Kyron Washington puts modern twist on childhood practice
By Greg McCain
When the calendar flips to May, many anglers reflect on a nostalgic fishing time from their childhood.
In an age when fishermen have become single-species specialists, time remains to ignore the crappie, bass, or catfish for a few days and pursue various species that collectively fall under the umbrella of bream.
Texas guide Kyron Washington speaks with a passion about his pursuit of oft-overlooked species, one embedded since childhood fishing a tank or farm pond on his grandparents’ farm. He does not share the collective name of bream, but rather delineates each of the species that he pursues through the late spring and summer months in the central and east Texas region near the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
He speaks of bluegills, redears (or shellcracker), warmouth, green sunfish, pumpkinseeds (among others) with a fondness that only a life-long attachment can generate. While Kyron’s first calling is as a full-time minister of the gospel, he earned his reputation in the fishing world pursuing crappie as a guide and tournament competitor. However, his passion for their underappreciated relatives resonates.
“They are among my all-time favorites and rank right up there as 1A and 1B with crappie,” he said. “They are near and dear to my heart.”
Kyron harkens back to those carefree days of his youth when discussing his affinity for panfish.The memories of his initiation into fishing, sharing the experience with family, and developing his fishing skills remain highlights of his recollections.
“A bobber and a cricket made for some exciting days in my childhood,” he said, later adding, “I’ve been catching (bream) since I was knee high to a cricket.”
Bypassing some of the spring months in favor of crappie, Kyron said the bluegill and redear fishing in his area picks up “late spring into summer. When June rolls around, they really reach a peak around here. I find fish spawning regularly into the summer.” While Kyron may bypass the popular full moon in May if it occurs early in the month, he added that fishing new and full moon phases are one key to success through the summer months.
Kyron locates bigger bream in much the same way as a crappie or bass fisherman, using the various scanning features of his electronics to pinpoint key areas. In his initial spring trips for bluegills and redears, he typically fishes “off the bank.”
“Each lake is different, but I’m fishing 12-18 feet,” Kyron said, “off the banks relative to water depth. I’m fishing brushpiles, points, humps, rip rap and scan those types of places with side imaging.” He finds fish that regularly weigh just over a pound with the top weight usually about 1.50.
He casts small artificials like imitation waxworms, mealworms, and red wigglers or live red wigglers, slowly retrieving the faux worms in, over, and around structure and cover.
“There are multiple approaches to presenting baits,” he said.
At some point, the fish will move closer to shore to spawn. Kyron says he tries to “stay away from the pack” and fishes grass edges with a lure or wiggler under a slip cork. The fish will still be spawning depending on the moon phase with at least some bluegills on beds around a full-moon period through the summer and into early fall in most areas of the country.
At such times, Kyron seeks out those hard bottom areas or “craters” in the grass, deploying a dropshot set-up with a bell sinker on the bottom and a wiggler on a small hook up the line. A slight change-up is the use of a split-shot rig with a #4 hook on the bottom and a small split shot up the line. Kyron emphasizes that he uses smaller wigglers and not nightcrawlers.
At various times when the fish move shallow, Kyron also uses a small jig “tipped with something.” The possibilities include a tiny segment of a wiggler, wax worm, or meal worm or a cricket.
Kyron is an ACC Crappie Stix user whether he is crappie fishing or fishing for other panfish. In particular, he has found the 6’ and 6’6” one-piece ACC models to his liking since their introduction.
“I like those new ACC one-pieces,” he said. “That’s a well put together and thought out fishing rod.”
He pairs Daiwa reels with the ACC rods and spools with Trout Magnet SOS line, usually six-lb. test although “I could probably get away with four-lb. test most of the time.” Some of bigger bluegills and redears “fight like elephants,” so he generally uses the slightly heavier line.
Unlike some fisheries around the country, where the bluegills and redears spawn separately, Kyron said he expects to find them together as they move on beds. Later, the redears will disappear. Kyron said he suspects they find a secure area underneath the grass that makes them difficult to pinpoint.
“I really think they get in the back of coves under that stuff,” he said.
Kyron mentioned a couple of lakes that he frequents within driving distance of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Lake Athens and Lake Fork. While Fork may boast a reputation as a bass and crappie destination, Kyron said the east-Texas fishery can be equally good for bluegills and redears and grows them “big and plump. Fork is underrated when it comes to big bluegills.”
While Texas regulations do not have a size or creel limit, Kyron imposes a 30-fish per person limit on his guided trips “to preserve the resource.”
Much like his own nostalgic feelings for the fish, Kyron said his customers have taken a liking to his summer trips for bluegills and redears.
“Surprisingly, they have been all for it,” he said. “It seems to bring back memories from their childhood. I still run plenty of crappie trips, but many people are taking advantage of the chance to catch bluegills and redears and re-kindle some memories.”
To book a trip with Kyron – he guides for crappie year-round – call 4HG (for his glory) Fishing Charters at 214.926.1255. He said to expect a wholesome trip with “emphasis on the Lord.”