LESSONS & TIPS
One of the hottest methods of catching big crappie is trolling. I do two types of trolling and while I use a lot of the same terminal tackle, there are many differences also. Longline trolling or longlining is pulling small jigs, curly tails, Roadrunner spinner heads, or even planer boards. The baits are in closer proximity to the boat and the speeds are typically from 0.6mph to 1.0mph, depending on water temperatures and conditions. We will pull from 6 to over a dozen baits on short to long rods with spinning reels with 6 pound line. I will longline when the water temperatures are cool to cold, under 65 degrees.
Pulling cranks or crankbaiting involves using small to large crankbaits, line counter reels, and multiple rods of various lengths and line amounts as much as 100+ feet behind the boat. Boat speeds will be from 1.0 to above 2.0mph. Many of the baits will seem much too large for crappie to the untrained eye. I use a variety of brands and styles of crankbaits including several models I custom paint myself and have available for sale. I use levelwind line-counter reels on rods from 6 to 16 feet long with 10 -12 pound line. I start pulling cranks when the water temperatures get into the mid 60s and will fish this way until they cool back down in late fall. This is an awesome way to catch coolers full of slabs in the hottest days of the year---times many crappie fishermen have long since put their tackle up.
One thing the fisherman new to my trolling technique will notice--the boat does not stop. We continue forward motion if we hook a fish or a stump. Breaking off one bait is better than trying to stop and untangle many baits. My loss of one of the baits means more fishing time for you. I use a 112 pound thrust MinnKota RipTide i-Pilot remote control trolling motor. It allows me to set precise speeds as well as the course.
18.5 lb. flathead catfish caught while trolling crankbaits
I think every time on the water should be a learning experience, both for my clients and myself. I will take the time to not only explain what we are going to do on that day to catch fish but also why. I want you to be able to take the lessons learned fishing with me back to your local lake or fishing hole and apply them to your style of fishing. I feel I am there to learn from my time with you as well.
There is no such thing as a dumb question except those that are not asked. Feel free to ask about my boat, electronics, tackle, techniques, you name it.
Typical day on the water
I will meet you at the time and place we agree on. Promptness is a habit of mine. I will have the boat in the water and ready to go at the time we set. The vast majority of clients are paying to fish and not boat ride so I will have a plan for the areas I want to fish first. We will talk about boat safety and show you the equipment we will be using. We will cover a lot of water when longlining or pulling crankbaits. When bluegill/panfish, catfish, etc fishing, we may stay in a small area the entire time. If the bite isn't happening, we will move till the fish cooperate. This might be an area close or a few miles away. We might even have to switch fishing styles or species depending on the bite. After the trip, I will clean and package your catch. I typically fillet all the catch and have no problem keeping any fish that is legal to catch and keep. All creel limits and size linits will be strictly adhered to.
Kids and Fishing
I have worked most of my adult life with organizations that helped kids become outdoor loving adults. From 4H Shooting Sports to Friends of NRA/Eddie Eagle to taking a kid fishing days at a National Wildlife Refuge. Kids are the future of our outdoor plans and we need to take every chance to get them involved. I will do everything possible to make your trip a fun learning experience for your kids. Kids today are used to a faster speed of life than we had growing up. A day spent catching bluegills and catfish might be much more entertaining to them than trolling cranks. Think about that when you book your trip. I will have tackle for kids from 2 to 92.