TABLE ROCK (MO) CRAPPIES   Leave a comment


Pulling out of Cape Fear Marina in West Branson, MO the air temperature was an unseasonable 50-degree.  The water temperature and the crappies are moving toward the bank in preparation for the spawn.  Two weeks ago 2-inches of snow greeted anglers.  Spring comes late this year to the Ozarks.

Rick LaPoint of Chauffeured Guide Service (800-869-2210) is the guide for this crappie fishing excursion that was originally a trout fishing trip on another lake in the area.  Rick thought this would be fun and I agreed.

We are in the James River arm of Table Rock Lake where we fished ditches and deep water coves.  The Missouri Department of Conservation reports surveys of the area four largemouth bass in the 11-13 inch range.  Spotted bass were in the 12-14 inch category.

The black crappies in the fish surveys are in good numbers are running up to 10 inches.  The white crappie population is fair with fish also up to 10 inches.

Many fish habitat structures including brush piles, stump fields and rock piles are now in the lake.  There is an interactive map of the structures available on the MDC public website at

Crappies were there but we could only coax a few with our 1/16th ounce jig and Bobby Garland plastic minnow imitation of a minnow.  The Razr rods from Ricks other company are spooled with 6 pound line.  Although rather heavy for crappie fishing, the heavier line allows one to pull jig out of brush piles without breaking off.

Rick recommends the use of stationary bobbers as opposed to the more often used slip bobber.  His theory is that when jigging the lure back to the boat, it floats with the jig parallel to the surface.  With the slip bobber the jig rises and falls in response to the line slipping through the bobber.  Rick also believes the stationary bobber’s fixed position allows us to set the depth just enough to reach the top of the brush piles.

We tip the jigs with Crappie Nibbles to help establish a scent trail in the water.

In response to comments about the Sycamore trees growing right at the shoreline and falling into the water at some point, Rick points out that these trees absorb a lot of water.  He explains that when they used to build fish attractors, it is not necessary to weight them down.  They just readily absorb the water and sink on their own.

The first part of our trip the catching is kind of bad.  At one point we begin fish right up in the shallows just inches from the shore.  We start to catch nice male crappies instead of the females we find on the brush piles in deeper water.  The action picks up dramatically and in addition to a number of under sized crappies we catch 7 keeper fish as well as a Goggle eye and one small Largemouth Bass.

Time is the enemy of all Outdoor Writers.  All too soon it is time to put up the rods and do some pictures and an interview about fishing rods for an article.


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