LATE WINTER CRAPPIE SURPRISE   Leave a comment

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The ice will soon be off our favorite lakes.  Most of us as we get older tend to prefer the warm confines of home to fishing out on a lake in 40-degree temperatures.  Kyle Schoenherr of All Seasons Crappie Fishing changed all of that by enticing me out on the water this morning with tales of 2-pound crappie.

The limber crappie fishing poles provide the sensitivity to feel virtually everything that comes into contact with the terminal tackle.

All Seasons Crappie Fishing (www.allseasonscrappiefishing.com) is a guide service dedicated to crappie fishing all year.   Kyle is also a tournament crappie fisherman who competes on the Crappie Masters tournament trail.

Cruising along on Lake Kinkaid near Murphysboro, Illinois the wind is down but the air cold.  We move to some bluffs to start fishing.  Kyle explains that the bluffs continue into the water and below the surface are rocks and brush.  What is surprising is that the structure is some 40 feet below the surface.

Our terminal tackle is the standard crappie rig of a heavy sinker at the end with a tag line tied about 18 inches up.  On the tag line is a small jig or a hook with a minnow.  The rig is jigged vertically.  A slight twitching motion applied gives the minnow or jig a realistic presentation.  Usually in deep water a shorter rod is used.  However, Kyle likes the sensitivity of a long pole.

We slowly troll parallel to the underwater ledges beneath the bluffs.  Kyle explains that he prefers to follow the lay of the land beneath the surface as opposed to the shoreline.  The bottom here drops off three or four feet which seems to make a difference in the fish we see in the locator.

Kyle catches several fish.  We relocate across the bay.  Reeling in my line it suddenly goes sideways.  I do not feel a hit until I set the hook.  The flexible rod allows for some fun fishing action as the crappie comes to the surface.  It is over 2 pounds in size.

Kyle quickly nets the fish and places it in a Slabmaster Crappie Saver.  This fish comes from 33 feet beneath the surface and if we are to save it alive, we must pay immediate attention to its air bladder.  The Slabmaster holds the fish to measure for length and an estimation of age and weight.  In order to keep it alive we must deflate the air bladder.

Kyle inserts a hollow needle into the air bladder at a 45 degree angler.  Where is the air bladder?  The Slabmaster has a slot that marks the location for the fisherman.  Kyle inserts the needle and the process is over in seconds.  The fish is alive and will stay that way in the live well.  In tournaments that is important as all fish weighed in dead result in a points penalty which could make the difference between a winner and an also ran.

Catching this fish is a highlight of the trip.  Kyle assures that 2-pound fish are not uncommon in the lake but it is a personal best for me.

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