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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Fish Eating Grin #13468960 03/12/20 06:37 PM
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Laner Offline OP
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Fish Eating Grin


“It’s bright enough to read the Old Testament out here.” We’re passing stumps under a full moon that has a whole lot to do with why we’ve chosen to run shallow this morning. Greg Poort, my point man and number one scouting partner, is scanning for floaters, a constant threat now with all the recent rains. “I’m going to run this boat until we can’t go any further, then we’ll start fishing.” I can see the silhouette of his head nod in affirmation, never turning so as to not lose sight of the water in front of us. Truth be told, I haven’t put a fish on the bow since 2019, and with our guided hunts now over and a different instinctual calling pulling at my heart, it’s time to chase a different prey.


At a dime ‘til 8, the fish make a liar out of me. Even under a blanketed sunrise, I can see the surface breaking eighty to one hundred yards in front of us. “We got fish in front of us Greggo; they look like sandies. Right there, about 11:30 from the bow, you can see them busting shad.” I come off plane and unzip what’s left of a Carhart that I’ve been guiding in for way too long, grabbing my rod on the way up to the bow. On his first drop, and I do mean his very first drop, Greg sticks a crappie that may be one dorsal fin shy of two pounds, but one beautiful way to start the season. “I didn’t know you were going to get serious today! Man that is one heck of a fish. She’s gotta be hovering around fifteen inches and two pounds.” We piddled around for a few minutes in an effort to replicate what just happened, then quickly move on with our original game plan.


When the skeg on my trolling motor starts to drag, we start to fish. Comparatively speaking, we are in much clearer water, and much warmer water for that matter. Pecans and oaks tower above us, while the inhabiting birds welcome us with their calls. At a painfully slow speed, I drop a tethered forty pound clevis with more history and age than myself, as I’m confident we will be here for a while. We are parallel to a deep hole, maybe four to five feet deep, while the boat itself rests in less than a foot of water. “Swooosssh.” Our first volley of jigs is launched and after a few second countdown, we start slowly reeling and immediately hook up. “What’s wrong with your pole man? It’s all warped looking and bent over. And your reel, it’s making some funny clicking noise. Are you ok?”


Our lunch plans depend on our success, and it’s looking like we won’t have to settle for the vegetable medley today. If the fish is even close to being short, it’s getting thrown back. I’m throwing a Smoke Signal Thump Buddy, but the way Greg is catching fish on the White Hot version, I’m going to be switching soon. Both of us are using 1/8 ounce heads, but he’s easily catching three to my one. I’d rather eat fish than crow, so I watch the show go on for another few minutes then make the change.


I tie my new jig on slowly, taking in everything around me. I don’t know how many years I’ll be blessed with in this world, but I know for certain I’ll never grow tired of watching the world come to life as I harvest nature’s bounty. “You have a bobber you’re willing to part ways with? I have a few but I don’t have any with the weighted bottom.” A safety orange cigar float is thrown my way, and I’m back in the water. We already have plenty for lunch, now it’s just time to get nostalgic for a bit.


What we’re fishing is textbook when it comes to the spring run. We are in a narrow pinch point directly above deeper water, decent current flowing through, a deep hole that’s roughly fifty yards in length with a few current breaks all above a sand and pebble bottom. At the top of the hole is an exposed tree root littered with raccoon droppings, immediately followed by a cut bank that is creating an eddy. I sidearm my presentation towards this natural bullseye and my bobber starts to swirl counter clockwise. Two quick twitches of the rod and a pause are all it takes. My float quickly disappears and for the next twenty seconds there are no worldly thoughts, just complete and utter joy.


By 9:30, the current situation no longer peaks our interest. We are still catching a few here and there, but Greg and I both are on the same page. “What do you say we get a game plan together and go look for some crappie? The water is in the low sixties, we’ve got a warm day ahead of us, we’re in a full moon cycle and there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t find some shallow males right now. Everything is absolutely perfect for the spawn.” “Hey I’m with you man, it’s too far for me to swim back at this point, and you know I can’t walk on water. You saw all those stumps on our way in, and you know those laydowns have to hold something. Why don’t we just ease our way out of here and fish our way home?”
[Linked Image]


Pulling the anchor, the current carries us out. In deeper water now, we idle over to what looks to be a no brainer of a laid over tree, but ultimately we don’t get a single bite. “This one may be a little shallow still, as there is no reason a fish shouldn’t be on it at some point. Let’s keep moving.” We don’t have to go far and there’s another prime looking spot; a log roughly eighteen inches wide and twenty feet in length. There’s a root ball barely protruding above the surface which has my interest peaked. I drop down behind the natural current break and nothing. We gently glide up and down the log, both pitching and vertically jigging until we’re satisfied there’s no crappie. “I would’ve lost a lot of money betting that log would’ve held fish. They might not be there today, but they will be soon.”
[Linked Image]


Undeterred, as it is the most inconsistent and undependable time of year, we keep moving. When it comes to fishing the spawn, the fish are active and so am I. I will not stop looking until I’ve gotten a bite, and when I do, I’ll slow down and search the area more thoroughly. We continue our slow and methodical track home, stopping a third time on a washed out bank full of rocks and logs. The local red ear slider population disapproves of us being there, and chooses to shove off as opposed to working on their tan. Greg chooses to vertically jig while I look for fish with a jig and bobber setup. After a few minutes, we both end up looking at each other for ideas, neither one of us believing we haven’t hit pay dirt yet.


“Ok, so we haven’t found anything on the banks, and it’s not from a lack of effort. There is absolutely no reason why we wouldn’t have caught fish if they had moved up this morning. Let’s back off a bit and see what we can find. We haven’t fished anything deeper than six feet, maybe they’re in that eight to twelve foot range? They have to be close; there are way too many reasons for them to be biting for us not to have caught a single crappie yet.”


I turn on my graph, which is really a glorified thermometer this time of year, and start looking for any sign of structure in the depth of water I think they’ll be in. “There’s something on the left. It’s big, and there looks to be fish holding on the upstream side. From what I can tell it’s a big, laid over tree with roots at one end, an arching trunk and a large set of limbs at the other. Let me circle back around and we’ll get a marker on it. I see another boat approaching, and I’m not quite ready to show my cards. I give one of those “nothing to see here” waves and a smile, and let them pass on by. When they leave, I circle back around and drop a marker.


We made the right choice. We both tag jet-black males on our first drop, quickly followed by another three keepers. Greg opens the cooler lid. “Apparently we will have our choice of fish at lunch today. I’m cool with that.” “You know me man, I like them sandies fresh. Plus, crappies seem to freeze better than sandies do. Heck, when we’re frying fish twenty minutes after they were swimming, I don’t think we can go wrong. Might even have to throw a gaspergoo in the grease if we get lucky.”


I saw a whole lot more fish on this spot than the five we caught at the start. We’re fishing blind as we have no front graph and are in roughly ten to twelve feet of water fishing submerged structure. I take my foot off the trolling motor to let us drift where I think the end of the log should be. “I’m pretty sure it’s right here!” I turn around and Greg is throwing in a slob of a white crappie. He’s a fourteen inch male with a coal black belly. “Goodness gracious, I’d like to see his girlfriend.”


I turn down the trolling motor speed and move slowly to the right. I want to keep the pile between us and the sun, so as to not cast a shadow and spook the fish. Although we are in deeper water, after a quick break off, I realize the top of this brush pile comes up to only two feet under the surface. I’m painting a picture in my mind of what’s going on under the surface, when like the red wasps on the first warm day of spring, the fish get mad.

[Linked Image]

It’s as fast as you can get a jig in the water, and we haven’t seen a short fish yet. I’m not even reeling them in, as I can’t get my lure down more than three to four feet without catching a fish. Greg is also having to suffer through the same problem, and has opted to rip the lid off the cooler, as there’s no point in closing it right now. Fish after fish come in over the gunnels, and we quickly add a one man limit to the boat.


“We’ve got company.” Another boat is coming by and out of the corner of my eye I see Greg set the hook. He lets some line play out. “You hung up or hooked up?” “I’ve got a fish on and he keeps trying to run me around. I’m trying to give him slack so my rod isn’t bending.” About this time the boat is within speaking distance. “Y’all catching any crappie? We’ve been looking all morning and have only found sandies.” “Yes sir, the sandies are thick in here. We caught quite a few of those ourselves.” In my defense, I didn’t lie. As they move on and gain speed, I about lose it when Greg slings his crappie in the boat and we go back to catching them.


I am very familiar with the next boat I see, and the pile we’re on is finally playing out anyways, so we wave them to come over. It’s James Davis and he’s out doing the same thing we are. “Y’all hammering ‘em?” Greg and I look at each other like “you going to be the first liar?” but we both spill the beans. James and I had already talked the night before about comparing notes, it just takes me a minute to get out of defense mode. “Yeah man, we have been. That big log back there is, or shall I say, was loaded. I figured since we’ve been watching you in the same spot for the last hour, you probably were hammering on them too.” “I won’t lie, it’s been pretty good. I’m finding mostly big females with the occasional male mixed in. I don’t think I’ve had to throw back a single fish.” Happy to hear it, I invite him over for a shore lunch.


“I know you’re going to be upset to hear this, but I brought y’all both a beer to go with your fish tacos. I’d appreciate your sacrifice if you went ahead and drank it.” I toss them both one and enjoy one myself. I am beyond full off of the freshest fish a man can eat, and by no means am I in a hurry to move out of the shade for the next few minutes. I light a Camel, as does Greg.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


“It’s good to fish again; I know it’s been awhile. If you would’ve told me ten years ago that I’d go a few months without fishing I’d have called you a liar and asked you to promptly leave.” James prods me on, saying “I was starting to wonder if you even still had it anymore!” Blowing smoke up to the blue sky, all I can do is laugh. “Heck I was too man, but those deer don’t hunt themselves. The problem I have now is I just got addicted again, and spring just sprung. I’ll be losing sleep and justifying spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on tackle from now ‘til October. It’s going to be a good year.” I’ve just eaten the meal I’d request on death row, with some very good friends of mine, and I can’t even begin to wipe this fish eating grin off my face.
[Linked Image]



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Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13468999 03/12/20 07:15 PM
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What a great read Lane. When you are done guiding (like that will ever happen) you need to write for a fishing publication.

Kinda the same story for me on Saturday minus the awesome shore lunch and brewskis. Went way up the creek looking but I found the crappie in the deeper water. They are starting to load up but the bite was tough but it was enough to make me smile as I fought 3 foot rollers all the way back to the ramp.

That James Davis feller you spoke of is is a great guy as well as you. Keep the stories coming.


LiftSaver Trolling Motor Mounting Bracket - Patent Pending and LiftSaver Transducer Pole Mount
www.liftsavertmmount.com
[Linked Image][Linked Image]
Works with MG Xi5, Xi3 and MK Terrova, Ulterra, PD V2 and Riptides as well.

Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469079 03/12/20 08:22 PM
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HOGON Online Content
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Awesome Read as usual. clap cheers


ACC CRAPPIE STIX
BONEHEAD TACKLE
LEWS REELS
PEPOPS JIGS
FEARLESS JIGS
BUBBAS BAITS
MAD CRAPPIE JIGS
DANS JIGS
CRAZY ANGLER TACKLE
THERMOCLINE LURES
CONSTANT PURSUIT OUTFITTERS
MR CRAPPIE
POWER PRO SUPER SLICK BRAID
BERKLEY VANISH GOLD/TRANSITION
LIFT SAVER TROLLING MOTOR MOUNT
SHUT UP AND FISH
THUMPER ELITE OUTFITTERS
Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469094 03/12/20 08:36 PM
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jig master Online Content
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Thanks for sharing and a great read. I’m thinking about giving it a try in one of my favorite creeks this weekend. Do I go north or do I go south. Decisions Decisions.

Last edited by jig master; 03/12/20 08:36 PM.

Don't believe everything you hear and half of what you see . Living for the Thump !!
Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469372 03/13/20 01:27 AM
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pop r Offline
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Awesome read and a great post. cheers

Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469400 03/13/20 01:44 AM
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I’ll be at Fork next couple weekends! Shore lunch sounds good! food

Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469432 03/13/20 02:00 AM
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AWESOME POST! Thanks for sharing! cheers



Side Note: Also some SOLID SLABS! thumb


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Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469437 03/13/20 02:03 AM
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Oh yeah Laner good to see you again. Thanks for the tip on the cast iron skillet.


Don't believe everything you hear and half of what you see . Living for the Thump !!
Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13469482 03/13/20 02:26 AM
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Great read, thanks for sharing.

Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13470138 03/13/20 03:36 PM
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food


THUMP 2020
Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13470175 03/13/20 04:12 PM
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Amazingly penned and fish expertly prepared! Great Job Laner and thanks for sharing. clap


A bad day of fishing beats a good day at work anyday!!!
Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13470276 03/13/20 05:13 PM
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cheers AWESOMENESS Lane

Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13470855 03/14/20 12:27 AM
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Great write up sir! And congrats on the taco fillers. banana


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"The fish are biting, and there's hogs to be kilt. Gotta go!"
Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13470903 03/14/20 01:16 AM
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Enjoyed reading that. Thanks

Re: Fish Eating Grin [Re: Laner] #13471411 03/14/20 03:35 PM
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we may have been related in a past life, lol-your description on your views are 'way mucho" alike!
i hope some day I get the privilege of shaking your hand!
Fantastic read! Thanks for sharing Lane!

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