If ya fish hard, you might get 2-3 keepers or 30 and 24 keepers….
After being introduced to the fantastic fisheries by Don and John at the recent Crankfest, I decided to attempt to visit these wonderful lakes whenever possible. While reading the posts by others about the large percentage of Mississippi keepers to shorts might be disheartening to some, it sounded great to this Kentucky boy. I love my Kentucky Lake and while fishing have been difficult for several, I have managed to have several nice outings on my home lake. However, this past month my o’l lake hasn’t been very productive in crappie location and harvesting.
I will be the first to state that I enjoy fishing trips for multiple reasons and do not have to catch fish to be satisfied. But, I also enjoy reeling in a fish and more so especially if it is a crappie. So when Don called asking if I was coming down to fish soon we made arrangements to fish Monday and Tuesday of this week. The truck was packed with treats for Bit and meat for lunches which Mrs. Patty smoked for us in her smoker and the GMC was headed south.
Monday broke with a beautiful sunrise on Lake Enid and the poles were placed in their rod holders with pre-selected lures attached onto each rods line. The deployed rods were bending in that symmetrical series of arches that trollers enjoy watching and anticipation was thick in the air for the mornings first fish. A watched pole bent backwards and the first fish for the day was soon skipping across the water to the fish seasoned Triton. While it was one of the 11 3/4 inches that others fuss about it was a beautiful, very fat, crappie that brought pleasure to this Kentucky kid. After releasing the fish the skunk was off the boat and soon bending poles kept us both busy. Bait balls were very common and the reeling in of fish was regular with few periods of inactivity.
I just want to stop here and remind the resident and non-resident anglers of the true treasure of crappie fishing this State of Mississippi has. Maybe a few trips to other areas of this nation, which produces very few of any length fish at times, is a reminder we might need to think about occasionaly. These fish of all lengths were absolutely fat and several were so stuffed they looked like they had ping pong balls in their bellies. The bait balls observed in two days of fishing was more than all the baits balls ive seen all year, and a part of last year, on our local lakes. Congrats to all the state agencies and anglers of Mississippi that make this happen!!!!!
Now back to fishing, The wind and clouds kept the heat bearable for most of the day but soon the umbrella was deployed and its shade was refreshing. This shade, frequent water breaks, coupled along with the lunches prepared by Mrs. Patty, kept us energized. After the final count of the 30th fish being placed into the cooler, Don and I headed to the ramp. Fish were iced down, a good meal consumed, and bodies were soon resting for the next day.
Tuesday broke with greetings of stillness and humid air wrapping each of us in a suit of clothes that I am very familiar with on my home lake. However, what wasn’t like my home lake was the midges, gnats, bugs, or whatever the correct name for them is, that soon surrounded us and kept me flopping the air like a bird trying to learn how to fly. Trying to ask Don if this was common for the lake and time of the year only resulted in me eating several of those critters and hacking like a chain smoker! Don felt mercy for me and turned on those Milwaukee fans that he put in the boat for the heat of the day. While those fans were to, and did, cool us off later in the day, they kept those critters off us until the wind picked up. While I have enjoyed many things about these lakes, you boys can keep those critters.
The second day started where the previous day ended and poles were again telegraphing fish to be tended to. As the day progressed the previous days fishing was starting to wear on my body and while my heart wanted to stay, my body said yes to Don when asked if I needed to call it a day. While my limitations frustrate me, I am blessed to still get on the water and enjoy catching a fish or two, but back to back all day trips are very often not on the menu for this o’l boy. A on the water cooler count tallied 24 keepers produce for the day which sounded great to this guy. As we headed in I felt not only the blessings of coolness on my face by the wind, but also the blessings of fishing buddies fellowship and fun times that I had with Don.
The third days morning was spent cleaning the packed 58 quart cooler of fish and repacking the GMC. Final goodbyes were exchanged with Don, his lovely wife, and Bit. Their hospitality was beyond words and I appreciate their kindness and fellowship. A final box of treats were given to Don to ration out to Bit and I pointed the truck toward Kentucky. While the pleasures of the previous few days were wonderful, the heart missing of Mrs. Patty and Harlie made the drive home seem twice as long. After several pull overs for rest, I drove into the driveway exhausted from my adventure. Though tired, falling into the loving arms of my family refreshed this boys mind and soul.
While the thought of fishing hard and only producing 2-3 keepers would have satisfied me, the 30 and 24 keeper days Don gave me was a fishing joy. If you figure the fish that were a little over 12 inches but not enough to chance cooler shrinkage thus released, I would say we caught a 4-1 ratio. If you figure those same fish as keepers even though released, I would say we had a 3-1 ratio. We figured we boated approximately 250 fish for the two days of fishing. I also would say only 20-30 of them were under 10 inches making that total about 200 plus keepers by Kentucky size limits. To say I had a satisfying trip would be an under statement. So, get off the couch, grab a umbrella, couple fans, some good lunches and get on the water. You just might catch 2-3 keepers or maybe more??????
By the way you might also want to keep the mouth shut at times or you could pick up some unwanted protein