I love fishing for crappie with a LiveScope.
What’s not to love? I mean you can pull right up on a flat or along the edge of a creek, lower the sucker down in the water and immediately you know if there is a crappie anywhere from the front of the boat to 15-20 feet out from where the thing is pointing. I was fortunate enough to get to go with traveling pro and guide Josh Jones last week and play the LiveScope fishing game.
We rode up the channel on D’Arbonne and he spotted a group of trees that were a likely looking slough that would hold some crappie right now. With the lake falling, it was a bit of a chore to get up in the deeper water, but we made it. Josh climbed on the front deck, lowered the trolling motor and LiveScope transducer into the water. He’d never fished this spot before.
“Oh look,” he said, facing down at the unit. “There’s a good one.”
I glanced at the depth finder screen and there was a big old orange ball sitting about 8 feet down by a stump. Before I could step up on the front deck, Josh was setting the hook on the 1.80 crappie (that’s what is normally called a two pounder unless you actually weigh it on scale). I just looked at him funny and said “that’s no way to treat your guest”.
He assured me there would be plenty more. Within five minutes, I had my shot and landed an almost identical one in the same manner. In a couple of hours, we had about 30 fish to keep and let the rest go. Unbelievable.
Seeing fish on the screen, easing your bait down in front of them — and seeing it all unfold in front of you like an unborn baby wiggling it’s fingers on an ultrasound — it’s the latest technology for fishing. And you are right, it doesn’t seem fair, unless the fish win.
And oh by the way . . .
I hate fishing for crappie with a LifeScope.
Here’s the rest of the story. When you are fishing in a “normal” manner, just floating around drowning minnows or swimming your favorite jig, you don’t know much other than if you think the fish aren’t biting or not. But oh, no. Not with LiveScope. You know when you’ve been played.
At another spot on down the big lake, we pulled off a little creek and started to look for fish. I’m no slow learner. I was up on the front deck with my fishing pole before Josh could get the scope in the water this time. And again, it wasn’t long until we spotted some fish. In an old leaning treetop, there were seven to eight orange “blips” on the screen. I was getting all set to pitch my little jig up into the top when Josh turned to the boat to the right and said, “those aren’t big ones”.
Not big ones? My fish cooker full of peanut oil doesn’t know if they are big or not. Man, it will be disappointed if it finds out. Then we spotted another single big orange blip —the signature of what a slab crappie looks like on the screen.
“That’s a monster!,” Josh said, still getting excited just like he still does every time he sees a slab crappie, even though it’s about his zillionth time to do it. He said “get ready”. Look, in non-technical LiveScope terms, you can tell the size of the crappie showing below you on the scope by comparing a one-pound fish to a baseball size, a 1.80 pounder to a softball size and a 2.5 – 3.0 pounder to a football. And not one of those New England Patriot half-inflated footballs. A FULLY inflated football. They are pretty impressive on the screen, especially when you think you might catch it.
This crappie was a football! I followed Josh’s instructions and got the bait close. A little lower, a little lower….a little to the right…RIGHT THERE! I held on, watching my bait dangle inches above the big crappie’s face. The slab turned up toward the bait, usually an indication that you are about to get a bite. Then she just turned and swam away from the little jig and went on her merry way. Just like she was Miss Priss and I was Rodney Dangerfield.
It happened more than once. And it will happen again. Just because you can see them doesn’t always mean you can catch them. At least not us mere mortal crappie anglers. But the story ended well. A good mess of crappie and a great learning experience with a great crappie angler. I will say the double-meat cheeseburger basket from K&M after the trip almost made me forget the snub by Miss Priss. If the big fish didn’t want to eat, hey, it wasn’t going to stop me.
The moral of the story (Yes, there’s a moral). Only time on the water can teach you how to learn to maximize any technology. But there a few things you can do with LiveScope fish to catch more. Here are three undeniable fishing facts I picked up from Josh:
- When you drop your bait in front of the fish, move slowly, especially with big ones. They didn’t get big by accident, so they are cautious. As you get your bait close to the fish, let it sit still. Don’t jig it up and down. Just the nervous twitch in your wrist will move the jig plenty.
- Never lower your bait below the fish’s eyes. Crappie look up to feed up. Even though the fish may weigh three pounds and your teeny weeny little jig may only weigh an eighth of an ounce, if you drop it below the crappie’s line of sight, it will swim away. They are basically fraidy cats.
- Be quiet. Real quiet. And still. It’s fraidy cat crappie, part 2. Waves hitting the front of your boat, kicking on the trolling motor, knocking over your Coke can, even talking too loudly can spook the crappie when they are surveying your lure. I’m serious.
- I know, I said three. But this one is from me. It’s the biggest LiveScope secret tip of all. If you have a LiveScope…never, never, never let your wife know how much you paid for it. Never. No matter how many fresh fish dinners you treat her to. Never.