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Lake life

Pumpkin spice time… for crappie?

It’s November. Forget chocolate and vanilla and peanut butter. The flavor of this month is pumpkin spice. Just deal with it. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the new thing. Pumpkin spice candles. Pumpkin spice snacks. Pumpkin spice … tea … pancakes … bread … coffee … creamer … caramels and more. Blame it on pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. That’s where the craze started 15 years ago. And now it’s everywhere. Except Subway. There is no pumpkin spice 12-inch wheat sub. Yet.

So why not pumpkin spice crappie jigs and Crappie Nibbles?

Crappie G’s Greg Davis finishes a fine pumpkin spice crappie jig

We asked three expert jig-tiers to use their imagination and try and match the colors of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and clove and make us some custom, pumpkin spice crappie jigs. And we went further. We even mixed a packet of pumpkin spice seasoning in a bottle of Crappie Magnet Slab Bites.

And we actually put them to the test. And we caught crappie on them. Yes, we did. And that just proves. Well, I don’t know what it proves, except if you can fool a fisherman with it, you can probably fool a fish if he gets hungry. After all, orange jigs have been around a long time.

Our three friendly volunteer jig makers didn’t let their feathers get ruffled at the request and they turned out some great looking Fall jigs. Our three volunteer jig makers were Wesley “Big Sasquatch” Miller of Doyline, Jimmy Watt of Bastrop and Greg Davis of Tullos, all well known for their top-quality and productive, hand-tied jigs.

Watt went with four color schemes, one mainly orange and brown, one gold body and orange tail, one orange body with a brown stripe and orange and black tail and one copper and tan with an orange tail. As with all his jigs, he added a single gold or silver foil trailer.
Wesley “Big Sasquatch” Miller’s hand-tied versions of a pumpkin spice jig with a gold and orange head.

Sasquatch pumpkin spice jigs by Wesley Miller

Miller made one gold head and one orange and accented the body with orange and gold mix with a small orange split tail. Davis, who makes Crappie G jigs, made three sizes from 1/32- to 1/8-ounce and stuck with all pumpkin — orange with a bit of gold and tan in the bodies and tails.

And as for the Slab Bites, we just took a bottle of McCormick’s Pumpkin Pie Spice flavoring and mixed it with the nibbles. We don’t have enough evidence to know how much the fish liked them, but there is no doubt it made the fishy nibbles smell a whole lot better. And as a bonus, it also worked well to keep the Slab Bites from sticking together, too. And if you accidentally leave the lid off, they smell a whole lot better than what the natural ones smell like.

Maybe you can’t get a custom made pumpkin spice jig, but there are some on the market that are pretty close. I’d say get with the program and give them a try.

“The pumpkin spice colors are similar to combination of a crawfish and a grass shrimp mixed together,” said Davis. “It’s a bug-looking pattern, and that works best for black crappie, but in off-color water, it will catch white crappie, too. A lot of people use orange heads and orange jigs all the time, so this isn’t that uncommon. But the pumpkin spice … that’s a first for me.”

Jimmy Watt came up with four productive pumpkin spice jigs!

Watt laughed and said he’d try anything, noting he knew these were just a novelty, but the colors do catch fish a lot of the year. In fact, some jigs he had already makes were very similar. He said that while these colors are mostly used in the spring or stained water, they work in the fall, as well when fish start feeding up for the colder months. Crawfish season, after all, usually kicks off in November in Louisiana. And most of these jigs look just like crawfish colors.

Colors are important, Miller said, but the main thing is finding fish and making sure you present the bait like they want it.

Sometimes the fish are super-aggressive and swim out to nail it. Other times, you have to be quiet, patient and wait until the fish are ready to bite. He agreed with the others that orange, gold and brown are dependable colors in October, not just for household decorations, but for catching fish as well.

Love it or hate it, Fall brings a resurgence of the cultural phenomenon. Ever since that first pumpkin pie spice coffee hit the market, it’s been “a thing.” There’s no end in sight. And for you history buffs, the origin of pumpkin spice dates back to the Dutch East India Company and are native to Southeast Asian islands.

Just DO NOT let your fishing buddies catch you drinking a French pumpkin spice iced Ristretto, 10 shot with breve, whipped caramel and poured, not shaken. No. No. No. NO!

I can’t help you if you do. And the fish will know, too. Trust me.

Pumpkin spice + Crappie Magnet slab bites + Fall cool snaps. How could crappie not Fall for that?

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