Archive for the ‘Kyle Schoenherr’ Tag

Four Kinds of Crappies   Leave a comment

Kyle with hybrid crappie weighing 2 plus pounds.

Kyle with hybrid crappie weighing 2 plus pounds.

 

From left to right.  Black Nose Crappie, True Black Crappie, Natural hybrid Black Crappie and True White Crappie.

From left to right. Black Nose Crappie, True Black Crappie, Natural Hybrid Black Crappie and True White Crappies

Although our quarry of choice today is the Black Crappie, the discussion soon turns to the four types of crappies here in southern Illinois on Kinkaid Lake.

As we pull out of the cove concealing Paul Ice Boat Ramp, Kyle explains that the really large “Black Crappie” of the lake is actually a hybrid.  The other species in the lake are Blacknose crappie, black crappie and white crappie.

Kyle Schoenherr is a professional crappie angler and local guide.  He has consulted with biologists about the hybrids and all seem to agree with his assessment of the genealogy of these big fish.

A number of Kyle’s clients have caught crappies over 2 pounds.  All of the big fish have certain traits in common.  He has shown images of the fish to biologists in KY and TN and they refer to them as Coosa River Hybrids.  Kyle has found similar fish in KY Lake and the Alabama River while fishing tournaments.

The hybrid fish resemble the white crappie generally except they have 7 or 8 spines in the dorsal fin and their color is reminiscent of the black crappie.  White crappies have 6 spines.  The hybrids have the speckled pattern on the sides but also have vertical bars which the whites do not display.

The fish grow quickly and have some of the habits of both the white and black crappie.  They appear to be a naturally produced hybrid and not one introduced to the lake.

An internet search finds that the first Hybrids came from Arkansas where they were the offspring of Blacknose crappie and the true white crappie.  Kinkaid has two populations of introduced Blacknose crappie.  One was introduced in September of 2010 and the other in August of 2012.

The literature maintains that hybrids appear naturally but are not common.  They have the physical appearance of one species and the spine count of the other.  The biggest crappies seem to be the hybrids.  The second generation fish will reproduce but do not grow fast and are highly susceptible to predation from largemouth bass and bluegill.  The first generation fish grow faster and weigh more than either the black crappie or white crappie.

So it is that we find four kinds of crappie.  We are catching Black Crappie, Blacknose Crappie, White Crappie and Hybrid Crappie.

NO MORE STINKY HANDS   1 comment

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Watching Kyle clean crappie for clients, I am amazed at the smooth and efficient manner that all his years as a guide have produced.

Once his clients have their fillets wrapped and in the cooler, Kyle turns and asks if I am ready to go catch some fish and take some photos.  Of course is the response.  “Always.”

At this point he takes a small white bottle out of his tackle box.  A new scent?  A new lure?  A new bait?  Wrong on all counts.

The bottle is a sample of Harvest Clean, (www.harvestclean.com) a deodorizing hand wash.  He shook it up and sprayed onto his hands.  After rubbing it liberally onto his hands, Kyle takes a paper towel and wipes them.  End result is that the stink of fish is gone and in its place is a citrus odor.

According to the instructions on the bottle this stuff is also good for field dressing wild game when no water is available.  But, I will have to wait till dove season opens in August to give that a try.

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.

COLD WATER CRAPPIE FISHING   1 comment

guide kyle schoenherr with deep water crappie

Kyle Schoenherr displays a cold water White Crappie from Lake Kinkaid, IL

Preferring the warm confines of home to fishing out on a lake in 40-degree temperatures does not make one unusual. But a while back Kyle Schoenherr’s tales of 2-pound crappie became irresistible.

In addition to the cold weather the idea of fishing with 16-foot poles was also new. The limber 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 rather successfully competes on the Crappie Masters tournament trail.

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

The terminal tackle is a 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 is applied to give the minnow or jig a realistic presentation. Usually in deep water a shorter rod is used. Kyle prefers 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 and I have some hits and a fish. We relocate across the bay. I begin to reel in my line when 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 I bring my crappie 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 came from 33 feet beneath the surface. If we are to save it alive, immediate attention to the air bladder is required. The Slabmaster holds the fish so that it can be measured for length, and an estimate of age and weight can be taken. In order to keep it alive, the air bladder must be deflated.

A needle inserted into the air bladder at a 45 degree angler deflates it. Where is the air bladder? The Slabmaster has a slot that marks the location. 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 the highlight of the day. Kyle maintains that 2-pound fish are not uncommon in the lake but it is a new experience for this angler.

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