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Lake life

A Crappie Masters quiz

True or False questions:

No. 1 — The crappie fishing practice was tough on Lake D’Arbonne Monday and Tuesday, especially in regards to consistent BIG ONES for the Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship.

No. 2 —  Many fishermen didn’t even fish Monday because they knew the rain Monday screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-5-23-22-pmnight and Tuesday (see yellow, red and green map) would change things up.

No. 3 —  The crappie are all be in deep water. The crappie are all moving into the flats. The crappie are all shallow. The crappie will only hit jigs. The crappie will only hit shiners. And on and on...

No. 4 — It never rains in Louisiana.

True or False?  Your guess is as good as mine, except on No. 4.  Here’s my point:  Talking to Crappie Masters contestants this week and getting straight answers is kind of like watching CNN and expecting REAL NEWS. They are talking, but it’s kind of like a true/false test.  Of course, a few real tricksters will tell you exactly what they are doing, knowing all along you will never believe them anyway.

Okay, here’s an easier fill in the blanks question:

How many rod and reels does it take to fish in a Crappie Masters tournament? Here’s  the answer:


Answer: At least 8, and that’s on one side of the boat and not counting the ones in the rod box or the spares back at the room. And there’s always the short trip to TaterBugs for reinforcements.

Two more things on this slow day on the lake:

I’ve met several nice folks on the lake already. Two of them were Jenko Fishing’s  Danny and Pam Kirkendall from near Tulsa, Oklahoma. I quickly discovered they have a secret weapon. A lot of fisherpeople have extremely productive fish finding equipment on their boats. You’ve heard of the Helix Nine? Well, nothing is more effective than the Kirkendall’s  Bella Six.

Bella, by the way, is a six-year-old Welsh Corgi dog that almost always takes Danny and Pam fishing with her.  “She’s our secret weapon for sure,” Danny said. “She’s fished with us all over the country and she sure loves finding crappie!”

The Kirkendalls fish several tournaments each year. I asked them about their approach to Lake D’Arbonne.

“Well, we have been doing the opposite of what we normally would do this week,” said Danny. “Based on the advice of a great local fisherman who will remain unnamed, we started in the deep water and worked our way into the creeks and flats and then to shallower water looking for fish. Normally we do it the other way.”

The Kirkendalls found pretty much what everybody else is reporting. They would catch one really good crappie, a few pretty good crappie and then a bunch of small ones almost everywhere they went. It’s making it hard to form a pattern and a game plan.

“But we are here to have fun first and if we catch fish, fine. If we don’t fine,” said Danny. Danny is retired from a career with Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Pam is a retired nurse.


Danny, Pam and Bella

And last, but not least …

Hey, I’m getting all ready for Crappie Masters, too!

I think my catches are pretty much par for the course the last few days. I’ve included some photographic evidence below. There is a seven-fish limit each day of the competition, so how do you think I would have done today?


I’d estimate my seven-fish limit at 9.53 pounds!

What’s that I hear?  Grumbling about one of my fish not looking exactly like a crappie?

Okay, so one may be identifying as a catfish, but I’ve been reading up on the rules for Crappie Masters. It just says, “There is a seven fish limit per day. . . All fish must be brought to the official weigh-in line in a cooler. Failure to bring your fish to the weigh-in line in a cooler will result in disqualification. Fish bags or buckets are prohibited.”

Catfish are fish, right ( A little backup from my Oak Grove friends, here, please...) ???

Ha!  Oh, wait a minute. I must not be the first one to try this. On down the list of rules I found that crafty Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine has beat me to the punch…It says:   “Teams may weigh in seven (7), live crappie on tournament day. Teams seven (7) crappie must be alive when entering the official weigh-in line. Teams presenting more than seven crappie will be disqualified.

Well, I’m just a fun fisherman so I wasn’t going to ante up the $325 entry fee anyway. I’m just not a betting man. In fact, at Crappie University the last four weeks in Bossier City at the Margaritaville Casino, I only placed one bet.  I made a $26 wager at the World Tour Food Buffet. I beat the house on that one, by the way.  Can I have a sweet tea to go?

See you on the lake!

  Be safe out there.





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