that it showed no signs of being capable of surviving, even after being left floating on top for several minutes.
That fish was netted a second time and cleaned. Leaving it for turtle food was a much worse choice than it ending up as table fare.
The crappie and catfish seem to be holding on sharp drops and points despite very little current flow being generated. Shad patterns, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and shades of pink have produced best.
I am often quick to give advice if asked or otherwise. I am always telling folks to spend time getting prepared for your time on the water. Saturday my advice came back to bite me straight in my shorts.
My buddy Tom, a crappie guide and long-time resident of Grenada, had asked me to come down to fish the PTG Outdoors Crankbait tourney with him. We pre-fished Thursday and Friday and felt OK about our chances for Saturday.
First thing Saturday morning, Tom hooked a Grenada giant crappie on what I call a “dropper rod” with only 15 feet of line out. I use a very stiff 10-foot rod with an Off Shore Tackle #3 Tadpole Diving Weight and a Pico Squarebill crankbait trailing on a 4 foot leader.
In one motion, I grabbed the net and got the fish squarely inside the rubber mesh. The only problem was I had neglected to tighten up my 12-foot extendable Crappie Monster Outlaw net.
As soon as the crappie touched the net, the net rotated and boom, FISH GONE! Tom and I stood there shaking our heads, knowing we had just lost a fish that would have challenged for Big Fish and probably cost us a paycheck.
Check ALL your gear!!
Be careful out there. The Fourth of July weekend is upon us, and I will gladly be at home. Keep in mind that July 4th is the traditional date that TVA starts the slow drawdown of the lakes.
While it may take a while for them to show up, those underwater gremlins are just waiting to tear up lower units or other parts of the equipment we all use.
Wear your PFDs and watch out for those who don’t watch out for you. Enjoy your holiday.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven.