Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bartlett Lake Crappie Fishing - Rick's Success

Fish Count: 29 Crappie, 2 Bluegill Total: 31

Rick caught the very first crappie of his entire life and it was a monster! 2lb'er! Congratulations!

The morning started off cold, breezy and slow! I had gotten word from RC and Kyle that the crappie were hitting around the dock, to the tune of 40-50 crappie a person every day! The problem was, dad did not want to leave our old spot to fish in the public location with a bunch of Ridge Runners! After sitting in our old spot for 30 minutes without so much as a nibble, it became apparent that the fish were not biting there. Rick had put out four catfish polls with some stinky bait he made with fish guts and a play-do formula, Christina was reading a book in the sun and I was trying to talk dad into moving to the new spot. It was very cold! Dad and I took the bare essentials and walked over to the new spot where five other people were fishing. They had been catching crappie all morning (actually, they had been catching Crappie in that location for two weeks). Dad was very nervous around that many people. I had him place my pole in the water with a minnow. The ridge runners were using different colored jigs. The most productive of all the colors was light green and dark green. Oddly enough, the bigger jigs were producing more fish. Dad and I could not even get a nibble! We moved all over that dock, at one point we were fishing only inches from where they had their lines. Regardless, we could not get one bite. In the hour that we stood there freezing our butts off, they had pulled up at least one dozen crappie! With a final attempt, I had a heart-felt talk with a fat minnow that heroic volunteered to be sacrificed for this endeavor, he assured me his distressed wiggling would guaranty a crappie would eat him! He gave his life in vain. Dad and I walked back to our boat dejected, just hoping our spot would turn on. Rick had caught one small bluegill while we were gone. Dad opened up an MRE for us to eat, it was pretty good, something I haven't had before, chicken noodle soup. Fortunately, before I was finished eating the crappie started biting! For the next three hours we pulled in one crappie after the next.

Rick caught the very first crappie of his life! It was a monster, 2lb'er+! I had told him how the Ridge Runners were catching crappie on green jigs, apparently he had a few green jigs that came with his fishing pole (you know, the type that comes in the little box when you buy with your Kmart child's fishing pole combo pack). I had been catching 1/2lb+ crappie, one after the next. He walked over and dropped his Kmart jig next to my line and was immediately hit by something very large! Dad and I thought it was a large bass, the way it jumped out of the water. We did not realize it was a crappie until after dad had netted and hauled it onto the dock. That fish was huge! A real trophy by anyone's standards! Rick preceded to catch many many additional crappie with that jig over the next two and a half hours. He caught another two pound-er in the same spot on a minnow! Rick was just plain hot! The crappies took everything he put in the water! Seriously, he was having a day every fisherman dreams of!

Dad tried a few different types of jigs but settled on one similar to Ricks Kmart special. It worked, he was getting hit and catching crappie right and left. I was doing pretty good with my minnows but not near a good as the jigs. The jigs were getting hit 5 to 1 over a minnow! We were shocked!

This was a day of firsts! Ricks first crappie, the first time a Kmart jig caught anything over 3oz and the first time in my LIFE we caught a crappie with a jig! Two years ago I decided to become a crappie fisherman with an emphasis on trolling. With research in hand, I headed to Cabala's with my trusty large New York City African-American aide, who has zero interest in fishing and even less interest in crappie fishing, in tow. I proceeded to buy every color, type and style jig head, hook and grub body I had ever read about, enough to fill four tackle boxes. Simon (my aide) was bored as hell, I on the other hand, I was as happy as Scrap-booking fanatic with a 50% discount to Michael's. We trolled for a full season, caught numerous little bass including an 5lb'er and one 5lb catfish but NO damn crappie! Until today! With this great success and new found confidence, dad and I are going to give these jigs another try! Hopefully they'll pay off during the spring spawn and trolling this summer!

We only brought home 27 Crappie (19 for me and 8 for Rick, including his two 2lb'er), one gill was to small and the other was fortunate the basket was full of crappie! The remaining two crappie were give back to the lake Gods. Hopefully our offering will be remembered and looked on favorably during our next fishing trip.

Most of the crappie were pregnant females (2/3 were female) with their eggs developed about 90%. If the weather holds, they will begin spawning in 2 to 3 weeks at the north side of the lake & in the southern end, 3 to 4 weeks later.

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