If Kevin VanDam came and fished for bass on Lake D’Arbonne, it would turn some heads, right? Well, recently the guru of crappie fishing with LiveScope fished on D’Arbonne and it did the same thing. Josh Jones.
All. You. Need. To. Say.
He kind of “slipped in” the field because he normally doesn’t fish crappie tournaments and there was no pre-tournament list published. He’s a 32-year-old crappie guide from Oklahoma, but a recent knee injury has sidelined him from guiding for a while. So he’s out bass fishing by himself for fun and in a few tournaments and doing well. He plans on getting back into guiding, but is also going to keep trying his hand at some bass tournaments, too.
Jones fished Crappie Masters and finished in 11th place with 14 crappie weighing 27.12 pounds. He had just seen D’Arbonne for the first time two days before the event started. His first impression wasn’t that good, but it got better. Here. I’ll let him tell you:
“My first day I’m thinking this D’Arbonne is the worst lake I’ve ever seen in my life,” he says with a laugh.”The fish were so spooky. Every time you’d see one on the LiveScope and try to drop a bait down, ZOOM, they’d take off. Or they would just sit there like they were asleep. I’ve never seen them like that, but I think it was because in the areas where many of the big fish are, there was a lot of fishing pressure. The wind was blowing a thousand miles and hour and it wasn’t a good day. The next day, the wind calmed and the fish started biting. My first day of the tournament, I had to get away from the crowd so I ran all the way up that D’Arbonne bayou arm, past the end of the boat lane markers where it was just a creek. In other words, up to that small part of the lake that is in Lincoln Parish. I caught fish everywhere but they just weren’t good tournament fish.
“The next day I stayed on the big lake and caught some great fish. I saw some more huge ones. They were still a challenge to catch. I just randomly picked a spot. I had a great tournament and I’ll definitely be back. There are fish all over the lake. Right now, even in the spawn, I’d stick close to the sloughs and the edges of the sloughs. A lot of big ones never go up shallow. You can catch them in both places and probably will for the next month.”
Here’s a bit of history about the Okie angler. Josh was the first angler to ever be given the Panoptix technology in a depth finder for fishing, the forerunner of LiveScope. It took him a while to figure it out because he had some pretty good units already. But one day, he was crappie fishing and caught a good one. He sat his pole down on the front deck to put the fish in the livewell. He turned around and was looking at the unit when he saw a big crappie swim up and take his bait. Then it hit him what he had. The rest is history.
One thing that you’ll find interesting is that Josh fishes with hair jigs a lot this time of year. Among his favorites are the Crappie G jigs hand-tied by Greg Davis down in Tullos.
Last week, I was working on an upcoming article for the Louisiana Sportsman with Josh. He called me while he was bass fishing after we missed connections earlier.
I had the most unusual experience. Pay attention here. I was actually sitting at my desk typing notes on the computer, talking to him as he saw and caught some big bass. Then he saw a big bass and said, “I’ll call you back.” A few seconds later, he called on FaceTime and I sat here, watching and talking to him “live” on the lake through his phone and Earbuds as he stood on his front boat deck three states away.
Seeing/hearing him say “Oh my gosh, it’s a monster” as he saw a big bass on the screen, then cast, set the hook and say, “I’ve got him. It’s a giant” had me reaching for the net, even though I wasn’t there. LiveScope.… iPhone…Facetime…Technology is unbelievable. At the end of the day, we caught five huge bass over 40 pounds. Oops, I mean “he” caught. I forgot. I wasn’t there, but I felt like I was. He weighs fish, holds them in his livewell until he can take a picture and then he puts them back in. Just another day on the lake from Josh Jones.
What he and others have learned about fish behavior with LiveScope in a couple of years is more than what most anglers learn in a lifetime. I’ll share some of that later, but right now, I’m out of words.
Back in the day, there was a sports announcer named Howard Cosell. He was brash. But he was good. And he put his whole heart into what he did. And he said what he thought. The one line that personified Cosell was this, “either you love him or you hate him”.
Josh is a lot like that. Crappie fishermen usually don’t wear flip flops, have long flowing blond hair or wear hip sunglasses or a knit toboggan. They don’t post live videos almost daily and just say what they think. There’s no beating around the bush with him, unless the bush is underwater and he’s pitching a Crappie G jig! His popularity has skyrocketed. A majority of folks love watching his crappie fishing videos (several of them have over a million viewers) and he has the maximum number of friends on Facebook (5,000). They ones that don’t like his style probably just wish they could catch as many big fish, bass or crappie, as him. And he still gets so excited with almost every fish you’d think it was the first one he caught. I understand that. If you don’t, perhaps golf is your game.
“I just love fishing and I love what I do,” Josh told me recently. “But I also say what I think and I show people what I do. That’s just who I am.”
Josh was one of the speakers at this year’s Crappie University in Monroe. We had to blink the lights at the end so people would go home at the end, still asking him questions and talking to him about fishing. At the recent D’Arbonne event, Josh came in to the weigh-in and everybody was surprised to see him there. Knowledgeable crappie anglers suddenly started saying, “Look, there’s Josh Jones”. When he spoke about his fishing and catching over the PA system, some of the top pros around stopped their conversations and honed in.
You haven’t heard the last from this young man. Stay tuned.
You can follow Josh on Facebook and he has his own YouTube video channel. He even just got a new logo or promote Josh Jones Fishing. But don’t try to FaceTime him while he’s fishing. He may make you cry watching him.
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