By Josh Gowan
Another beautiful weekend in the heartland, punctuated by one of my favorite holidays, Father’s Day! While my quest for equality between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is still a work in progress, I think the message is getting out. The endgame is for us Dad’s to receive the same level of gifts we give, because we earn it!
My gift was a day to myself, to fish and be free, without the hindrance of curfew or looming yard work. I awoke around 1 a.m. and was already thinking about the first place I was going to fish. I picked up the Jules Verne novel I’ve been working my way through in an attempt to lull myself back to sleep before the 3:45 alarm went off. I was nearly out when my phone beeped, and I flipped through a few emails and perused Facebook for a minute when I saw an article about the “super moon” and the positive effect it could have on fish, well, that was it, I was up!
Having some extra time in the morning was nice and it allowed me to make sure all the necessary preparations were taken care of. I followed an intensely bright moon south down I-55, much like the three Wise Men followed the North Star, except I was not seeking the King of the Jews, and was without incense, myrrh, and certainly gold. I was after crappie, and bringing gifts of nibbles, sharp hooks, and a spacious livewell! I arrived at the lake in time to watch the warm, orange and pink hues of a sunrise Tennessee sunrise compete with the luminescence of a lunar perigee. I could only imagine what effect this would have on the fish!
I put the boat in, drove a half mile and promptly ran out of gas… Preparation has never really been my strong suit, regardless of the amount of time given!
Apparently the super moon kept the fish up all night gorging themselves on disoriented bugs and baitfish, because the bite was retched! The crappie I did catch were just on the line, and had I not had some places I knew the fish were, and was able to literally put my jig on their nose, I probably would have been skunked. But alas, a stress free day on the water is still nothing to complain about.
My buddy and fellow Grizzly Jig Pro Staffer Kevin Murphy has been spending his weekends at his homestead on Kentucky Lake, and catching crappie with a method foreign to most of the country. Kevin has been pulling crankbaits, three inch Bandit crankbaits to be exact, a technique popularized in Mississippi that has been spreading for the last few years. Summertime crappie are not active feeders, but they are instinctual predators none the less, and a big, loud bait swam fast by them garners reaction strikes.
The other advantage to this technique is that it allows you to cover a lot of water, with an average of six baits being pulled in a 40 foot swath (two 8 foot rods on the corners, two 12 foot rods past them, and two 16 foot rods on either side closest to the front) and an average speed of 1.3 mph. Kevin said the fish have been in a different place every weekend, and this past weekend it was a 13 foot flat. When I asked him about color, there was no hesitation, PINK! I’m going to try and get over them with him before long and get in on some of it myself!
Local catfish Pro’s Jason Aycock and Hunter Jones from East Prairie, Mo. traveled down to Tunica, Miss. for the BassProShops Big Cat Quest over the weekend. The catfish were spawning, and while most people think the spawn is a great time to fish, catfish are extremely tough to catch as they don’t forage for food at all during the spawn. They traveled 30 miles upriver to Memphis and found some fish in a deep hole, their biggest being a 25 pound blue cat. They weighed in 53 pounds and ended up in 9th place. Their next tournament is the World Championship in Savannah, Tenn., good luck guys!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com