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Lake life

Slab crappie curve balls

Big fat momma crappie hanging on the edge of staging areas ready to go spawn. Increasing angler skills that help them focus on catching big crappie. Trolling motors that let you hit the “anchor” button and use GPS to hold you exactly where the fish are. And LiveScope. Oh, yes. LiveScope. The fishing “electronics” device that let’s you see fish, pick out the big ones, drop a bait right in front of their nose and see when they turn to bite it. It’s the same type device that lets a pregnant lady see her baby before it is born and determine if it’s a boy or a girl, or if it’s sucking its thumb. Yes, it’s that good.

So, do the fish have a chance? Sometimes, no.

But as angler’s get their practice on for this weekend’s Crappie Masters Qualifier on Lake D’Arbonne, Mother Nature still has a few tricks up her sleeve. Yes, even crappie fishing has its “curve balls”.

Enter, Mr. Wind. The southerly breeze topped out about about 15 MPH on the lake Monday. When it hits 10, it makes it tough on anglers on much of the open parts of the lake and when it hits 15, that trolling motor “anchor” button is about as useful as a fact on CNN.

Mr. Wind took it easy Tuesday on the anglers Tuesday, but will shift from the north/northwest Wednesday and peak mid-day about 18-20 mph from the northwest. Even a LiveScope has trouble focusing on a fish when it’s moving up and down two feet with every wave! Even if anglers are spider rigging, it makes the bite tougher to see…and get. The barometric pressure will also start to rise Wednesday through Saturday that brings in to play that one fact that all the gadgets in the world can’t overcome — making the fish actually want to bite. Some folks are already reporting the big ones are a bit skittish and easy to spook.

As the week wears on and actual fishing pressure mounts, it can make things interesting. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend with lots more fishermen looking for relief from cabin fever, too. The fish can get finicky in a hurry. That could make it tougher, but it won’t shut out these crappie pros. They may not catch as many, but it should still take two-day bag of 30 pounds+ to win it and the $10,000 first prize.

CM President Mike Vallentine is expecting close to 100 boats when the final tally comes in Wednesday. Stay tuned. It should be a shootout.

Andre Smith and a 2.82 from Tuesday

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