Kyle Schoenherr displays nice Rend lake Crappie taken out of a stake bed located in a stump field.

Kyle Schoenherr displays nice Rend lake Crappie taken out of a stake bed located in a stump field.

The afternoon light is fading and the bright autumn colors are perfect for photography. With that in mind, we plunge away from the launch ramp at Gun Creek Access. Gun Creek is one of the waterways that create Rend Lake near Whittington, IL.

Kyle Schoenherr selects a particular location for catching crappies and photographing them against the fall colors of the shoreline.  It is located well for the late afternoon sun to highlight the fall colors but it not particularly known as a crappie haven.

The abundance of seagulls feeding on shad does indicate the possibility of crappies being present. There are a couple of dead trees and a few stumps visible. But, the area does not appear to be a hot bed of crappie action.

Turning on the Lowrance electronics, Kyle begins some instruction on how to read the side scanner to find crappies. “I look for structure within structure,” explains Schoenherr. “It might be a stake bed in grass.” Other examples are stump fields with laydown logs on the bottom, stake beds in stump fields, or logs piled in submerged brush.

Kyle explains that he and partner Rodney Neuhaus explore any new water with their electronics before ever wetting a line. They use the side scanner to locate the different structure. They mark the points on their GPS. Then when it is time to fish, the guys record the structure that has fish on it and marks them with a buoy marker.

By backing away and then approaching it very slowly they reach out to fish the points with very long BnM poles. Sometimes they troll jigs.  Live bait anglers use line slip bobbers with a jig and minnow suspended at the desired depth where fish are located. Actually they suspend the jigs slightly above the fish because crappies tend to feet above their location.

Through long experimentation, Kyle has found that crappies like tight structure in shallow water. For instance a stake bed in a stump field will yield the most fish in the stake bed. The structure is much closer together than are the stumps. They like logs in a stump field more than just the stumps. The most numbers tend to come from heavy cover.

When fishing laydowns, Rodney and Kyle usually find more fish in the root system of the tree than relating to the trunk or limbs.
Turning to the Lowrance, Kyle explains that he ignores the middle of the screen. The two views on either side present a “view from above” that is a picture of the bottom on either side of the boat. It is almost like a photo of the bottom. It is easy to identify logs, brush, etc. as they look like just what they are.

This pattern takes a little getting accustomed to but it has proven effective in a number of crappie tournament wins for this team.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: