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Lake life

‘Beep Beep’ for crappie!

Dan Dannenmueller

Beep Beep. It’s Road Runner time.

But instead of Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner in a Looney Tunes cartoon, I’m talking a different chase.

It’s that time of the year that crappie start chasing one of my favorite crappie lures — the Road Runner. You know, the kind that are made by Blakemore Lures and are actually MADE to get caught by a crappie, not a coyote.

When the crappie start to stage for spawning and actually engage in the spawn, a Road Runner lure is tough to beat. That’s because in its easiest presentation, you just cast it out and reel it in. The Road Runner is effective because it looks like a baitfish and, according to Blakemore ads, 1) because fish feed up and the Road Runner is easier for fish to see; 2) the blade rarely tangles with your fishing line like ”safety pin” spinners; and 3) the blade position also doesn’t interfere with hook-ups.

I also like them because they’ve been around since 1958, almost as long as me!

The traditional marabou jigs are the most popular, but several new models are also catching lots of crappie. My personal favorite is the new Gold Series Road Runner which is a combination of the older models, but looks more like a hair jig with a spinner in the water. It also works great with a small trailer. Any of the lures also work well with a live shiner trailer when fish are wanting a bigger bait.

I don’t want to bore you with how I like to fish them, so I’ve enlisted the help of one of the most popular and successful fishermen on the pro crappie trail, Crappie Now magazine publisher, Dan Dannenmueller, Sr. , to tell us more. Take it away, Dan…

Two of the newer models of Road Runners, the Go Go Runner, left, and the Gold Series with Bleeding Bait hook, right

“I love the Road Runner because of the head shape and blade and how it connects to balance the bait. They have nothing but the sharpest hooks and clean, bright paints,” Dan told me. “My overall favorite for casting, jigging and pushing is the Pro Series 2, 1/16 and 1/8th models. I use them for all conditions except when the fish show me they only want live bait and NO color. If I could only take three of the lures with me, it would be the Pro Series 2s, 1/16th ounce, white and chartreuse, White and blue and orange.”

Dan is a regular fishing the pro tournaments on Lake D’Arbonne and the Ouachita River. He says the basic approach to fishing the lure is to throw it out and reel it in, but it is versatile. It depends if you have a favorite technique. He uses them for spider rigging, pulling, jigging and casting. Due to its blade, it will work for all of these. He is primarily am a spider rigger. He and his wife fish tournaments together as the “Crappie Mates”.

“There are dozens of great colors, but Dan depends on a little technology to help him pick.

“I use a color selector by Spikeit to chose colors depending on cloudy vs. sunshine, water clarity and action (fast or slow) based on water temperature,” he said. “I choose size based on technique, speed and current. I match the hatch on bait size to the type of Bobby Garland plastic I use and the size of the minnows in the lake or river I am fishing.”

Dan adds one more “big tip”, as he calls it.

“Always make sure the plastic used with it is straight on the RR to make it run right,” he says. “That is really important. Use a silver blade in clear water and a gold blade in stained to muddy water. They will catch anything, I have caught turtles and even a stingray in Florida two years ago. It seems like they are one of the oldest crappie baits around. That should say something about their effectiveness. When it consistently catches fish in any body of water and conditions, you know it looks like food to the fish. Plus, they just keep improving them to keep them effective in all conditions.”

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