Going Fishin'

Going Fishin'
Red Sunset

Friday, December 18, 2015

El Nino Crappies

Wow!If you favor open water fishing over ice, you've got to love an El Nino weather pattern here in NW PA. Open water in late December! (Not so much love, however, if you are an ice angler.) The other day I joined longtime friends Dave Lefebre and Ernie Pate for crappie fishing at Pymatuning Lake. It was a tad crowded in Lefebre's Troller, but we would be fishing vertical so it all worked out. Dave's first several stops were spots he had caught walleyes prior to Thanksgiving. But two hours of pumping blade baits yielded only a few small perch. Moving to a deep point where Dave suspected crappies to be holding, we switched to tiny tubes and Garland Baby Shads on drop-shot rigs.Bites were sporadic. With only 1/2 dozen crappies in the livewell at 12:30, we kicked around the idea of quitting. Frankly, we were chilled from a strong wind and cooler than forecast temperatures. But Ernie wanted to hang out awhile longer. So each of us switched to different colors, randomly readjusted drop-shot leads and moved to the other side of the lake. Suddenly I was catching crappie after crappie on the deep hump. As soon as the others made adjustments to color and leader, our do-nothing presentation in 14 to 18 feet of water started paying off. However, the crappie schools were moving about and Dave had to keep up with them on with the bow depthfinder and trolling motor. And we had to keep changing colors as the sun crept lower in the horizon. By the time we left at 4:30, there were 52 keeper crappies (10" or better) in the livewell. Keeping only 1 out of 3 crappies caught, our total tally was close to 200 crappies plus small perch, sub-legal walleyes, bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass, largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass. All because Ernie insisted we hang out awhile longer!


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