View Full Version : Question for Jerry Blake

02-06-2006, 08:01 PM
Hey Jerry, I've made quite a few tall cane condos and plan on making several of the condos with the concrete blocks this year. I primarily jig fish my condos but I feel like I could possibly catch more fish per bed if I used other fishing techniques.

I was wondering if you would describe how you approach your condos and how you have your clients rigged up to fish. Do you get above your condos or do you cast to them from one side?

Also, please describe how your rods are rigged,line/hook size, sinker wt.,type of reels you favor ect. How do you determine the depth the crappie are at on any particular day? This seems to be one of the things I need to find a good way of doing.

Thanks Jerry!

Jerry Blake
02-06-2006, 11:05 PM
Hey David:

This could get lengthy answering your questions so hang on.

Somebody (Darryl I think) came up with the term "Hovering" to describe how we fish our condos.

I use all 10 and 11-foot jig poles with Shimano Open Face Spinning reels. For minnow rigs I use 8-pound Berkley XT Green (the dark green not bright green), Thill knot type bobber stoppers, 1/2-inch Thill Pencil style slip floats, one size 7 and one size 3/0 Water Gremlin round split-shot sinkers spaced about 6-inches above the hook with about 6-inches between them, which leaves just the top of the float sticking out and #6 Eagle Claw Light Wire Aberdeen Cricket Hooks.

For jigs I use 11-foot B&M Sam's Signature Series jig poles - not made anymore :( - Shimano 500 Series Open Face Spinning Reels and 6-pound Ande Envy mono line.

We choose a depth range to start fishing based on what my graphs show, how deep the fish have been in recent days on the condo, how tall the condo is, what depths they were at on other condos we've fished that day etc. It's called the WAG system - Wild Arse Guess! :) Sometimes we'll have as much as 3 or 4-feet difference from our shallowest to our deepest bait but usually only a foot or two.

We bait our hooks with Rosy Red Fathead Minnows and drop our lines out until the bobber stop is sitting on top of the float and then leave about 3-feet of slack from the end of the rod to the float and place up to 6-minnow poles in Driftmaster rod holders lined up down one side of the boat adjusted so the rods are horizontal – parallel with the water. With the slack the same on each pole the floats synchronize and pretty much stay away from each other. With my 22-foot boat we have enough room to leave a couple feet between each float.

I then maneuver the boat so our baits are slowly swimming next to, in and over the condo usually starting at the deepest side and working shallower or at least around the edges and moving in. If there is no wind I’ll circle the condo but if there is much of a breeze at all I keep the bow pointed into the breeze and move the boat slowly forward and let it drift slowly back as I also move it from side to side over the condo.

We also vertical jig while we keep an eye on the floats. Since the boat is right next to or partially over the condo to keep our minnows in the strike zone we just drop our jigs down to the depth range we think we should be fishing and vertical jig. We have the line on our jig poles marked at 20-feet (or ten when we are routinely fishing under 15-feet deep) so we know exactly how deep we are fishing when the line is vertical. We basically just swim the jig around in the cover similar to what the minnows are doing except we hold the poles and move them around more with some vertical movements and as much horizontal movements as we can.

When the bite is light we usually catch a lot more fish on the minnows. The Pencil style slip floats, when weighted properly, go down with very little resistance. With slack in our lines between the slip-float and rod tip a finicky fish can take the minnow in its mouth and start to swim back down without feeling any resistance from the rod – just what little resistance there is from the float. The way we have them weighted it only takes another 1/32-ounce of weight to sink them.

Before the line gets tight and starts to pull the pole down we set the hook quickly and firmly as we take the rod out of the holder. We continue sweeping the rod up until it is bowed up nicely and the handle is pointed back over our shoulder to keep a good bend in the rod while we reel the fish to the surface, which brings the fish away from the other lines and close enough to the boat to put a net under it if it's net-worthy.

When the bite is aggressive we’ll usually put up some or all of the minnow poles and just fish jigs depending on what my clients want to do but we usually keep a few minnow poles out unless we are fishing in the shallows.

When we locate some fish "looking for a boat ride" on a certain part of the condo and at a certain depth I usually through out a buoy marker out of the way upwind of the condo to use as a reference point to keep us lined up on the "dinning room". If they prefer baits at a certain depth we'll usually adjust our stoppers so all the poles are within a foot of that depth.

That's pretty much it. We don't always catch a lot of fish on each condo. This time of year we are doing good to get 1 to 3 keepers on each condo. If we don't get a bite within 10-minutes I usually try a different depth on one or more poles. If we still don't get a bite in another 10 or 15 minutes I'm ready to move on to another condo. To keep from wasting too much time I generally give the crappie a 5-minute warning when we haven't had a bite in 10-minutes or so and if they don't start cooperating we just leave them there!

02-07-2006, 01:13 PM
Hey Jerry, Thanks for the info. I'm kind of in a rush to head to Little Rock so I just printed out your reply to read at work.

Thanks again, this gives me some new ideas to try!:)

L.A. stumpjumper
02-07-2006, 02:48 PM
Hey Jerry a lot of good information there. thanks alot.

Jerry Blake
02-08-2006, 05:45 AM
Hey Jerry a lot of good information there. thanks alot.

You're welcome

Darryl Morris
02-08-2006, 10:34 PM
Dog Gone'it, there ya go giving away trade secrets. What am I going to do with you. LOL, LOL. Gents, after reading Jerry's finely worded description, I almost set the hook on my computer.

Seriously, any part of that you don't understand, just ask or come on down and we'd be gladly to show you everything. Paying attention to details (depth, bait, presentation, etc.) to finding a pattern for the day is key. It is versitile enough for open, relative shallow water to the very deep, clear water. Hovering with slipfloats, yes, or side-trolling maybe, multitasking with tightlining a verticle jig.

This is Jerry's method and I am grateful to be in a place where I have learned it and use it successfully. Take this method and any others and develop your own. Find what works for you in your waters. Quantity is great, but targeting quality fish is just as good.


02-08-2006, 10:44 PM
You might be short.. but check out the muscles holding them slabs up there!
Nice mess!


Darryl Morris
02-08-2006, 10:53 PM
Awh, now I'm embarrassed. Old Marines don't have muscles, just memories, lol. Jerry landed the big one - right at 2 pounds. She ate real good for lunch this afternoon.

Jerry Blake
02-08-2006, 11:01 PM
Awh, now I'm embarrassed. Old Marines don't have muscles, just memories, lol. Jerry landed the big one - right at 2 pounds. She ate real good for lunch this afternoon.

I was just getting ready to say what a fine job you did of putting me right on top of that hog - she was sorta fun to catch! :)

03-02-2006, 08:03 PM
Would you mind telling me where I can buy the Rosy Reds in the Kirby/Lake Greeson area? I have been reading about all of your success and I would like to try them myself. Thanks, Shane

Jerry Blake
03-02-2006, 08:25 PM
Hey Shane:

Carlos Dugan keeps some Rosy Reds at his store at Salem (Salem Quick Stop) but I don't know if he's started selling them yet this year - I'll ask him.

Darryl and I usually keep a few pounds on our boats so we can supply you with a few dozen anytime you need them and can't get them locally. Small shiners work OK but it's hard to find them small enough and Rosy Reds are a lot easier to keep alive.

Stop by Kirby Landing when you get a chance. I should be cleaning a mess of crappie between 5:00 and 6:00 tomorrow through Sunday behind our camper (straight across from the bathrooms - site 18 I think) so stop by if you have time.

03-02-2006, 10:56 PM
Thanks for the information. I will swing by Salem in a day or two and see if he has them. I live a couple of miles from his store. I am looking forward to the upcoming crappie camp, I know there will be a lot of good information flying around for a newbie like me. Thanks again, Shane.