John's Journal...


Year-Round Crappie

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Billy Blakely of Tiptonville, Tennessee, manages Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake and also chief fishing guide there. Each day Blakely and the other guides who work with him on Reelfoot Lake take clients out fishing for bluegills, crappie, catfish and bass. “We have to depend on the fishing line we use to help us be successful and to help our clients to catch fish,” Blakely explains. “That’s the reason we’ve all changed over to Mossy Oak Fishing Line. We know that when a fish takes the bait we can depend on the Mossy Oak Line to put that fish in the boat.” This week Blakely will tell us how he and the other guides at Blue Bank produce large numbers of fish each day throughout the spring and summer. You may not believe the catch numbers that Blakely reports, but if you doubt that he and his other guides can produce as many fish in a day as they say.Click to enlarge

Because Reelfoot Lake is such a shallow lake and has so many logs, sunken trees and brush in the bottom of it, we catch crappie all year long up here. We fish with 8-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line on 12, 16-foot B’n’M poles and spider-rig (slow troll) to catch the fish just under the surface. We use a double-hook crappie rig on the ends of the poles and bait with minnows. We use a crappie rig that has one hook tied to the bottom of the line, a ¼-ounce sinker about 4 inches up the line from the bottom hook and a drop hook about 6-8 inches above the sinker. When we fish for crappie, we use 8-pound-test line for our main line and 6-pound-test line for leaders going from our main line to our hooks. I bait with about a 2-Click to enlargeinch live shiner minnow. We troll along the stump fields and the underwater log piles and try to let our baits swim just above the wood. We fish with all 12 poles out the front, and we have three seats on the front of the boat so allow three people to fish at one time. Each fisherman is responsible for four poles. In an average day of fishing in May and June, usually one boat will catch 60-90 crappie fishing like this. Often that one boat will catch more than 100 crappie. Our crappie here at Reelfoot will average from 3/4- up to 2-1/2-pounds each. In a day of crappie fishing with three anglers, we’ll carry 20 dozen minnows with us. Unlike most other lakes that only produce good numbers of crappie during the spring spawn, because Reelfoot is so shallow and has so much fallen timber in it, anglers here can catch crappie all year.

Click to enlargeTo learn more about Blue Bank Resort, go to or call
1-877-258-3226. Blue Bank has a motel, restaurant, guide service, rental boats, motors, fishing tackle and a bait shop. You also can visit to learn about the company’s baits for catfish. For more information about Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to To learn more about Yo-Yos, go to or contact Mechanical Fisher Division, P.O. Box 1170, Diamond City, Arkansas 72630, (870) 422-7715.


Check back each day this week for more about WHEN LINE COUNTS

Day 1: How Blakely Catches Bream la
Day 2: Come Catch Some Catfish
Day 3: Nighttime Fishing for Cats
Day 4: Year-Round Crappie
Day 5: Busting Bass on Reelfoot



Entry 300, Day 4