Today: Monday 23 October 2017
  • Ranger Alluminum
    Crappie Kingdom 14 Apr 2017

    Crappie Kingdom

     

    NO SEE ‘EMS

     

    When you see the words “no see ems” most people automatically think of the little biting fly that chew on your skin and you don’t know they are doing it until you feel the sting.  They are brutal and have no use in the environment that I can see other than serving as a wakeup call than huge discomfort can come in small packages.  This article is not about those pesky little mongrels but rather about something I have stressed for years.  I have inferred that the majority of the bites we get while fishing, we never know happens until it is too late.  We do not feel the bite and sometimes never see the bite.   I am convinced that a large portion of the bites from Crappie go undetected and the ones we feel are by far in the minority.

    I recently had an occurrence that very rarely happens but has given me concrete evidence that a good number of bites go undetected.  I was fishing in an area that was extremely shallow and ultra-clear for this time of the year.  I happened on to the area by consequence and never expected to experience the fun and education I received.  When I first looked into the water, I did not have my polaroids on and it looked like any other body of water with a little ripple on top.  My fishing partner happened to have glasses that were polarized and was telling me to look at all the fish in the shallow water.  I slipped on the shades and low and behold the water was full of hundreds of crappie hovering at or near the bottom in about 2-3 feet of water.  It resembled a trout park where you see all kinds of trout but can’t get them to bite.  My first reaction was that we would never get them to bite and they would spook away to deeper water and that would be the end of that.   We had to give it a shot so we backed off a bit and pitched in to the midst of the bunch and like I thought, nothing happened.  I was using a fairly bright colored jig and could see the jig fall in front of fish.  I could see the fish swim up to the bait and back away.  My partner was ecstatic about seeing all the fish and in a moment caught one to my surprise.   He told me that he was watching his bait and it disappeared.  When it disappeared, he set the hook and “fish on”.  Sight fishing 101!  Who ever heard of sight fishing for Crappies.  Not to be out done, I focused closer to what I was doing and sure enough the fish in the deep shadows were mouthing the bait. We were not feeling or seeing the line or tip of the rod move one bit.  We started pitching out past the mass of the fish and watched the bait pendulum swing past fish after fish and when it was about to hit the bottom the bait would disappear.  Set the hook and “fish on”.  After an hour of catching fish after fish and missing fish after fish, we had a tremendous number of “big” crappies and had released twice as many short fish.  More surprisingly, the fish stayed in the shallow water and were not spooked when fish were caught out of the middle of the mass.  Never ceases to amaze me that just about the time you think you got things figured out something else gives you an education.  That’s why we call it fishing.  I started watching the line to see if any discrepancy occurred when the fish would pick up the bait and “mouth” it.  Sure enough during the “swing” of the bait, the line would barely twitch or slightly quiver.  I had to really focus on watching my line to identify a bite.  I’m saying that the average fisherman might not be able to detect anything out of the ordinary.  I downscaled to a 32nd oz. jig so the bait would fall slower than the 16th.  That was the ticket that made a lot of difference.  The slower falling jig attracted more fish that the faster falling one.  The size of the jig could be an issue as well.  My partner was trimming the tail of his jig body about 1/16th of an inch and appeared to be getting more hook ups than me.  The end result did not make a big difference.  The bigger fish were located just off the bottom in the dark crevices of the bottom rocks. 

    This experience solidified my belief that you have to train yourself to look for the bite.  I can assure you that a large portion of the bites were “no see ‘ems”.  One is never too old or experienced to learn something knew or reinforce what they already know.  Perfecting the skill, puts fish in the boat.  It takes practice and most of all patience to master the “sight bite”.  The time of the year is here for thousands of fish to be hitting the banks for the spawn.  For best results of the early pre-spawn catch, fish the low light conditions.  I like the roadrunner head either 1/16th or 1/32 oz. size with a curly tailed grub attached.  Throw shallow and retrieve slow with the rod tip up.  Concentrate on the line and rod tip.  If you are lucky you will feel that small thump. Be “sittin’ on jerk” and swing away.  Many bites will not be felt so look for the “no see ‘em” bite.  Good luck and good fishing!

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