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  • Gene Larew and Rat-L-Trap Press Camp part 3

    Early on my first day I got to Join Dan Dannenmueller for a little bit of Spider Rigging. Dan is a 2 time Crappie Masters Champion and a Bobby Garland Professional.

    It didn't take long to find the first Crappie and it happened to hit on my side of the boat. We were fishing with two baits per line, a minnow on top and a Bobby Garland bait on the bottom. It was about a 14" White Crappie that hit the BG bait. Bobby Garland baits are produced and sold through Gene Larew and they have an awesome array of baits for the Crappie Angler. Their plastics come in a variety of styles like Split Tails, Spear Tails, Baby Shad, and Swim Tails that are designed for those that prefer a lot of movement out of their baits. Dan and I caught a few more fish prior to having to head back to meet up with the rest of the group who were just arriving.

    Some new baits were given out along with some tried and true plastics as well. One of my personal favorites were the "Itty Bits".

    Couple the Itty Bits with one of the Crappie Pro or Bobby Garland 1/48th oz jig head and you have a small presentation that can instigate a hit even when the Crappie seem to have lock jaw.

    My theory on this is that the bait becomes more of an irritant in some instances that the Crappie will just inhale it with a breath just to get it out of the way. Big Bait, Big Fish does not always hold true! I've used them in heavy cover and have done very well with them.

    The next morning I wasn't scheduled to fish with anyone so my plan was just to hang around the docks. That's where I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Rogers. Charlie and his son Kevin were among the select Crappie Pros that were there representing Bobby Garland baits.

    The team of Rogers and Rogers had discovered motor trouble and Kevin had taken their rig to the Bass Pro in Broken Arrow for servicing. Charlie was hanging out at the docks dipping brush and was doing quite well. I had not brought a Crappie rod so I went to the truck and rigged the Lews Rod and bait caster reel they had passed out at the previous nights meeting. I tied on a 1/16th oz jig head and took some Bobby Garland plastics I had and started with a Watermelon Wine. I was getting hits and landed a few dinks. Charlie was catching some 10" fish every now and then using a different Bobby Garland color. He told me that he and Kevin hit as many tournaments as they can. They were Missouri State Champions and have fished numerous tournaments with an awful lot of top 3 finishes. Could you imagine how great it would be to fish with your son or your father on a competitive basis? That in itself is just inspiring to me. Unfortunately, they didn't get their boat back until late in the day the last day of the camp, but listening to them talk about how they fish and use the Bobby Garland Baits was very interesting.

    Even the smaller fish liked the BG baits.

    Dock shooting was completely new to me. Enter Lee Pitts, the Dock Shooting Pro Guide out of Alabama ( He's another great fisherman on the Bobby Garland Pro team. I will tell ya that this boy ate real good as a kid because he looks as if he's a linebacker for a pro football team. His skill as a Crappie fisherman would soon shine as we went across the lake to a group of docks where he taught me how to do some shooting. I cheated a bit using a new product Bobby Garland has released called the Dock Shooter Tab.

    These are tough tabs that will go over the hook and allow the angler to use them to hold and release when Shooting a jig. It's design allows you to send the jig out along side of boats, under pontoons and even up under low hanging brush without accidentally sending the hook point into your finger or hand. After a little practice, I was getting the hang of it. I only had one bump, but man, what a hit! Whatever it was doubled the rod over then it was gone. Upon retrieval, my Dock Shooter Pull Tab was gone! The fish evidently bit down on the tab and stole it. I tried dock shooting for a little while after that and discovered first hand just how good the Bobby Garland pull tabs work as I sent the hook into my finger. I quickly dug out another pull tab to reduce personal injury. I had a great time with Lee and learned a lot. Make sure to look him up when wanting to take a guided trip in Alabama. It was well worth the time I spent with him just to learn a new technique.

    My last day on the water was to be spent on Tenkiller Ferry Lake which is a clear water lake in NE Oklahoma. The winds were ridiculous and the entire Gene Larew group had to relocate the launching point so as to give us a chance with brutal winds of steady 25-30 mph and 45 mph gusts. I was paired with Dan Dannenmuller for a longer spider rigging trip.

    Dan is also set up for pulling crank baits and will use a Bobby garland trailer behind the crank that he said will garner more hits than the cranks at times. Since the areas we could fish were limited due to the high winds, we never did come across any Crappie but did manage to boat several nice Smallmouth and Spotted Bass. The day started with a lite drizzle that passed. I had left my rain suit back in my truck while I rode with Dan to the lake. Dan had offered to let me take his truck back to get my suit but I ended up borrowing someones extra rain suit and it all worked out. Everyone met back at the docks for lunch when a down pour hit. It was gone before lunch was complete and fishing continued. Dan has the sweetest setup for spider rigging I've ever seen. He had his bunks full of Pre-Tied rigs ready for quickly loading on the lines. Each one was marked in his own code for what it was. We used those marked BG for Bobby Garland. It didn't seem to matter as which colors we used either as the small mouth loved them!

    Charlie Rogers, Dan Dannenmueller, Kevin Rogers.

    I learned more about Spider Rigging than I knew before. It was my first experience at dock shooting and the Bobby Garland pull tabs made it a lot easier. Bobby Garland has such a vast assortment of colors to choose from and they've added many more this year.

    On my home lake of Oologah, Monkey Milk and about anything with a chartreuse tail is a given to be able to stick some Crappie in the live well. Made right here in Oklahoma, I was able to tour the Gene Larew Baits warehouse on my way home from camp. All plastics are hand packaged by employees and from the amount of already poured baits hanging on racks throughout the plant, they have plenty of work ahead of them. The office staff was very courteous when I stopped in unannounced.

    Gene Larew Lures, Bobby Garland Baits, Crappie Pro jig heads, it doesn't get much better if you love chasing Crappie as much as I do. I had a great time and met so many good people as well. I plan on looking Dan and Lee up next time I'm in Alabama. Kevin and Charlie are close enough I might have to bump boats with them someday when they're down here fishing a tournament. Thanks for a great time and don't forget to load up on some of these great baits next time you're tackle shopping. I know that several of the baits in the Bobby Garland line are "Must Have" before I head out on the water.

    Comments 13 Comments
    1. sooners08's Avatar
      sooners08 -
      Good stuff. I have fished Tenkiller and have caught some nice spotted bass there! Beautiful lake!
    1. Muskrat's Avatar
      Muskrat -
      Great article.
    1. brucec's Avatar
      brucec -
      Very good read.
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      good read
    1. elkhunter's Avatar
      elkhunter -
      Nice read, thanks for the post.
    1. skeetbum's Avatar
      skeetbum -
      Good read and lots of good info.
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Wow! Lots of good fishing information and crappie lures. Thanks for sharing the post and pictures.
    1. RetiredRR's Avatar
      RetiredRR -
      Great write up with lots of good info. Thanks for taking the time to share.
    1. Crappie ciller's Avatar
      Crappie ciller -
      Very well done article and illustrations Craig- now can you put those products to work on Oologah?
    1. Bigskyfisherman's Avatar
      Bigskyfisherman -
      Nice report, Craig. Those really small baits have been working really well on a 1/64th head, fished above a 1/16th with regular-sized bait. The sickle hooks seem to hook and hold the fish better than the regular-curve hooks.
    1. coyote's Avatar
      coyote -
      You did good!
    1. long poler's Avatar
      long poler -
      Good writings.
      Kevin and his father are good people
    1. "D"'s Avatar
      "D" -
      You did a fine job with all 3 reports.
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