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John's Journal... Entry 23- Day 1


I'd had a miserable day of crappie fishing and only had caught three crappie all day. Late in the afternoon while on the main section of the lake, I noticed a large tree lying in the water. Obviously the site had potential as a crappie hotspot. As I fished all the way around that fallen tree, I took three, 8-inch-long crappie.

click to enlargeLooking to the center of that treetop, I saw a narrow opening about 4 inches wide between two branches. I had to tie my boat against the tree, lean out over a tree limb and swing my pole as far as I possibly could to try and hit the hole in the middle of the treetop. I knew if I caught a fish in that spot I'd have a very difficult time retrieving the crappie.

But just as my quill cork touched the surface of the water, it started descending and never stopped. I set the hook and fought a big slab to the surface. However, because of the extremely tight and narrow place I fished, I had to hold the crappie's head out of the water until the fish turned sideways to allow me to pull it through the two limbs blocking the hole. The crappie weighed 1 3/4-pounds.

click to enlargeAfter quickly rebaiting, I performed the same gymnastic trick I had used to initially get my bait into that small hole in the center of the downed treetop. Once more my quill sank, and I threaded another large crappie out of the hole in the center of the treetop.

For two hours, I leaned over the limbs and fought slabs through the tree top. I finally completed my limit of 50 crappie, all weighing more than 1 1/2-pounds each, out of that same little spot in the submerged treetop.

click to enlargeI remembered the words of one of my crappie mentors, John Holley of Linden, Alabama, who had told me, "If you're going to catch big crappie, you can't fish where everybody else fishes. You've got to be willing to get hung, break hooks, bust poles and fight bushes to take monster-sized crappie. Average anglers catch average-sized crappie. Big crappie are reserved for those willing to fight for them."



Check back each day this week for more about fighting tactics for monster crappie...

Day 1 - Slabs Among The Tree Tops
Day 2 - Fight The Weather (Pre-spawn)
Day 3 - Fish Flood Waters For Pre-spawn Crappie
Day 4 - Start Of The Spawn
Day 5 - The Big Sneak - Fishing The Spawn

John's Journal