In this Article we are going to touch on something I doubt the majority of fisherman ever even stop to consider, and why most of what you see in Ads and on social media about color combos is just hype. We have all seen it, this " New" color combo or that is going to help you catch more fish, and all others are obsolete,..like the fish decided to hold a General Counsel and voted they didn't like
your old stuff anymore. The truth is, the fish could care less what brand of jig or who's face was on the package that you are using.
Before any " New" lure or color combo catches anything anywhere, it has to catch some fisherman that was walking down the aisle at the Outdoor Store or browsing online, and since the backlash can be severe depending on how cool your wives may, or may not be with your fishing habits, they put some Pro's name or Face with it to get you. Tackle companies are more concerned with catching your money, not fish.
What Really Matters....Refraction
We have all read the same stuff about water clarity and weather conditions dictating color choices, But... there is third thing that needs to be considered, and that is how refraction affects the color and size of your bait at different depths when your staring at your tackle box trying to decide what to tie on.
The very second your jig touches the water it changes color as well as size, and most people have no clue. Refraction will make your bait look bigger by 1/3 of it's size, which is good, Big fish really do like big baits.
I have had a ton of people in my boat over the years, and it isn't really a secret that my favorite colors are Black & Yellow ,Red & Chartreuse, or a Wht & Chartreuse. Yes I have all the other colors too, but I have found over time these are really as far as I have to go to get fish just about anywhere because of how those colors transform at 15 & 25 ft. ....You will see it in the video below.
I tend to worry about profiles of baits more than colors. I like big jigs, with ribs that is going to move a ton of water as it moves that the fish can sense, as well as sound that I get from using the rattles from Bobby Garland, and I use 1/4 oz heads with 1/0 hooks, this keeps my line,... 20# Power Pro, vertical and tight, allowing me to feel every branch in the brushpile as I work my jig through it. I control how fast my jig is falling through the brushpiles by how fast I raise and lower my rod tip, not by using lightweight jig heads, that will just leave you getting snagged every 5 minutes because you can't feel it.
It seems a lot of people think Crappie are shy and timid or something, and only want a tiny little jig or grub, this couldn't be further from the truth, especially with bigger fish. Don't treat these fish like they are wimps that will only eat very small baits,...get mean, drop a big ole fat noisy jig down and watch what happens, especially in murky or stained water, this will help fish find your bait more than color ever would. For instance, you have heard,....Oh, the little spot of red on my lure is to look like blood from being wounded.....growing up as a kid in Florida and being introduced to scuba diving and seeing how colors change under water,....red at 15 or 20 ft is actually going to look brown.
See for yourself in the video below, stop it at the 23 second mark,...15 ft deep, and again at 29 seconds...25 ft. I think you will be quite surprised when you see what you really fish with as opposed to what you Think....your fishing with.
As I sit here waiting for Winter to see it's way out, which in my mind, can't happen soon enough, I decided to look closer at a few of the more popular Lakes in Kansas, pull out some numbers from Weigh In's past, add them up and see where they landed. The numbers are from the KCC Tournament Anglers, derived by adding up the Big Fish Contest Weights, and the Overall Weights of each individual Angler. So you can see the size of the average Big Fish weighed in at each Lake, as well as the Average Tournament Bag based off each Anglers best 7 fish.
Located in Manhattan, KS, Tuttle Creek has taken the Honors of producing the winning fish for our Big Fish of the Year Contest two years in a row, Dustin Hobbs won the braggin rights in 2016 with a 2.04 and Derek Mazurkewycz took them in 2017 with a 2.07
Average Big Fish- 1.64 Lbs
Average Tournament Bag- 8.87 Lbs
One of my favorite lakes to fish, Melvern is always a favorite stop on the
KCC Tournament Trail. Although wind over 10 mph can make for some interesting boat rides with the whitecaps that can kick up, there is tons of man made brushpiles in there, so you can always find a somewhat sheltered place to fish.
Average Big Fish- 1.61 Lbs
Average Tournament Bag- 8.72 Lbs
Easily accessed from either Hwy 77 or Interstate 335, if you enjoy jigging standing timber, El Dorado is the Lake for you. It offers more backwater coves full of trees than you could fish in a week and never fails to deliver some solid slabs. Even if dipping trees isn't your thing, you still have plenty of rip-rap, ledges, BNSF Railroad and Hwy bridges, as well as an old water intake tower.
Average Big Fish- 1.57 Lbs
Average Tournament Bag- 8.34 Lbs
One of the more popular Lakes to fish with it's proximity to Lawrence, KS, It offers a mix of standing timber and man made brushpiles. Even with it's popularity, which also translates to pressured, It never fails to show us some quality fish when we visit Clinton for Tournaments.
Average Big Fish- 1.47
Average Tournament Bag- 7.73
Another one of the more popular Lakes in Kansas, Perry gets fished pretty hard being just outside of Topeka. It offers loads of man made brushpiles, ledges, bridges, as well as some standing timber in the back of Slough Creek. During the Summer boating season, it offers 2 Marinas, as well as offering food and even lodging at Rock Creek Marina. Perry has been hit with some pretty good floods in recent years during the spawn, and although you can still catch plenty of fish, the quality fish have been tough to find during the last few Events resulting in some pretty poor averages.
Average Big Fish - 1.28 Lbs
Average Tournament Bag 7.13
Although these Tournaments happened at different times of the year, it is still a fair representation of the Lakes and the fishing they offer. To get a more accurate picture of our Lakes and the quality of Crappie swimming around in them, I will be organizing an event at the end of the upcoming 2018 Season where we will Email a form to anyone that asks for it, to fill out at your favorite Lakes while fishing the Fall and early Winter bite next year. It will ask you to use a set of hand held fishing scales to weigh each fish you catch, not just your best ones, but all of them so we can figure out the Averages from each Lake, after all the information is collected, I will put it all together and post the results. If I can get enough people to participate, KCC will make it an annual event so we can track our favorite Lakes from year to year. Look for the Event to get posted to our Facebook page, if you are not already following us , hit the button below and look for the Event invite in November 2018.
Date: Lake: Ramp: Charity:
April 28 & 29th Clinton Lake Ramp #2 Special Olympics
May 12th- Perry Lake Jefferson Points Fishing's Future
June 23rd- Hillsdale Jayhawk Marina Fishing's Future
July 7th- Pomona Ramp #2 Fishing's Future
August 4th- El Dorado Sailboat Cove Fishing's Future
August 5th- El Dorado Sailboat Cove Single Pole Shootout
Sept 1st- Melvern Eisenhower West Fishing's Future
Sept. 8-9th Perry Jefferson Points State Championship
Nov 10th & 11th- Milford Farnum Creek KDWPT Vets Lisc. Fund
Dec 1st- Clinton Ramp #2 Toys for Tots