Noted tournament angler Paul Turner was allegedly caught fishing a different lake other than Old Hickory at the Crappie USA Classic this past weekend. Although Crappie USA has yet to confirm or deny the reports, the statement from B'nM Poles Facebook page, posted below, seems to confirm the rumors. Apparently B'nM Poles had suspicions about Paul's ethics after an incident that led to his dismissal from them back in August.
I guess it's true what they say, what goes up must come down. Just as the Crappie Industry was making some headway and tournaments gaining popularity and backing, someone has to come along and try to knock it all back to square one again. This is why Bass Tournaments do a consolidated launch similar to the one we had on Lake Hamilton at the Mr. Crappie Classic & Expo.
From what I gathered from various social media posts is that he was caught fishing on a different lake than he was supposed to be on at the Crappie USA Classic this past weekend, and was given the options of weighing his fish and getting arrested, or taking his fish and leaving,.... ( Of course he packed it up and split). I am still waiting to hear from Crappie USA why he was first off,... given the option to take his fish and leave instead of having to answer for his actions, and secondly, who covered for him and gave him the cop-out option anyway. In my opinion the officials should have let him go thru with the deed and then drop the hammer on him with no mercy, hopefully they release a statement soon clearing that up. As details come out we will update this story.
My buddy Don and I decided to get the boat wet for a bit yesterday on Clinton and do some scouting for our upcoming Veterans Day Tournament. It was an absolutely perfect day out, except for the low pressure. It was way on down there yesterday around 29.65, and that is never good for the Crappie bite.
Circled in red below, the low pressure dips between frontal systems this time of year always makes for a slow bite, and it's a shame too, those are usually some of the nicest days you could ask for weather wise, with plenty of sun and light winds. We were still able to get on some nice fish but it was a slow, very light bite. We found it was best to fish fast and cover as much water as we could. It seemed like every spot would give up two or three and then go dead, so we would just hit the few active fish from each pile and as soon as ten minutes or so passed without a bite or fish, we were off to the next pile.
We went on to put a nice mess of Crappie in the boat with a few really nice fish showing up as the afternoon went on and the water warmed up a bit on the flats. Regardless of pressure, when you fish the channel edges along the shallow flats as I like to do, you have to take into account that they go thru some pretty drastic temperature changes overnight this time of year. Best bet is to wait for the afternoon bite after the sun has had time to knock the chill off. On the shallow flats in the back of Rock Creek or all the way down on the west end, five to eight degree temperature fluctuations overnight are common.
Trying to get out there first thing and get on fish after the water temps have fallen to 56 from 62 overnight isn't really going to do you any favors. Not saying it can't be done, just saying an extra hour of sleep and breakfast at home has it's perks too.
Of all the fish we caught yesterday, the afternoon bite was noticeably better. Minnows on a drop shot would have probably been the better bet, but we were after some of those thumps that you feel all the way up to your elbow so were were using jigs only. Z-Man of course, Trick Shotz in White Lighting cut down from 3.5 to 3 on a Zman finesse shroomz jig head.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of taking Cory Ryan and Jonathon Willet, both of which are fellow combat Vets, out to Council Grove Reservoir for a day on the water. Built in the early sixties to prevent flooding and help control the Neosho River, the lake was once well known for slab Crappie.
The 3,200 acre lake still has plenty of big fish swimming around but could use a few habitat projects to be perfectly honest about it. With that being said though, For the guys that don't mind putting in the work to sink a pile or two, Council Grove is the perfect place to invest some time and effort into, they would be sure to load up fast and pay off with plenty of good fish. Council Grove Marina, just right down the road from the ramp, has the all the trimmings a good bait shop should have as well as a great Service Dept. and mechanic. With plenty of options for food, gas, and lodging available, the Grove has everything you need to make a day to remember.
Dirty Water Slab Factory-
I can't exactly put my finger on it, but the Kansas lakes that seem to be muddy all the time also seem to grow the biggest fish and Council Grove Reservoir is no exception. I credit it to the muddy water being nutrient rich and not filtered out by Zebra Mussles.
Whatever the reason is I am fine with it. Dirty water makes it easier for me to target the bigger fish that tend to live shallow without them getting to spooky on me.
Most of the fish we caught were super thick and stocky looking with anything over twelve inches long being to thick to fit in the Crappie checker and a gut that made them look like they had eaten a golf ball or something.
Gear & Presentation-
We were targeting them by parking the nose of my Ranger right on top of the brush piles and letting the Spot Lock feature on my MinnKota fight the wind do all the work to hold the boat still, and there was plenty for it to do, the wind was blowing pretty good that day.
Even though there were rollers and whitecaps we managed to stay pretty much right on top of the sweet spots. The wind driven currents had those Crappies pinned tight to the cover and if you couldn't put it right in the zone and hold it there, it wasn't gonna happen.
Fishing perfectly vertical off the bow of the boat, I had Cory and Jonathon both fishing minnows on drop shot rigs with a 3/8 Oz drop shot weight on the bottom to help them keep in contact with their baits in the 20 mph plus winds. The rods I had them using were ten foot B'nM BGJP's, rigged with 40lb test Suffix braid.
Being one of the most effective ways to pick a pile to pieces that I've ever found, minnows on a drop shot rig was the ticket. We went on to put thirty five good fish in the boat, and had an amazing day in the process!
As long as you don't bury the hooks into the brush piles as you work it over, it is one of the most weedless, snag free ways to target thick cover such as laydowns and brush piles, the weight on the bottom will work it loose the vast majority of the time. We were using Tru-Turn hooks with live minnows, but if you tie on a straight shank Aberdeen hook, plastic jigs can be subbed out for the minnows.