Lake D’Arbonne and its crappie population showed off this past week through some of the roughest weather and rising water that we’ve had in a long time. The fish provided good catches in a variety of ways, from jigging deep to jigging shallow; to trolling; to casting mini-spinners. The result? Hours of great fishing footage that has to be condensed into 30-minute fishing shows for next year’s season of the Krappie King TV show hosted by Karl Kalonka. This year’s series shows are airing now on the World Fishing Network and Sportsman Channel on Dish, Direct and cable TV networks. Check your provider for details. Here locally on DISH, WFN is on Channel 394 and Sportsman Channel is on 395.
You know who else showed off? The people and fishermen of Lake D’Arbonne Country.
“The fishing has been absolutely fabulous,” Karl said. “But the most impressive thing is the people. You’ve got some fantastic fishermen and they are willing to share what they know and help others catch fish. Everywhere we have gone, the people have been fabulous. They’ve treated us like long lost friends. I almost feel like I’m in Mayberry. I mean that in a good way. People open the door for you, they say hello and they are courteous and helpful. Where else do you find that? You are some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met.”
Well Gaah – leeee… that would even make Aunt Bea blush.
Kalonka has been making his living of fishing for years with the Extreme Angler show, but he just got Krappie Kings started this year. He spent two years working on it and it is now paying off.
“We went all over fishing for all kinds of fish, but when we just wanted to have fun, we went crappie fishing,” he told me. “We saw the popularity of this sport and the different demographics and overall different areas where crappie fishing is so good. The people we met are fantastic and have a passion for fishing for crappie. It’s the same wherever you go. I wanted to present that in a platform for TV and that’s what got the show started. We want to give this fish and crappie fishermen their due. And we want to keep it real. We show what happens and where we go. We show fishing, but we also show the people, the cooking, the way of life. It’s been just great and we are just getting started.”
The first D’Arbonne episode isn’t scheduled to show until Spring of 2015. That’s a long time to wait, but this year’s shows are already produced and scheduled. I can’t wait.
And one thing that will be fun to watch is one of the scenes for last week’s trip with John Godwin of Duck Commander. John was talking and a big crappie hit one of his rigs that was in a pole holder. Ziiiinnggg! Faster than John could say “bolony samich“, the fish jerked the rod right out in the lake. As Godwin reeled up another one, he felt something strange and he had hooked the line from the missing pole. You’ve probably already guessed it, but when he reeled it in, he got the rod back. And on the end of the line? Yep. A pound and a half D’Arbonne crappie.
Fishing for a living. Man, that must be the life. Kalonka and cameraman Jay Hotzak laugh at that one. They are up early, out late in all kinds of weather and conditions. They miss countless weeks away from their families and friends filming, going to trade shows, putting on seminars and working with sponsors. Bottom line — it’s a business. But yes, it is a fun business.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Kalonka said.
Before we close this one, we all need to say a big “thank you” to Brandon Jennings of Bayou State Crappie Assassins. He’s the one that got this ball rolling by contacting Krappie Kings. And he coordinated the support with the Union Parish Tourist Commission and the Union Parish Chamber and others to get them here. You’ll be hearing more about Brandon and his group, I’m sure! Good job!