It was a very different Spring than normal or maybe all Springs are abnormal as the weather can be very erratic. We went from low water on Rend to massive rains and cold temps to beautiful days where getting 10 bites was a miracle. There are some things in fishing that can’t be explained (or at least by me). I truly believe in the moon phases and barometer have a profound impact especially the moon during the spawn. There was a week of beautiful weather where everything was absolutely perfect and the bite was brutal. We had 70 degree water temps with 80 degree days and abundant sunshine. The bite was far better a week before when we had 48 degree nights and fished in our winter Gortex. Go figure.
Also, recently I started to become somewhat proficient at spider rigging aka trolling. I actually liked it quite a bit. I have a bad back as many fisherman do so I enjoyed the part about getting to sit on my bum all day. Don’t let anyone tell you this is hard work! I can’t put my finger on it but there is something very satisfying about setting your rods and deciding what depth, speed and all the little factors that decide a good day from a non-productive day. Being able to sit back and watch as your experiment unfolds into a fish catching extravaganza is a lot more fulfilling than I had imagined. It is rather difficult to have a short attention span and get caught off guard by an eagle flying above or a noise in the woods as your only job is to watch closely those orange rod tips. You can’t just sit there and daydream till you feel a bite like when you are jigging. It seems that some anglers absolutely love this technique and some not so much. I am somewhere in the middle. After many years of learning almost every stake bed, stump row, and brushpile in rend Lake it is interesting to start looking at the lake from a different perspective. Now I wonder “how could I troll that flat” or “I wonder if that ledge is holding scattered fish? It allows you to target completely different groups of fish. I am sure that almost getting the rod yanked out of my hand during a great jig bite in November will not soon be replaced but I do believe I will enjoy many days relaxing in my comfortable chair while Hank tries crawl in my lap as I miss many bites due to wandering eyes.
On to the Crappie Masters. I have a love/ hate relationship with tournaments. Don’t get me wrong, Mike Valentine puts on a great event but I am just not destined to be a great tournament angler. There are many great guys and gals out there doing a bang up job with ACC so that I can concentrate on keeping them happy with great rods. I did enjoy being up and on the water by 4:30 in the morning hanging out and watching the sunrise with my partner. We fished hard and were definitely in a great spot we just didn’t get the right fish to bite. How many times have you heard that? That’s my excuse and I will most definitely stick with it. I think I enjoy watching the weather, hitting a lake of my choosing while relaxing yet fishing hard enough to make it somewhat productive. Truman is next on my list. I keep seeing Kevin Rogers destroying these monster Crappies with a jigging pole so why can’t I go do that? (full disclosure, Kevin is not on ACC pro staff). The best part about the tournaments are getting to talk to all the great fisherman. I always try to chat with some of the older gentlemen as they are very willing to hang out and kill some time and have many years worth of valuable knowledge. If you are interested in fishing Crappie tournaments I would suggest giving the Crappie Masters a try.
So with Spring wrapping up and the next phase in the on going cycle of Crappie fishing will be the summer pattern.I will be cutting all of my corks off, tying on jigs and getting the 14’s back out. I will probably get an umbrella and really make things rugged! My daughter constantly reminds me I would not look good with my nose removed from getting skin cancer. I would imagine that not being a great look for me. So if you see a lazy guy with an even lazier Yellow Lab named Hank lying under an umbrella with long, green rods jutting out of the front of his boat feel free to stop and say “Hello”. Hank will try to jump in your boat especially if you have food and I will probably try to talk longer than you deemed necessary. So I hope everyone has a great start to the great time of year we call Summer. Good luck and remember to take those crazy kids fishing. Your friend Andy Lehman.