• Bucket List Crappie

    Everyone who fishes has a story, a tale, and perhaps a wish list to add to their fishing lives. This is mine and the one I cherish the most because of my love for crappie fishing.

    I grew up an avid Sac fisherman here in south Louisiana. A very southern term for certain. This fish is called by many names throughout the country: crappie, sacalait, specs, paper mouth, and white perch. As a kid, with cane pole in hand, I caught many nice fish but, marsh crappie seldom reach 2 pounds. My father, an Akansas displacement had showed me the fundamentals. He was one of the best sacalait fisherman in our parish. We have fishing rodeos. They are like tournaments but have many categories to enter fish for prizes. Rex, my dad, always seemed to beat the field when it came to crappie fishing . He just knew how and where to catch the big ones. His vision was to catch the biggest crappie ever; that 3 pound plus fish. Although, my dad, God rest his fishing soul, never found that 3 pounder, thanks to his inspiration, catching that trophy had always been on my bucket list.

    I had read about some of the best crappie lakes, like Grenada, Weiss, Reelfoot, D'Arbonne, Toledo Bend and the massive crappie they pull from these places. There are many, many lakes like these across the country that produce these trophy size fish. So a few years ago, I decided it was time to explore them. I needed to cross this off my bucket list. My lake of choice was a very small impoundment in north Louisiana. My fishing buddy "The Doc", who I met many years ago, traveled one March to this small lake which I term the "Land of Giants." Our first trip, I caught my personal best, a 2lb 12oz. crappie. I thought I had found fishing heaven. Many two pound fish were landed that trip. More in one week than I had caught in ten years of fishing here in south Louisiana.
    After a few years of fishing this lake, me and the good Doc were there in mid March. We pulled up in one of the coves that was known for big fish. The Doc baited his jig with a minnow under a cork and tossed it by the many stumps located in the southern cove. He was in the process of setting out his second rod, when I said, Doc you have a bite. When he pulled, the massive fish surfaced. It was a huge crappie! I quickly got the net and landed the fish. It weighed in at 3.25lbs. OMG, doc had caught the fish I had been looking for. Needless to say, it was bragging time; the twisting of the knife as it dug deeper into my fishing soul. He had landed the fish of my dreams, my bucket list fish. That stay on the lake netted us many 2 pound plus fish, but no more trophies. Another year had passed and I was a year older without crossing that trophy off my list. I begin to question if it would ever happen. As they say in sports, there is always next year. Fast forward a year later, another March had rolled around and we were back in crappie fishing paradise. The weather was extreme that March day. A strong cold from had blown through and we woke up to ice in the bottom of the boat. To top it off, we were the only boat fishing. I thought this can't be good. I was thinking another wasted week. It's gonna be tough to catch fish in these conditions. That first morning all alone on the lake, we headed out. As we set out our poles, Doc's rod dipped and he pulled. Another massive crappie came to the surface! He had landed another 3 pound plus fish. I had dreamed for a whole year about "Walter" ( a reference from a movie about the biggest fish in the pond) and yet it had eluded my bait once again. Needless to say, Doc was elated, rubbing it in, making me question the fishing Gods and why they would do this to me. After all, I am the master of catch and release. It was not fair. Why? As the day wore on we caught many nice fish. We were trolling through a small cut when Doc's rod slammed down. He pulled and the fish stripped off 15 yards of line. It was massive, but what was it? As the fish surfaced, we were astonished. it was a monster bass. The fish weighed in at 9 pounds 6 ounces. Not only had he caught that 3 pound crappie I was looking for, but had caught the biggest bass I had ever witnessed. Needless to say, I felt this is the worst day I had ever had. Bucket list fish being caught right in front of me and none on my pole. The day ended great, at least for him. We caught many beautiful crappie and Docs huge bass on a crappie pole. I called home that night in despair, depressed by the events. I was happy for the Doc, but sad I had yet come close to that trophy. I told my wife to say a prayer, to remove the jinx. After all, her two grandmothers, God rest their souls were the most religous people I had ever met. Surely she could pull some heavenly strings and ask for good vibes to be sent my way. The next day started as usual, getting up too late. But, with no one fishing, it didn't matter if we were there at daylight or 10 am. We got to the lake, set up the spider rig and started in the usual spot, in a usual manner. I was sitting on the right side of the dual seat I had rigged just for this type of fishing. We had landed 2 nice fish when my pole dipped. I pulled and hooked into a monster crappie. My knees were shaking, this might be my "Walter". Doc netted the fish and I put it on my digital scale and it topped out at 2.98 pounds. Are you kidding me!?!?! So close and yet not official. The fishing Gods were laughing and I didn't think it was funny. The day went by catching some quality fish. Just after lunch, we had moved location and as we were trolling, I noticed my line had slackened. Being astute to this type of bite in which I call an "up bite", I pulled and again a monster crappie came to the surface. Doc slowly reacted to this really big crappie, as I was screaming "get the net". He did, which seemed like an hour, and landed the fish. Again I knew it was close to my bucket list crappie. I pulled out the scale and placed the fish on it. 3.04 pounds. Wow, it was a good thing the lake was empty, because people would have thought I was crazy, yelling like I had won the lottery. Finally my ship had come in, my trophy in hand. We motored to the marina for an official weight and yes my little scale was right on the money. I quickly took the fish back to the lake and released it. I have a motto for big spawning fish, "see the roe, let it go". Its not very popular, but works for me. I thought to myself, this trip is made, I have accomplished my goal. But as we were there for a week, we were going to fish on, hitting it hard. Later that day, as we were trolling from one cove to another, my rod slammed down into the water with so much force, I could barely get it out of the rod holder. I pulled but the fish was hooked already from the force of the bite. The fish dove deep, stripping off line. I knew it was big. I was thinking, giant goo or maybe a big catfish. I held on and fought the fish just hoping to see what it was. When it came up, I almost fell out of my seat. It was a bass, not just a bass, but a huge bass. Doc got the net, and I begged him not to miss this fish. "Hit him head first," I shouted and he did. I put the fish on my scale and it tipped to 9lbs 13oz. A personal best by 4 pounds or more. The marina had closed at this point of the day and I didnt have the heart to kill it. I admired this trophy and slowly placed it back and watched it swim away. The rest of our stay was just a blessing. We had landed fish that many only dream of. Many, surely included myself all those years. I had encouragement from friends and family not to give up on my dream of a three pounder and on this cold March day, my bucket was full. Since that magical day I have landed 5 more 3lb plus fish. Funny how that works. So hard to achieve, but easier when the pressure is off. Believe that it can happen and it will. Admittedly, I am truly blessed and grateful for having such great days on the water. Good luck fishing. Hope to see ya on the water.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Bucket List Crappie started by Bobfish11 View original post
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. LowePro's Avatar
      LowePro -
      Holy cow those are HUGE! Great story.
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Wow! Nice read. Great catch. Thanks for sharing your bucket list report and pictures.
    1. Jwater's Avatar
      Jwater -
      That's awesome man, congrats
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      great fish
    1. itallushrt's Avatar
      itallushrt -
      Good story. I bet your Dad is looking down smiling.
    1. skeetbum's Avatar
      skeetbum -
      Some truly wonderful fish! 2lbs 13oz is the best I have gotten so far, and I remember that thrill. 2.2, 2.4, and 2.6lbs in the same morning for me was a milestone that hasn't been matched since. Congrats on the great catch, you'll tell of it many times over and it will never get old for you.
    1. Boa3's Avatar
      Boa3 -
      wow that is a great story, Still trying for mine.
    1. gravelman6's Avatar
      gravelman6 -
      Great story with great pictures for proof way to go. Thanks for posting.
    1. bee's Avatar
      bee -
      Holly Cow. That story makes me so happy for you. As one who has boated some 3 lb crappie I feel your pride in doing it. Congrats and thanks for sharing this with us.
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      Nice fish story and real nice fish photos as well
    1. kayacker's Avatar
      kayacker -
      Awesome, well written story. Beautiful fish. Thanks for making my day.
    1. MidMsAngler's Avatar
      MidMsAngler -
      Great story. Felt like I was right there with ya. Congrats on crossing that off your list.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. Snagged again's Avatar
      Snagged again -
      Congratulations and Bless Your Heart for sharing a wonderful story,your feelings ,and nice fish pictures. Thank You Kindly
    1. tenncrappie's Avatar
      tenncrappie -
      You hit the jackpot and are blessed.
    1. slackline's Avatar
      slackline -
      Great story and fish! Thanks for sharing.
    1. missed mallards's Avatar
      missed mallards -
      Awesome story and congrats

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. redearhoosier's Avatar
      redearhoosier -
      Really nice story, Bob!! You've got some nice youtube videos too! Being a shellcracker man, I like your cracker video.

      I'm on a similar mission here on Lake Barkley, but it involves shellcracker. I want to catch a 2lb male redear and have my friend, MrDux, mount it. I've caught a 2.1lb female redear but the males are more colorful so I chose not to mount the big female. I'm thinking it was a mistake, I haven't come very close since.
    1. Anchor Man's Avatar
      Anchor Man -
      Great report and pics, thanks for sharing.
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