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Lake life

Hodge lands state’s No. 2 crappie at Bussey

Shane Hodge of Farmerville caught the second largest white crappie ever landed in Louisiana Sunday afternoon on Bussey Brake north of Bastrop. When certified, the 3.65 slab will move into the second spot previously held by a 3.60 pound white crappie. That monster was caught at Bussey as well by James Anthony Griffin of Bastrop in February of 2021.

The 3.65 crappie was obviously Hodge’s personal best. In fact, it was his second personal best crappie of the afternoon! He had landed a 2.86 pounder not long before. He caught both of those fish on 1/16th ounce black and white hair jigs that he ties himself.

“This was one of those days that you dream of,” Shane said. “Catching my personal best twice in one day, that was awesome. And to be able to weigh it and find out it was almost a state record. That’s something.”

We got to hear this story because Hodge was able to keep the fish alive in the livewell and get it back to K&M Coffee, Corks and Camo in Farmerville, the nearest certified scale he knew about, to weigh it. Justin Bailey opened up the store and weighed both the fish.

But this fish story has more moving parts than an extra large Leggo crane set. Here are the details of the afternoon, as graciously shared by Shane.

Crappie pro Matthew Rogers had been in the tournament on D’Arbonne this weekend and had heard about the big fish in Bussey. He and Bailey made a trip up there fishing and when they started catching some big ones, they texted some pictures to fellow pro Steve Adams of Farmerville and told him he needed to come catch some big ones.

Adams called Hodge and asked him if he wanted to go. Of course, the answer was yes and he grabbed a jig box and a couple of rods and off they went. They caught several nice fish, including the 2.86. Adams and Hodge were taking turns fishing for crappie they were spotting on their live sonar and Adams was up front in his Ranger 521L boat. Adams actually hooked the big fish and brought it right up to the top and it came off. Hodge didn’t see it because he was reaching for the net, but Adams said it was a whopper.

After adjusting to what had just happened for a second, they began scanning the area with the electronics and saw the big fish swimming back slowly toward the bushes.

“Steve threw a bait at him again, but it didn’t bite, so Steve told me to cast at it and I flipped my jig out there and he ate it,” Hodge said. “We knew it was a big one, but had no idea how big until it came up and rolled on its side. Steve scooped it up with the net and we stopped and weighed it on his scales. It weighed 3.63 on his portable scales. We put it in the livewell and we knew we needed to come get it weighed. But we had a hard time leaving because the big fish just kept biting.”

As soon as they got back in the truck, Hodge called his wife and his dad and told them about it. They also talked to Bailey and made arrangements to open up the store and get it officially weighed.

And the rest is history. Hodge did contact the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to make sure he followed the correct procedure to get the fish certified in the records and will anxiously be awaiting the results. Hodge is 50 years old and works as a regional salesman for Peroxychem and loves to crappie fish.

Bailey and Rogers didn’t do too badly, either. Their seven biggest of the afternoon weighed 16.66 pounds and included 3.04, 2.68 and 2.49 pounders. Their scales’ readout is shown below.

The Louisiana State record white crappie weighed 3.80 pounds and was caught by Tim Ricca on Lake Verret in May, 2010.

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