The jig and minnow combination barely reaches the seven foot depth when the pole bends in the first of the spider rig holders.  Lifting it immediately, the feel of the fish at the other end is great.  Brought to surface he is a nice 2-pound white crappie.  Not a bad way to start the day with such a nice fish only a couple of minutes into the trip.

The trip is with Billy Blakely, chief guide at Blue Bank Resort on the eastern shore of Reelfoot Lake.  Billy and I are into our second fishing trip together and both are very successful. The weather is a bit cooler than the blazing hot days we had last time.  The air temperature is plus 50 degrees and the water about 60 degrees.

We are fishing a stump field off of a point in about 15 feet of water.  With the spider rig we can fish at a variety of depths from 7 ½ feet to 9 ½ feet.  The 12-foot poles have a very sensitive reaction to any action from fish.  We have Capps & Coleman pre-rigged hook and sinker leaders suspended below small bobbers.

Getting into position is a bit more problematic due to low water levels on the lake from a very dry summer.  The War Eagle boat with its heavy gauge aluminum hull takes quite a beating from the many stumps and logs beneath the surface.

We bait up and move very slowly from the downwind side of the structure to ease them into position.  Soon we are catching fish ranging from half pound to the two pounders.  The action slows at times but then can be like the proverbial Chinese fire drill with fish on multiple poles at the same time.

Most of the fish we catch are white crappie but we do get a few nice black crappie.  The black crappie is known locally as “stubbys” referring to their rather blunt nose.  Some locals call them “shallow water crappies” as they inhabit the more shallow areas.

All of the fish we are catching are in good health with no sign of parasites, marks, or damage.  Our morning catch totaled 54 fish in the cooler for dinner tonight at the resort.  We also have a few of the larger fish in the live well to photograph before releasing them.



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  1. Billy is a fine angler. Great photo Don. 🙂

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