I met Jason Dudley of Buck Brush Fishing guides at the Rend lake Resort boat ramp to try to see if we could catch a bunch of Fall Crappie. Jason is a long time friend and one of the very first ACC Pro Staffers. We have talked at least every week for many years about how the fishing is on Rend Lake. When I guided we talked almost everyday to discuss how we did and share information and swap guide trips. This is a common practice among guides to make sure clients find a good guide and the guides stay busy.
So we idle out through the no wake zone and hop on pad as I anticipate feeling the thump from a hungry Crappie. During this time of year Jason fishes lots of stake beds and stump rows. He’s not much on sitting under a bridge. With Jason you get your moneys worth, you will most likely see at least half of Rend lake. We arrive at the first spot of the morning and I am ready to go. Jason drops the trolling motor and sets out to find the stake bed and toss a marker buoy up wind of the cover.
As we grab our equipment (just so happens to be 11′ ACC Crappie Stix) and drop a jig in the middle of the massive stake bed we both get hammered hard! Usually when this happens to me it means the rest of the day is going to be slow. So, as we both set the hook with a very stout crack of the arm we realize immediately that these are good fish. As you know from previous blogs there is nothing that beats the slam of a fall Rend Lake slab for me or Jason. Once we sling our double over the boat we hold them up together and argue about which one has the better fish. I say I won but….. This was a great start to the day as we boated several 10-14″ inch Crappie from one spot. The lake has definitely improved over the Summer. It’s amazing how you can notice the state of your home lake in just a few trips. There are lots of 10-13″ Crappie and they are only beginning to school up.
On to spot number 2. We head towards one of our favorite stump rows and start on the down wind side and fish for several minutes before either of us gets a bite. We are dissecting each and every eroded root wad and have no problem waiting these fish out. Sometimes in a big stump row you have to really hunt them down. The electronics don’t really do much good as the Crappie are tucked in tight to the bottom of the root wads.
So after 10-15 minutes we start catching good n tasty sized fish. We caught and released a dozen or so mid sized crappie that were hitting hard and fun to catch. Onward bound. The next spot is the stump on a hump as we call it. It’s a great Fall/Winter hang out for big fat Crappie. It is an old massive stump perched directly on top of an old hump or small hill. We have caught thousands of Crappie from this spot over the years. I start to flip my jig out over the stump and feel my way back. I was using a 3/16 ounce jig head and I believe Jason had a 3/32 tied on. It seemed that the moving baits were the ticket here. That will slowly change as the water gets colder. But for now the fat girls were smashing the moving baits. We lost count of how many we caught due to the fact we were throwing them back. Did you know as a Crappie fisherman that you can actually release fish? I am sure we had both of our limits of “overs”, we generally don’t worry too much about the small fish. It’s not a game of how fast we can limit out and get you back to the ramp.
We fished a few other good spots and caught several more fish, it was one of those perfect days with a light breeze and the fish were just wanting to cooperate. We eventually tried to catch some on shallow lay downs with no luck. Sometimes you can find a good shallow bite in Oct.
As our morning winds down we discuss how the day went and of course what we forgot to try. It was nice to be the client and not have to worry about finding fish or running the trolling motor for once. I did thoroughly enjoy the day and even learned a trick or two. This time of year is my favorite hands down. The big Crappie bunch up together and are usually willing to feed on your jigs. The bite will actually get better as the water cools to 50 and on down to 40 degrees. Once the Thread fin Shad start to slowly die then its game time.
So to put an end to this blog, if you are looking for a relaxing, exciting, learning, fish catching day on Rend lake then you better give Jason Dudley a ring. These are the days folks, don’t think you have to wait till Spring to Crappie fish. Thanks for reading and to contact Jason feel free to give him a call at 618-231-2007. Thanks and remember to take a kid fishing. Andy.