Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fishing A Winter Tournament At Lake Jackson

At Jackson last winter fishing was as tough as expected in the Spalding County Sportsman Club January tournament. Many members let the weather guessers scare them off with the terrible weather they told us to expect but which never arrived. Only nine of us braved the chance of bad weather to fish for eight hours and land a total of seven bass weighing just under 17 pounds. Five of the nine didn’t land a keeper all day.

Niles Murray wore us all out and caught more than the rest of us put together. His four keepers weighing 9.93 pounds ran away with first place. I got one bite but it was a good one and my keeper largemouth weighing 4.09 pounds was good for second place and big fish. Third went to Billy Roberts with a keeper weighing 1.42 pounds and Brent Terry was fourth with one spotted bass weighing .98 pounds.

Niles said he caught his bass on a crankbait and most were on rocky banks and points. My one keeper hit a jig and pig on a rocky point. Brent said his fish hit a crankbait, too.

Although it did rain some, I kept my rain suit hood down most of the day. And it was much warmer than expected. I dressed for very cold weather but had to keep my heavy rain suit bibs and jacket unzipped and open most of the day. And, although thunderstorms were predicted, we never heard any thunder all day.

I started fishing my favorite area of the lake with crankbaits but did not get a hit the first hour. Out on the main lake the water was 48 degrees and very muddy, with a chartreuse crankbait disappearing about 3 inches under the water. After the first hour I went into Tussahaw Creek,and the further up it I went the clearer the water got but the colder it got, too.

Clearer did not mean much clearer! At the best I could see a crankbait down about six inches. And the water was only 45 degrees. I went all the way to the Highway 36 Bridge and thought I had one hit up there but was never sure.

I used all my skill to catch the one I got. I was throwing a crankbait around the bridge in Tussahaw and decided to crank up and run up to some docks further up the creek. But it started raining hard so I just kept fishing up the bank and caught the bass in a place I had never fished before, and would not have fished if the rain had not started.

I cast a black and blue jig and pig up on a rocky point and worked it slowly down the slope under the water. Somewhere around 12 to 15 feet deep my bait felt mushy and I set the hook on a heavy fish. I almost had a heart attack when it came to the surface and I saw how big it was. It did not fight very hard in the ice water, which was good since I was fishing by myself and had to net it while fighting it.

What Is Slip Bobber Fishing For Walleye?

Wobble Bobbin’ Slip Bobber Fishing for Walleyes

by Daniel Quade
from The Fishing Wire

Complex presentations get plenty of press these days, but few walleye tactics are as deadly-or as easy to fish-as the simple slip-bobber rig. With a well-balanced float, you can efficiently and precisely suspend mouthwatering live bait in front of hungry ‘eyes. Plus, you know exactly when a fish has inhaled your bait.

Guide Mike Christensen

Guide Mike Christensen

Guide Mike Christensen at Minnesota’s Mille Lacs knows where the big walleyes live.

Veteran guide Mike Christensen is a believer. Big time. From his home base out of historic Hunter Winfield’s Resort on the scenic south shores of Minnesota’s mighty Mille Lacs Lake, the jovial yet dead-serious walleye hunter launches literally hundreds of missions onto the fabled fishery with one goal in mind: connect clients with the big lake’s walleye bounty.

His success rate is epic, and one of his favorite presentations throughout much of the season is, you guessed it, a slip-float rig.

When wind whips the surface, a Thill Pro Series Slip Float rules the waves. He favors the size XXL version, a 1-incher that’s easy to see bobbing amidst the whitecaps. But when the wind dies and surface flattens, he deploys a new secret weapon that livens up his bait in spite of the lull-Thill’s Wobble Bobber.

Fresh on the walleye scene this season, the pear-shaped float rocks back and forth with the slightest ripple or twitch of the rodtip. “It’s ideal for calmer conditions,” he says. “If it’s absolutely dead flat, you can impart action to your bait just by shaking the rod.”

Thanks to an aerodynamic profile and slick internal weighting system, the Wobble Bobber also grabs serious air when slung from standard spinning tackle. Such long-casting properties are perfect for keeping your distance when targeting nervous ‘eyes roaming the shallows. Long casts also make it easy to thoroughly cover a reef or other structure from an anchored position-without moving the boat-and are a huge plus for the shore patrol.

Wobble Bobber

Wobble Bobber

When wind dies and bait action is minimal, a Wobble Bobber can liven up the bite.

Christensen says the Wobble Bobber is lethal for skinny water walleyes that are patrolling weeds, shallow rockpiles and boulders, or holding on the edge of steep breaks. “I use it in deep water situations as well,” he adds.

When it comes to the deep game, one of the classics is a pattern Christensen and fellow Mille Lacs guide Jon Thelen fondly call “road hunting.” At its core, the tactic involves cruising the tops and slow-tapering edges of promising reefs, mud flats, gravel bars and other promising areas at slow speeds, watching the sonar for signs of active fish hovering a foot or so off bottom.

“These are the biters,” says Christensen. “Bottom-huggers may eat if you park on top of them and wait it out, but we’d rather catch five aggressive walleyes in the time it takes to coax one less-active fish into eating.”

Proper sonar settings are crucial to distinguishing walleyes from clouds of baitfish or insects, as well as smaller fish such as perch. “I set the chart speed, sensitivity and color on my Humminbird sonar so suspended walleyes are identified by yellow highlights inside the arc,” Thelen explains. “On bottom, low-riding fish will have a bluish halo on the sides, while rocks won’t.”

Whether it’s calm or windy, Christensen likes the Wobble Bobber for road hunting because of its ability to deploy 20 to 30 feet of line more quickly than many conventional floats. “It has brass grommets at both ends, so line slides through it fast,” he says. “This is important with this presentation, because you want the bait in the strike zone before an aggressive fish moves off or settles back to bottom.”

His standard road-hunting rig includes a 7½- to 8½-foot spinning outfit. “A rod with a long, sensitive tip is key to good hooksets,” he says, explaining that when a fish pulls the float under water, the limber tip lets you reel up slack until you feel the weight of the fish on the line. “Otherwise, anglers have a tendency to set too soon. And when you try setting the hook before getting all the slack out of the line, you miss the fish.”

Christensen spools with 8-pound green monofilament mainline. After threading on an adjustable bobber stop, he slides on the Wobble Bobber and then ties a swivel to the business end, followed by a four-foot length of the same line. (Note: Christensen says that doubling the line makes it easier to thread through the Wobble Bobber.) A split shot large enough to balance the bobber is pinched on a foot or so beneath the swivel. “This reduces the chances of the rig tangling on the cast or the drop,” he notes.

Leeches are great walleye bait

Leeches are great walleye bait

Live leeches, hard to handle, are among walleyes’ favorite foods.

Another 24 to 30 inches below the shot, he adds a 1/32-ounce Lindy Jig. The leadhead sports a sturdy hook that’s large enough to hold a jumbo leech or half ‘crawler, yet is light enough to rise and fall seductively with the waves, or action imparted by the bobber.

Jigs also offer a more lifelike profile than plain hooks, he adds. “Hooks hang vertical, but I want a horizontal profile, which mimics the natural look of swimming prey,” he explains. While leeches are Christensen’s go-to bait, nightcrawlers often get the nod during bug hatches. “Hook them through the nose and pinch the crawler off halfway down,” he says.

To set the stop, he clips a Thill depth finder to the jig and drops it to bottom. “Set the bobber stop so the jig rides a foot above the fish-not a foot above the bottom,” he continues. “This is important, because active fish are looking up, and they’re far more likely to move up to hit the bait than they are to move down.”

Rigged and ready, Christensen idles over flat-topped feeding structures and gradually tapering edges along their sides. “Steep drops are tough to road hunt, because you have to change the depth of the jig,” he says.

Once a fish is marked, he flips the float directly behind the boat’s transom and pays out line so the jig can quickly reach the fish. “Let the boat drift away, to avoid spooking the fish,” he adds. “If it’s calm, twitch the cork to give the jig a little action.”

If nothing happens within a few minutes, Christensen reels in and moves on. “If they’re going to hit, they do it pretty fast,” he says. “On a good day, about one out of two to three drops results in a fish, so don’t waste time if the fish moves away or decides it’s not in the mood.”

How To Catch Deep South Bass After A Cold Front

How Deep-South Bass Deal With Fall Cold Fronts

(And How To Still Catch Them)

By William Redmond
from The Fishing Wire

Technically, it’s not “cold” just yet, but Mother Nature likes to fiddle with fishermen on the front and backside of winter with minor fronts that rattle the bass fishing cage just enough to push anglers outside their comfort zone. Adjustments may range from minor tweaks to major overhauls, and experienced fishermen keep all options open.

We asked a couple of top-shelf southern bass pros, Terry Scroggins and Zell Rowland, for their insight into making the right moves for fall’s post-front days. Scroggins knows Florida bass fishing as well as anyone in the country, and Zell’s been a South-Texas legend for many years. Each contributes advice on catching cold-front bass in their home states.


Fish thick cover after a cold front

Fish thick cover after a cold front

Elite Pro Terry Scroggins likes flippin’ with a heavy weight in thick cover after the first cold front of fall.

Scroggins said specific movements depend on the body of water. In rivers like the St. Johns, he looks for fish to stack around shell bars. You’ll keep the rods bent in this scenario, but he says that it’s definitely quantity over quality.

“A lot of times in the fall they’ll gang up on shell bars,” he said. “Typically, they’re not very big but you can still catch the numbers. That’s typically a fallback pattern that you can go to if you need it.

“Most of that is current-related (activity). The bait gets schooled up and the fish just sit there on ambush points, current breaks and things like that and wait for something to wash over them.”

When post-frontal bass hug tight to the shell bars, it’s hard to beat a Carolina rig. Just consider the scene: A pack of fish are holding on the structure’s down-current side with high hopes of nabbing an easy meal, when all of a sudden this noisy little egg-shaped deal comes clickity-clacking across that mound of bivalves. The intruder doesn’t look edible, but hold on just a second. What’s this tasty little morsel strolling along back there all by its lonesome?

No doubt, waking up the gang with a tungsten weight positioned 3- or 4-feet in front of a Yum Mighty Worm in Junebug or Red Bug is an easy sell. That being said, Scroggins knows that if the bite slows on the shell bar, he often can trigger a few more fish by changing the way he retrieves the rig.

Fish offshore after a cold front

Fish offshore after a cold front

Scroggins also finds fish on offshore shell bars, where a Carolina rig is hard to beat.

By switching from the standard Carolina rig lateral sweep to more of a sharp upstroke action, Scroggins maximizes the noise potential of his Carolina rig. The usual retrieve is certainly no stealthy approach – the weight rattles and rumbles in steady cadence — but when the weight jumps several inches off the bottom and belly flops back into the shell bed below, the resulting “crack” is a sure enough attention-getter.

At grassy Florida lakes like Okeechobee, there are more opportunities to target big bass as the season’s initial cold snaps trigger the fish to head for the safety of thick vegetation. The thicker the better, Scroggins said of this straight-up flip-fest.

“Anytime I encounter these conditions — which I like — I find the heaviest, densest cover and start flippin’,” he said. “Most of the time, the fish will be in 3 to 5 feet of water.”

In the weed mats, Scroggins keeps it simple – just a Texas-rigged Yum Wooly Bug, a stout 5/0 flipping hook and enough weight to drive the whole deal through the salad. Typical range is 1 ¼- to 1 ½-ounce, but Scroggins said he rarely pegs his weight when flipping and punching Florida lakes. He says that the thick layer of detritus (decaying organic matter) can stand several inches off the bottom and when a bait makes it through cover without drawing a bite, a pegged rig will take the bait beneath the muck where bass can’t see it. An unpegged weight will continue to the bottom, but the bait will stay on top of the gunk.


In weedy Texas Lakes like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, Zell Rowland expects early cold fronts to push bass up from their summer haunts to the shallow hydrilla beds. In Texas lakes featuring little or no grass (example: Conroe), the fronts usher bass up to shallow drops. These post-frontal zones are easy to spot with polarized glasses, as the light sandy bottom distinctly darkens with the falling depth.

You can catch fish after a cold front on topwater

You can catch fish after a cold front on topwater

Zell Rowland turns on Texas bass after a front with his namesake Zell Pop, among other lures

“Anytime that water temp starts to drop 6- to 10-degrees, those bass go crazy,” Rowland said. “It moves them up shallow. It almost gets them into a feeding frenzy like they do in the spring after they spawn.”

In grass-free lakes, Rowland finds that swimming a Texas-rigged Yum Money Minnow along those drop-off edges delivers plenty of action. Around grass, he favors a splashy surface display with his namesake XCalibur Zell Pop, a Rebel Pop-R or even a Zara Spook. If he thinks the fish require a really boisterous display, he’ll pull the old reliable Smithwick Devil’s Horse and get to sputtering.

For optimal grass-friendly presentations, Rowland also keeps a Booyah Pad Crasher frog handy – in walking and popping styles. And when the fish are really being stubborn, he’ll dress up his amphibian with No. 1 willow blades – one on each side of the double hook, attached with a swivel and split ring.

“This gives the bait flash and vibration, while those blades are also hitting each other and creating noise,” Rowland said.

Whatever he throws, Rowland said he reminds himself that these post-frontal fish may still feed, but they’re not nearly as rambunctious as they were before the chill. Therefore, casting accuracy is paramount.

“It’s really critical where you throw the bait – it has to be on the edge (of the grass or a drop-off),” Rowland said. “Your casts have to be pretty precise and then you have to experiment to see what speed they want the bait moving.”

How To Fish Muddy Water

Rain, rain go away. A year ago, who would have thought we would have such an excess of rain and be ready for it to stop. Lakes that are overflowing again were very low a year ago and there were dire predictions Lanier and others would never fill again. So much for such doomsayers.

My ponds are both overflowing and are muddy, as are most area ponds and lakes. Friday morning they could have filmed “A River Runs Through It” in my back yard, and I live near the top of a hill. My wife says she keeps expecting to look out the window and see water buffalo working there, getting it ready to plant rice.

Fish are amazingly adaptive. They can survive in very clear water when the lakes are low and in very muddy water when the lakes are high. I always wonder how bass find food when the water is so muddy a chartreuse crankbait disappears as soon as it goes under, but then I remember they can find a black plastic worm on the bottom on a pitch black night.

For a while the bluegill in my pond just quit feeding and I thought the muddy water had something to do with it, but Thursday and Friday they fed real good. I caught at least 15 bream each of those days in just a few minutes. A catfish even took my bait on Thursday, and I always think of them as warm weather feeders.

I asked on a bass fishing internet forum how people there respond to muddy, cold water and got several responses. The one I try to remember most came from a well known outdoor writer and bass tournament fisherman that lives in the Northeast. He said he is sure the muddy, cold water affects the fisherman’s attitude more than it affects the fish.

He says he has caught bass on smoke colored grubs in extremely muddy water. Those baits are usually best in very clear water. Bu the did say his go-to bait was a big heavy black jig and pig that he drug along the bottom, moving it very slowly. That bait has caught a lot of big bass for him.

The Flint River Bass Club is at Lake Sinclair today and I guess I will have a big black jig and pig tied on. But I will also try my lighter black and blue jig and pig as well as chartreuse crankbaits. I also plan on trying a slider rig – a 1/16 ounce jig head with a four inch curly tail worm on it. There is a big tournament going on while we are fishing so the bass will be under a lot of pressure, so I will try to “finesse” one or two.

Sinclair is a popular lake this time of year since the warm water discharge from the power plant there warms some of the lake a few degrees. The warmer water attracts baitfish and bass follow, and are slightly more active than in colder water. I will be watching my temperature gauge and trying to stay in the warmest water I can find.

Fishing Spinnerbaits

Spin Up Some Fall Bass Fast in Northern Lakes

Spinnerbait secrets for late-season success

By Dan Johnson
from The Fishing Wire

Use a big spinnerbait

Use a big spinnerbait

Beefy spinnerbaits like Terminator’s T-1 Original are great options for tackling deep fall bass other anglers miss.

Duck hunters’ jonboats may outnumber bass boats on many lakes in mid to late fall, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fine fishing to be found. Both largemouths and smallmouths offer great opportunities for bass fans faithful enough to pursue their favorite fish deep into autumn.

One of the most effective and easiest to fish patterns hinges on the simple but deadly spinnerbait. Just ask bassin’ ace Scott Bonnema, who slings blades for burly bass virtually until first ice ushers in the hard-water season. “From the time water temperatures hit the low to upper 50-degree range, right through ice-up, is some of the best fishing of the year on North-country lakes,” he says.

While shoreline reed beds, docks and other skinny water cover and structure may be tempting targets, the action actually heats up farther from the bank, in depths of 12 to 14 feet or more, depending on the lake. “As shallow weed growth dies off, bass slide out into deeper vegetation that’s still green and healthy, such as clumps of coontail and cabbage,” he explains.

Structurally speaking, one of his favorite finds is a weed-crowned underwater hump, although points, inside turns and other irregularities have potential as well. Access to deeper water is a plus, but bass have no problem wintering on flats in the 20-foot range, so don’t limit your search to areas adjacent to extreme depths.

To find fish fast, Bonnema idles his boat over likely lies, keenly eyeing the split-screen display on his Humminbird 1198c electronics. As GPS mapping guides him along key contours and across prime flats, sonar returns-both in traditional and picture-like Down Imaging mode-highlight promising weed patches and fish lurking in or near the greenery.

Big fish like spinnerbaits

Big fish like spinnerbaits

Make long casts and allow the bait to settle on bottom before beginning your retrieve.

On the presentational front, he favors hefty spinnerbaits in the ¾- to 1½-ounce class for their ability to cover deep water in search of fish, as well as trigger strikes. One of his favorite designs is Terminator’s T-1 Original Titanium Spinnerbait. It stands up to abuse from bass and bonus northern pike, and has beveled blades and an easy-to-swap, QuickChange silicone skirt.

“Experiment with skirt color, along with blade finish and style, to find what the fish prefer,” he says. “I typically start with a white skirt and chrome, double willow-leaf blades for largemouths. Smallmouths love chartreuse, so adding a touch of that to the pattern can make a big difference.”

Colors that mimic baitfish are also hot. “For the most part, bass are feeding on young of the year sunfish-we call them bass potato chips-as well as various minnows and juvenile yellow perch,” he adds. “So darker colors, along with golds and blues, have their place, too.”

A variety of middleweight spinning and casting tackle works for this tactic. Bonnema prefers a medium to medium-heavy, 7-foot Lew’s Tournament Speed Stick, which offers ample length for long casts, and plenty of backbone for solid hooksets. A tractor-geared casting reel like the 5.1:1 model in Lew’s BB1 Pro Speed Spool lineup is a plus for pulling big baits slowly along bottom. He typically spools up with 14-pound Sufix Castable Invisiline fluorocarbon, but bumps up to 17-pound test in dirty water.

After firing out a cast, Bonnema lets the spinnerbait settle. “One of the most common mistakes I see people make this time of year is to throw way out there and instantly start to reel it in,” he says. “It’s important to let it hit bottom.” When the bait lands, he tightens the line and gives it a sharp snap to start the blades spinning.

The ensuing retrieve is unhurried and relatively inanimate. “It’s natural to want to fish fast and cover water, but you need to keep the bait moving slow and steady over the weed clumps-not making the bass chase it too hard,” he says. “When you tick grass, snap the spinnerbait out and let it flutter back down.”

Slowly ticking a spinnerbait across deep weed clumps is key to consistent catches once bass abandon shoreline cover.

Getting the first strike is often key to a flurry of action. “Bass are a little more lethargic right now, but once you trigger one, the rest of the group gets excited and you can usually catch a few more from the same area,” he says. “In fact, anytime you catch a fish, mark the spot with a waypoint or marker buoy, or make a good mental note of the location, and target it with multiple casts.”

Bonnema believes time of day is also a factor in the pattern. “The morning bite is good, but you don’t need to be out at first light like earlier in the season,” he says. “As the day warms, the fish move higher in the weeds, and you can be a little more aggressive with your presentation.”

One word of caution is in order for northern anglers, however. When fall turnover occurs, it can shut down the fishing in a hurry. “It’s like flipping a switch,” says Bonnema. “You know right away what happened. Weeds and bottom debris are floating everywhere, the water looks dingy, and the bass aren’t biting.”

When turnover strikes, he suggests switching to a lake that’s not undergoing this annual process, or waiting at least a week to fish the affected lake again.

In the end, the deep game can be intimidating to anglers accustomed to flipping and pitching close to shore, but it’s a simple and stellar tactic for tapping the fine fall fishing overlooked by all but a few die-hard bass fans.

Yellowjackets and Fishing

I should have killed the yellow jackets in the nest at my dock faster. A few days ago when I went to the farm and when I got near the dock I would see the yellow jackets flying around their hole. I really didn’t think it was a problem and went out on the dock to fish.

I guess my dog Rip was attracted to the noise, or he just stepped in the wrong place. I heard him “yip” and when I looked at him his black coat was half yellow. He was furiously pawing at his face and scratching. When I yelled at him he finally came to me on the dock. Unfortunately, he brought the yellow jackets with him.

I grabbed Rip and threw him in the water, which helped him but left many of the swarm of mad yellow jackets with me. They started stinging me and I took my cell phone and wallet out of my pocket and got ready to jump in the pond myself.

I guess I knocked enough of them off me and killed them that they stopped. I noticed the bream were having a feast on the bugs in the water when I realized Rip had gone back to the bank, right at the nest, and was covered with them again.

Rip hates swimming and often will not come near me on the dock. I think he remembers past trips when I helped him into the water to cool off. Anyway, this time he came running to me, like he realize getting in the water helped. I threw him in again and, again got some stings before I could kill the ones around me.

When I looked for Rip he had swam to the bank and was sitting in the water up to his neck. He knew staying in the water protected him this time.

When I got him and eased around the nest I noticed something had been digging at it. The next day I went back with a drink of gasoline for the striped stingers but they were gone. There was a much bigger hole and parts of the nest were on the dock where something had dug it up and ate the larvae. The rest of the bugs went away.

Raccoons and skunks will dig up nest like that. I guess the meal is worth the pain, or their furry coats protect them. I wonder if armadillos will dig them up, too. The armor plating on a possum on the half shell should protect them from the stings.

No matter what dug them up, I am glad they are gone!

Kingfish Fishing

Saltwater Fishing’s Fall Classic for Kingfish
from The Fishing Wire

The SKA® National Championship and Yamaha Professional Kingfish Championship in Biloxi this November are the offshore equivalent of the Bassmaster Classic® and more

Big King Fish Mackerel

Big King Fish Mackerel

Monster king mackerel like this one are the target in the Southern Kingfish Association’s National Championship, which gets underway Nov. 4 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Winning Kingfish at Tournament

Winning Kingfish at Tournament

Big payouts await the winners in these tournaments, but the competition is tough–and sometimes, so are the seas.

If you want to see hundreds of the most exotic, high-performance center console fishing boats on the water today, fielded by the top competition saltwater fishing teams in the nation going head-to-head for big cash purses and glory, then you better head to the Golden Nugget Casino and Marina in Biloxi, Miss. for the week of November 4th. It promises to be an amazing display of fishing prowess and the newest, hottest boats and gear.

Kingfish boat powered by three Yamaha Outboards

Kingfish boat powered by three Yamaha Outboards

Triple power like these big Yamaha’s is favored for dependability and speed during top-tier tournaments.

The Southern Kingfish Association (SKA®) is the largest saltwater fishing tournament organization in the nation. Structured somewhat like the Bass Angler Sportsmans Society (B.A.S.S.®), it has ten regional divisions that stretch from N.C. to La., pretty much everywhere king mackerel are found in U.S. waters in abundance. Each division has at least three SKA® sanctioned kingfish tournaments per year that are open to members from within or outside of that division, for a total of 45 events in 2013. By entering and placing in divisional tournaments, teams earn points in addition to cash and prizes offered in each event. At the end of the season the top teams, as determined by the points earned in those events, are invited to compete in the National Championship in Biloxi.

There are two levels of divisional competition, the “open class,” dedicated to the biggest, baddest most powerful boats you can bring to the tournaments; and the “small boat class,” which limits boat size to no larger than 23-feet 11-inches at the water line. While large boats can only compete in the open class, small boats are permitted to compete in either class, but the team must declare which class it will fish at registration before a tournament begins.

In addition to the divisional competition, the most consistently successful teams are invited to step up to the SKA® Professional Kingfish Tour, which culminates with the highly anticipated Yamaha Professional Kingfish Championship. The money and prizes offered to the top-tier competitors makes for top-flight competition. Every division tournament has a pro class, which leads up to the final pro event of the year held in Biloxi the same week as the SKA® National Championship.

Like B.A.S.S.®, the SKA® is devoted to fishing for a single species-king mackerel. These missile-shaped pelagic gamefish are long, strong, very fast and sport a mouth full of teeth that can slice and dice pretty much anything they want to eat. Kings are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, around the horn of the Florida peninsula and northwards as far as Virginia. Their range pretty much sets the range of the sanctioned tournaments. Unlike B.A.S.S.®, where tournaments are individual angler events, SKA® sanctioned tournaments are team efforts. Each boat can be “manned” by two to six people.

In an effort to make their tournaments more family-oriented, SKA® has offered special awards, trophies and even scholarships for female and junior anglers for more than 20 years. There are teams made up of fathers, mothers and their children. A great example is Team Ocean Isle Fishing Center from N.C., fielded by the McMullan family. At any given tournament there can be three generations aboard; Grandfather Rube, fathers Brant and Barrett, mother Amy and one or more of the family’s children including daughter Caroline.

The McMullan’s compete in a Yamaha-powered 32-foot Yellowfin center console in both divisional and pro events. Two years ago they weighed the largest kingfish ever brought to the scales in 25 years of SKA® tournaments, breaking the Mississippi state record in the process. The fish weighed an amazing 74 pounds. There is usually a large and very vocal audience filling the bleachers at tournament weigh-in time, and this fish brought them to their feet. Many more spectators walk the docks discussing the boats, talking to teams to learn more about the fish and fishing, and just drinking in the festive atmosphere that is the SKA® Nationals.

What makes the SKA® unique is the level of competition and the unbelievably harsh demands tournament teams put on their boats, motors and tackle. They fish in rough weather, think nothing of making runs of up to 100 miles in a day to find that one big king, and then racing back to the scales in time for weigh-in. It has made SKA® competitors a driving force in the development of bigger, stronger, better-handling boats and larger, stronger, more powerful and dependable outboards. So it stands to reason that when you get to the Championships in Biloxi in November, you will be seeing the best-of-the-best in fishing boats, engines and fishing tackle being used by the best tournament teams in the nation.

Here’s how the week shapes up. Registration for the Yamaha Professional Kingfish Championship takes place at the Golden Nugget on November 4th, but many teams will have arrived a day or two early to scout out bait and pre-fish the area. Tuesday and Wednesday are fishing days, and Thursday is registration for the National Championship and awards presentation for the Pros. Friday and Saturday are the fishing days for the Nationals, and Sunday is the awards presentation. There are numerous parties, gatherings, sponsor displays and more during the week. This year, Garmin Marine Electronics will be sponsoring a live simulcast of both events. To learn more, go to and click on the banner for the Nationals. It’s one of the biggest events hosted by the city of Biloxi each year, and this one promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Is Spring Bass Fishing Good On Jackson Lake In Georgia?

Spring Bassin’ On Jackson

Jackson Lake is like some of us older fishermen that visit it often. It has gone through many changes over its life and the cycles of its bass population reflect the good and bad fishing trips all of us have experienced. Right now the lake seems to have settled down into a steady fishery, not as hot and gung-ho as in the past but reliable and more even-tempered.

Living in Griffin, Jackson is the closest lake to me. I joined the Spalding County Sportsman Club in 1974 and the Flint River Bass Club in 1978 and both clubs fish Jackson several times each year. Our tournaments have seen the changes over the years and we have fished all the cycles it has been through.

I caught my first two 8 pound bass at Jackson, the first in a January club tournament in 1978 and the second in a January club tournament in 1983. My biggest bass ever, a 9-7, came in a February club tournament there in 1991. In a 1979 December tournament at Jackson Larry Stubbs netted a big fish for me early that morning and I netted one for him after lunch. Mine weighed 7-14 and his weighed 7-7.

A December tournament in 1987 showed what Jackson could produce. Early that morning I landed a bass that I knew was over 7 pounds. After lunch I netted a bigger one for my partner Roy Davis. At weigh-in my bass weighed 7-4. Tony Evans had one weighing 7-8. Larry Stubbs had one weighing 9-1. And the one I netted for Roy weighed 9-2!

Those kinds of catches were not unusual back then. Unfortunately, those days are gone. I have not landed a bass over 7 pounds at Jackson since 1991 and we have not had a 7 pounder weighed in there in many years.

In a club tournament in the early 1990s I saw the future. We had a spotted bass weighed in, the first one any of us in the club had seen from that lake. According to the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Creek Census Report, in 1994 99.52 percent of the bass weighed in during club tournaments at Jackson were largemouth. By 2004 almost 45 percent of the bass weighed in were spots.

There may be a relationship between the decline in big largemouth and the increase in the numbers of spots. In simple terms, an acre of lake water can support a set number of pounds of bass, say 100 pounds. Since spots are more aggressive than largemouth but don’t grow as large, you might swap 20 largemouth from 2 to 10 pounds for 50 spots from 1 to 3 pounds in that acre of water.

There are still big largemouth at Jackson. Each year there are a few 8 pound plus fish caught in tournaments. Unfortunately, they make the news now because they are the exception rather than the rule. State fisheries biologists still shock up 10 pound fish at Jackson, but they are very hard to catch.

So what does all this mean for your spring fishing trip to Jackson? It means you are less likely to catch a big largemouth but should be able to catch a bunch of spots. You can still target largemouth and they will win most tournaments, but you can catch more bass if you go after the spots. The patterns and places you will catch them differ a little.

Spots tend to live a little deeper than largemouth and like rocks. They even bed in deeper water than largemouth and tend to bed on rocky places rather than the very backs of coves. They don’t move as far from prespawn to spawn and back to post spawn, and they are not affected as much by cold fronts.

Smaller baits usually work better for spotted bass. Start in early April working small crankbaits and jigs and pigs around rocky points at the mouths of creeks and coves. Spots are more aggressive so you can move faster, covering more water to find the fish if you are after spotted bass.

When spots start to spawn in the middle to late part of the month, look for them on secondary rocky or gravel points and banks near the mouth of the cove. You probably won’t be able to spot them on the bed since they will be deeper, but a jig and pig or Carolina rigged lizard dragged across spawning areas should make them hit.

After the spawn the spots will hold on rocky points and feed. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a jig and pig will all catch them. Fish the baits fairly fast and jump from point to point. Wind blowing in on the point will make it even better. Spots seem to like bright colors, so chartreuse plugs and spinnerbaits are good.

Topwater baits are also good late in April and in May. Work a buzzbait or Pop-R around points on the main lake and in the coves and creeks for spots. Largemouth like those baits, too. You can fish into the coves, concentrating on wood cover for them. Work a Pop-R slowly over a brush pile or around a log for largemouth.

Early in April largemouth should be moving back into the pockets to get ready to spawn. Fish a spinnerbait around any wood cover from the mouths of the pockets to half way back, and follow the bass as they move further back later in the month. Also try a Trick worm fished slowly around wood cover and docks.

During the spawn look for beds way back in the pockets. You may find a big female on the bed and you can get her to bite a tube or lizard dropped into the bed. Sight fishing for a big bass is one of the most exciting and nerve wracking ways to fish.

A topwater plug fished slowly over the bed will work, too. Randy Crosby grew up in Griffin and fished Jackson a lot in the 1980s and early 1990s. He landed six bass from 10-14 to 11-14 from Jackson and four of them came in the spring. One of his favorite tactics was to fish a Bang-O-Lure slowly around wood cover all the way back in the pockets.

Post spawn female largemouth tend to be sluggish and not move much for a week or so. One of the best ways to get them to bite is to cast a Carolina rigged lizard or Trick worm to gravel secondary points and let is sit there. Deadstick it, not moving it for several minutes at a time, is often the only way to get them to hit. Keep your line tight enough to see it move when one hits and set the hook hard.

As the post spawn fish get more active they will move toward the deeper water and you can catch them by fishing topwater baits and spinnerbaits around wood cover. Also try Texas rigged plastics around docks, brush piles and logs. Follow ditches and channels probing for cover along them to find the migrating bass.

In late spring, look for brush piles in deeper water for largemouth. Fish big crankbaits like a Norman’s DD22N, Mann’s 20+ or a Fat Free Shad that will run down and tick the top limbs of the brush. Use shad colors. If the plug does not draw a strike, try a jig and pig or a big Texas rigged worm like an Ole Monster.

Spots should be deep on rocky points and humps. The same deep running plugs will attract them as will Trick worms and Finesse worms on Carolina rigs. Fan cast rocky points with both types of baits covering water from 10 to 25 feet deep.

All spring, after a cold front your best bet will be spotted bass. Stick with main lake rocky points that drop fast into deep water and fish a jig and pig or Carolina rigged Finesse worm on them. Slow down some, but keep it moving. Concentrate on any points with wind blowing into them.

Although my clubs have not produced any 7 pound bass for a long time, we did have two over six pounds and three more over five pounds each weighed in last year. Even during the good years Jackson was very cyclical. For two or three years even smaller bass would be hard to catch, then for a couple of years bigger and bigger bass would appear. Then it would crash and you would wonder how you ever caught a bass over two pounds at Jackson for a couple of years. The lake seems to be improving right now so give it a try.

Take your pick of largemouth or spots and you should have a good trip. Of if you are fishing a tournament, go for a quick limit of spots then look for a kicker largemouth. No matter what you target, Jackson will produce some good catches for you this spring.

Booyah Baits Help Jordan Lee Make the Classic

Jordan Lee makes the Classic

Jordan Lee makes the Classic

Jordan Lee Fishes BOOYAH To Championship, Classic
from The Fishing Wire

Q: What’s in the water at Auburn University?
A: Bass

Auburn student Jordan Lee is on his way to the Bassmaster Classic thanks to a win in the College Championship.

For two years in a row, final round of the Carhartt College Series Bassmaster Classic tournament came down to two Auburn University anglers battling for the opportunity to fish the Bassmaster Classic. One of them, Jordan Lee, was in that same position last year, then fishing against his brother, Matt. Matt edged him out and qualified to fish the 2013 Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees.

This year the anglers were fishing for entry to a Classic held on a body of water Jordan considers his home lake, and his final-day opponent was an angler he considers “like a brother,” his best friend and tournament partner Shane Powell.

“We’ve been best friends since we started college,” Shane said. “We’ve been tournament partners since the first semester.”

The three-day event on the Grand River in Michigan pitted one team from Auburn, one from Eastern Washington University, one from Young Harris College and one from Auburn University at Montgomery in a head-to-head bracket style tournament. With Jordan in the top half of the bracket and his partner Shane in the bottom half, a best-friend-versus-best-friend finals was a distinct possibility.

If Shane and Jordan beat the competitors they were matched against on Friday and Saturday, Sunday would again be an all-Auburn final. And that’s how it went down.

Launch for the event was in the Spring Lake area of Grand River, and Jordan fished the lake the entire tournament, while Shane normally picked up a fish or two from areas around the ramp before fishing a portion of the river for the rest of the tournament. Jordan found an area in the lake that featured water depths he liked, docks and vegetation, and this 600- to 700-yard stretch is where he fished all three days.

The Booyah Poppin’ Pad Crasher frog scored well for Lee in the backs of coves during the tournament.

Jordan rode three main lures to the trophy, a BOOYAH Poppin’ Pad Crasher for skipping under docks and to vegetation, a 3/8-ounce BOOYAH Blade spinnerbait retrieved at high speeds, and a YUM Wooly Bug for flipping.

When the water was flat he could catch them on the Poppin’ Pad Crasher, a hollow body frog with a cupped mouth that chugs water, especially when the sun was bright. Early mornings and when there was chop or a lot of boat wakes he caught his fish on the double willowleaf spinnerbait in Snow White color pattern. His spinnerbait fish hit while he “burned” the bait around docks.

When the wind really kicked up and boat traffic was at its highest on Saturday, he flipped the Wooly Bug around the docks and caught six or seven more, culling a few times.

He said the pieces to his pattern really didn’t come together until the first day of the tournament, when he caught four of his five-fish limit on the Poppin’ Pad Crasher, including big bass of the tournament, a 4-pound, 1-ounce largemouth that netted him an extra $500 on top of the boat, truck and $5,000.

Lee also scored by “burning” a Booyah Blade in 3/8 ounce size, which he said matched the baitfish at Grand River.

He caught his fifth Day 1 weigh-in fish burning the spinnerbait, and brought the biggest sack of the tournament to the scales, 15-pounds, 2-ounces.

What keyed him into the spinnerbait bite was the size of the baitfish in the area he was fishing. The smaller spinnerbait blades on the BOOYAH Blade matched the size of baitfish. He also trimmed the skirt up to the point right beyond the hook bend to give it a smaller overall profile.

The frog he skipped as shallow as possible under and around docks as well as in any vegetation that was protected from the wind. Color pattern on the Poppin’ Pad Crasher was Aqua-Frog, and he trimmed the spinnerbait-style legs to give it a more subtle surface disturbance.

“I also trimmed one leg about a half-inch shorter than the other so it walked easier,” he said.

On day two, extra boat traffic and wind created more chop than the other two days. He’d put a small limit in the livewell, but the conditions were so different than what he’d experienced that with an hour-and-a-half left he pulled out a flippin’ stick and started hitting the docks with a Wooly Bug in Green Pumpkin color.

Lee also added a few fish to his bag by flippin’ a YUM Wooly Bug soft plastic.

“I caught five or six fish and culled once or twice,” he said “I knew there were still fish there but they wouldn’t hit the frog or the spinnerbait. The Wooly Bug is a smaller flippin’ bait that also matched the size of the baitfish.”

At Day 2 weigh-in, Shane brought in a limit weighing 11-pounds, 7-ounces, to win his bracket, and Jordan easily won his match-up, so the final day was set for an emotional, all-Auburn shoot-out.

Jordan started the day by burning the spinnerbait around docks and had a good limit within an hour or so. He culled several times before the action slowed, then switched to the frog and started hitting the calm areas at the backs of docks and in any vegetation, and culled again before heading to the final weigh-in.

Shane brought his bag to the stage first, and even though it held big-bass for the day, was one short of a limit. Jordan brought in a 5-bass limit weighing an even 12 pounds, and celebrated with the monkey off his back and his ticket to the Classic punched.

“I told (Shane) I know how he feels,” Jordan said. “I felt that way last year, getting beaten by my brother, and honestly it made me work harder. I told Shane’s parents the day before that I would be pulling for him, and that he’s my best friend. We all want to fish the Classic.”

For Jordan, getting to fish a Bassmaster Classic on his home lake is like a dream come true. It’s a body of water he fishes more than 30 times a year, and loves fishing it in winter and early spring. He even recalled skipping high school basketball practice one February day to prefish a tournament on Guntersville.

“I grew up fishing there,” he said. “I fished my first tournament on Guntersville when I was 15 years old. Last year I won a BFL there, and a B.A.S.S. Weekend Series event there in early March of 2009. It’s probably my favorite place to fish.”

Where Can I Catch Spring Crappie In Georgia?

Slab Time In The Peach State
Catching Spring Crappie In Georgia

If you have missed out on the ritual of catching crappie in Georgia in the spring you have missed one of the most enjoyable fishing experiences our state offers. The action is fast, the fish taste great and thousands of your fellow anglers take advantage of some of the best fishing Georgia has to offer.

Growing up near Clarks Hill I experienced the excitement each spring. Word would spread around McDuffie County like pine pollen blowing in the April wind – “The crappie are in the bushes.” Everyone from farmers who got in a boat once a year to bass fishermen who concentrated on largemouth 50 weeks a year to mommas and young kids would head to the lake to catch a mess of crappie.

This was the time to fill your freezer for fish fries that would last for months. For a two to three week period every cove at the lake would have several boats full of fishermen easing round the bank dropping minnows or jigs beside button bushes and pulling out shinning crappie. Everyone had a big smile on their face.

In lakes all over Georgia crappie go through their spawning cycle and fishermen show up to catch them. With a little effort you can expand the two week spawn when they are shallow into a full spring of catching fish. And you can do it on almost any public lake near you.

During the winter crappie are suspended out over big water, usually around some kind of wood. They hold over brush piles and tree tops and you can catch them but the weather is not very much fun and they are hard to find. Trolling and jigging is the most effective way to catch them.

As the water starts to warm in late February and early March the fish start to move toward the spawning areas. Depending on how fast it warms up, some crappie may be back in the spawning areas in late February but by mid to late March you can count on some laying eggs. Late March and early April is usually the prime time to catch them shallow.

Usually by mid to late April the shallow action is gone and the fish are heading back to deeper water. As they work out you can troll for them or shoot docks on lakes with lots of them. You can hit them in blowdowns on deeper banks toward the main lake. Then by early summer it is back to trolling and jigging in deeper water.

Spring is the time bank fishermen catch their share of crappie, too. From late February to late April the crappie are more likely to be near the bank and in reach of fishermen without boats. Find access at boat ramps, parks, fishing piers and roads that run near the water. Stay on public land and you can catch them.

If fishing from the bank it is a good idea to have several rods and poles so you can cover a fairly wide area. Keep some baits in near the bank but make long casts with others. When you catch one fish put all your bait in that spot because a school of crappie is probably moving through the area.

One exciting way to catch crappie on all our lakes is to tie up under a bridge or beside a treetop in deep water, hang a lantern over the side or drop a light into the water and wait for the shad to come to the light. Crappie will follow them and you can again load your boat. Many bridges look like small cities this time of year as dozens of boats light them up.

You can catch crappie all around Georgia but some lakes are better than others. Clarks Hill seems to always be good as are most bigger lakes. But don’t forget the smaller public waters like Public Fishing Areas and State Parks. If you live near one you know how good the fishing can be.

The following six lakes should all be good for crappie this spring. Choose one near you, hook up the boat if you have one, grab some poles and enjoy this ritual of spring.

Lake Allatoona

Although not known as a crappie hot spot, Allatoona has a good population of crappie and many anglers take advantage of it. Early spring fishing is good and there is less of the famed pleasure boat traffic on Allatoona. You can fish in relative peace.

The crappie fishing at Allatoona has been consistent for several years, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. (WRD) The crappie you catch should average about one-half pound and be just over eight inches long. Some crappie weighing a pound are better should be in your catch, too.

There is very little shoreline cover like bushes to fish unless the water is very high, so look for shallow crappie around blowdowns and brush piles put out by fishermen. There are also some docks to fish in the creeks.

Troll the creeks for them in the early spring then drop a jig or minnow beside any kind of wood cover when they are spawning.

Look for crappie back in Kellogg, Illinois and Stamp Creek. The DNR says these are all good places for crappie. You are likely to catch some of the biggest crappie of the year while the females are full of eggs and back in the spawning areas in the early spring.

As the water warms follow the crappie back out by trolling toward the mouths of the creeks. By early summer they will be schooled up on state brush piles and other cover put out by anglers on drops and humps on the main lake. Fishing for them at night will help you avoid most of the boat traffic and gives you the best chance of catching them.

Lake Harding

Lake Harding, also known as Bartletts Ferry, has a good population of big crappie. According to the DNR at least half the crappie in the lake are in the 10 to 14 inch range and will weigh about one-half to three-fourths of a pound. There are many larger fish that you can catch, too.

In late February crappie start moving into the many pockets and small creeks on the lake. Almost all these creeks and pockets have docks in them and many have brush piles around them. Crappie will move following the deeper water and you can catch them by trolling jigs. Then they will hold on the shallow dock posts and brush piles to spawn and this is a good time to shoot jigs under the docks and dabble jigs and minnows around the shallow cover.

Also look for the cypress trees planted by the WRD and Georgia Power on shallow areas on the main lake. The root balls of these trees often hold spawning crappie. Fish all around them with jigs and minnows, just like fishing shallow brush in the creeks.

As the crappie start to move out they will hold on deeper docks. Late spring is a good time to shoot jigs back under the docks into the shady areas where they are feeding. Try to get all the way back under docks to the heaviest shade on bright, sunny days. Respect dock owners and skip docks where they are fishing, there will be plenty of empty docks to fish.

There are six fish attractors put out by the WRD that offer excellent fishing as summer approaches. Drop minnows and jigs around them during the day or anchor and fish over them at night with a light. You can do the same kind of fishing in the river by tying up to treetops and logs in deeper water.

Lake Blackshear

When you first see Lake Blackshear you can’t help but think it is crappie heaven. And it is. The acres of cypress trees standing in shallow water, numerous docks and bridges all look like crappie hot spots and they are. Add to those places the 10 brush piles put out by the WRD and you can find crappie all over the lake.

According to the WRD you will catch both black and white crappie on Blackshear and the populations of both is fair. Most of the fish are under 10 inches long but there are a good many pound to pound-and-a-half fish to be caught. Early spring is the best time to get the bigger fish.

Blackshear is far enough south that many are spawning by late February. Look for them in the cypress tree root balls and around the docks in Collins Branch, Spring Creek, Gum Creek and Boy Scout Slough. Up the river all the backouts have good spawning areas as do many of the main river runs.

Drop jigs and minnows beside cypress tress but remember the root ball may extend out several feet. Fish from right beside the trunk out at least three feet from it. A minnow swimming around just over the root ball should be hit, and you can drop jigs down to the same areas.

By late March there are still good populations of crappie holding around docks but you can also catch them off the state brush piles or around the bridges. Fish both areas day or night from late March on through the summer.

Also troll creek channel ledges for them. Take lots of bug spray.

Lake Sinclair

Probably our most popular crappie fishing lake in the winter because of the warm water released from the Georgia Power steam plant, Sinclair is a good bet all spring long, too. Year after year it produces good catches of crappie and that should continue this year.

There are some two-pound plus crappie caught each year at Sinclair and most are over eight inches long. About a third of the crappie at Sinclair are 10 inches long or longer and will weigh over half a pound. In the spring they will be fat and heavy.

You can start trolling for crappie and catching them early at Sinclair if you concentrate on water warmed by the outflow in Beaverdam Creek. By early March many crappie will be found in the backs of coves looking for spawning areas around docks, brush and bushes. The area from Beaverdam Creek to the dam will see fish move in earlier with those up the Little River and Oconee River arms moving in shallow a little later.

Check out Rooty Creek for good spawning areas all during the spring. The lower creek is warmed by Beaverdam some when pumpback is running at Oconee and the upper end warms a little later. Drop minnows and jigs around dock posts and brush back in the creeks. The back one third should be best early when the fish are spawning.

When the water hits the mid 60s the fish are mostly finished spawning and moving back out. Start shooting docks in the coves, concentrating on the docks in the outer two-thirds of the creek. When you catch a crappie around a dock stay there, there should be others as they school up this time of year.

There are several good state brush piles to fish in late spring and the main lake docks hold crappie, too. Troll the open water around the brush piles or shoot jigs to deeper docks in late spring to find the fish. Many crappie are also caught under the Little River bridge from late spring to summer.

Hamburg Lake

One of the most peaceful places to catch crappie may also be the best to catch big crappie. Hamburg is a 225 acre lake located in Hamburg State Park just north of Sandersville. Motors are limited to 10 horsepower so the lake stays quiet and calm. You can camp there and boat rental is also available.

Although crappie you catch at Hamburg will average about a half-pound, there are a good many two-pound-plus fish in the lake. The lake is full of stumps and crappie love wood cover, so you can usually locate them fairly easily.

In the early spring look for stump beds and brush out from the bank and either troll carefully through the area or cast jigs to them. As the water warms cast jigs to all the shoreline cover or dabble minnows in it. In late spring troll the old river channel and fish the standing timber along it with jigs and minnows.

When fishing standing timber, try to find the depth the crappie are holding by spotting them on a depthfinder. If you can’t see the fish for the forest, drop a live minnow or jig down and work it deeper and deeper until you catch a crappie. When you catch one note the depth and concentrate on it, that is the depth most of the crappie should be holding.

Lake Hartwell

Hartwell is a big lake with lots of arms and they all offer good crappie fishing. Different parts of the lake warm at different rates so you can usually find a variety of types of fishing at the same time. You can pick one area to fish and follow them as they move in or try to hit spawning crappie over different areas and extend that catch.

There was an excellent crappie spawn a few years ago after the water was down and that year class is getting bigger every year. They should be around 10 to 12 inches long this year and weigh about three-fourths of a pound. There are bigger crappie in the lake but for a good average size Hartwell should be excellent this year.

Start looking for crappie over structure like roadbeds and standing timber near the mouths of coves and creeks in early March. As the water warms follow the schools back into the creeks and coves, trolling for them. Watch for schools of baitfish as well as the crappie as you troll. They will often follow the shad as them move in, too.

By early April the crappie should be back in the coves spawning around bushes and other cover. Check out Eastanollee, Gum Log and Shoal Creek for better chances at crappie since those creeks have more color to the water and you can catch more there. If the water is too clear it is hard to get them to bite if they are real shallow, and the stained water is more fertile and supports more fish.

Late in the spring follow the fish back out trolling the creek channels and over standing timber. Night fishing is excellent in the clear water under bridges and over the standing timber. Use a bright light and fish your favorite jig or live minnow. Try different depths until the fish start hitting and tell you where they are holding if you don’t see them on your depthfinder.

All of these lakes offer great crappie fishing this spring. Pick one near you or head out to find new waters. Don’t miss one of the best times of the year to catch crappie.