CRAPPIE NOT A BAD ALTERNATIVE
Last updated 5/19/2020 at 10:49pm
I didn’t know the answer to his question, but it said a lot about the
status of the crappie fishing on both Toledo Bend and Rayburn right
now.“His question was, “How many white perch fillets can I legally have
in my freezer at one time?”
This particular angler elected to quarantine for the past month and a
half at his camp on Toledo Bend and has crappie fished all but two of
those days.“I initially gave them to neighbors and relatives,” he said,
“but you can only give so many away!”
I have never had that problem, but I had to ask in response, “Do you
have to keep fish every trip or can you just fish for fun after you have
caught enough?”His response was to say nothing else and that said it all.
The bottom line is that the crappie fishing has really been that good of
late.Jason Leslie and his wife, Carol, were targeting a pile of brush on
a twenty-five foot break last Friday evening with Carolina rigged
plastics and never caught the first bass.“I couldn’t believe it,” said
Jay, “because I had wrecked the bass right there the week before and I
was still marking fish.”
Out of frustration, he rigged up a light spinning rod and lowered a
pink/white jig into the middle of the school of fish.That night he and
Carol cleaned nineteen white perch.
“She hates to fish, but temporarily enjoys catching,” said Jay, “so we
just fished for white perch Saturday and Sunday.I knew of two other
spots and we steadily caught fish until she was ready to play dominoes
with the neighbors.We only brought twenty fish home, but I know we put
back at least forty more up to a pound and a half!”
“The only thing that has kept me from catching white perch every day,”
said Kyle Livingston, “has been the weather.If it isn’t pouring and the
wind isn’t howling, I will catch fish.”Kyle has been fishing with
nothing but shiners and reported that he has been catching a lot of
catfish as well.
All of this is not to say that the bass fishing has not been pretty darn
good as well, but every bass fisherman knows the catching will be a
little tougher some days and skill has a lot to do with it.Crappie
fishing isn’t nearly as complicated, thus the reason it is so family
oriented and a whole lot cheaper!
The Sabine River Shootouts kick off every Tuesday evening about six
hours after I have already sent in my column so the results are always a
week late.Even a day late can make a huge difference for bass fishermen
looking to glean a little more information as to what is going on.
The weekly turnouts continue to attract more and more local anglers and
both the prize money and the catching are worth the effort.Not
surprisingly, however, you will be hard pressed as an interested
spectator at their weigh-ins to gain any pertinent information.
Unlike a tournament on Rayburn or Toledo Bend, these anglers are forced
to piece together a winning pattern in a relatively small stretch of
water and sharing information is a liability.There is a lot of river and
marsh available, but you can’t expect to just lower the troll motor
anywhere and start catching fish.
In some cases it is more about location, say marsh or bayou versus the
river, but for the most part the winners figure out the most productive
technique and lures very quickly.That requires fishing more than that
one afternoon each week.If that is your only excuse for getting out,
however, stay the course and to heck with winning.
They have had some really tough draws, weather-wise of late, but the
winning catches and the number of three-fish limits have been very
impressive each week.It is all but a guarantee, come hell or high water
or both that you are going to need a two to three pound average to place
and a fish over four-pounds to earn big bass money.
I don’t question the merits of social distancing, nor do I think we have
put Covid-19 in the rear view mirror, but the weigh-ins at the Public
launch every Tuesday evening are very entertaining. They are also easily
observed from a safe distance and a lot more fun than waiting in line
for chicken strips at a drive-through window!