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Lake life

Lining out the crappie

Now let me get this straight. And you better pay attention.

We’re going to put two seats in the back of the boat, throw out curly tail Fin Spin lures in various colors from two sets of crappie poles, each set containing a six, 8 and 10 foot rod, to keep the baits separated. Then we are going to troll out of the back of the boat, even though the trolling motor is up front? Who’s going to watch where we are going?

“That’s it,” John Godwin said, as he guided the boat with his trolling motor’s remote control straight across the big flat Tuesday afternoon. “I’ll keep an eye out up front and make sure we don’t run into anybody. You keep an eye on the poles. And we are going to go one mile an hour. Throw out the bait closest to the motor first, the middle one second and then the long pole last. I bet we catch a fish before you even get that last pole set.”

Okay, I did. And we did. The last bait had just hit the water when the first pole started jerking and bending. It was a nice two pound crappie.

What were we doing? It’s called long-lining. It’s not really new, but not many folks do it. It isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s kind of like spider rigging in reverse. And it takes a special knack. You get hung up some. Fish swim across the other lines and tangle them on occasion. But it catches fish.

“I love long lining because we can cover a lot of ground and I can actually watch the Hummingbird and see when we pass over fish. You can know when you are going to get a bite a lot of the time,” John said.

Sure enough. He said a minute later, “look at the fish on the depth finder. We should catch one in about 10 seconds.” We did. Godwin became famous for his role in the Duck Dynasty TV show, but he is just as passionate about crappie fishing as he is duck hunting — maybe even moreso. And going on a trip with him is as much fun as watching an episode of the show on TV. Even if we didn’t get to eat a ham samich.

The crappie on D’Arbonne are biting right now and the full moon this week has a lot of big fish going shallow. Most of the time during the full moon, the big females will move up during the night and ease back off to holding areas during the day. The big males, usually darker in color, will stay around the trees and shallow spawning areas protecting the nests.

There are still fish in the channels and a lot of fish in transition in the creeks and flats. The next couple of weeks are some of the best times of the year to be on the water. One of the most important things to remember is this: Not all fish spawn at the same time, so just because some are shallow or some are on the flats, that doesn’t mean they are all there. Pick your favorite spot and give it a shot. If you don’t have any luck or see fish on your electronics, try and different technique or area. It is still hit or miss, though. That crazy little weather zinger Wednesday seemed to really slow things down for most people. But they should pick right back up.

There’s a lot of fishing pressure on the lake now, so be patient both on the lake and at the ramps. And that pressure is about to double starting Saturday as recreational fishermen and the 100 teams that are fishing next week’s big ACT National Championship will be on the lake practicing. You’ll probably see some of the contestants in that tournament doing some long lining. So when you see two fishermen in the back of the boat and nobody apparently driving, you know what they are doing.

Health Alert: If you happen to be on the lake and an 8-10 mph gust of wind comes up, hold your breath. You’re gonna get dusted by a pollen bomb. The sky turned green late yesterday evening when that happened. Unbelievable.

If my words on long-lining don’t make sense, check out this short video John did a year or so back. Roll that fish footage:


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