Fishing For Crappies – Florida Crappies

Fishing For Crappies

I took an early spring break to get out of the Mid-West Winter for a while and get back to some open water fishing. My intent was to fish for one of the largest Bluegills in the states, the Shellcrackers. However, the weather was still quite cool in Florida and I had to turn my attention to the Crappies. So what is the difference in the Mid-West and Florida Crappie, not much that I could find other than how to catch them.

When To Fish For The Crappies

The Florida Crappie, also known as speckled perch, speck, or white and black crappie are at their best from late fall to early spring and will produce great action and meals while you are waiting for the Shellcrackers to come in. In the Med-West we refer to them as black crappies, yellow crappies, speckled bass, and papermouths. Either way they are fun to catch and plentiful throughout the states.

Where To Catch Crappies

Focus your efforts on the Arrow Heads or Lily Pads as I found these too be very successful. Using a medium to heavy action rod and a good line is recommended as you are using a fishing technique of jigging straight up and down in heavy aquatic water. The lakes I focused on for my trip were Lake Eustis and Lake Harris, which are located near Tavares.

How To Catch Crappies

To catch Crappies use the same jigs you would in the Mid-West. I also found using a small ice fishing bobber works well, but you can also straight line if you prefer. We found the black jig worked well the first night and white the next, so have a few different colors to try.

The Crappie Catch And Filleting

Here is a short video on my trip and how to use an electric fillet knife for filleting.

What is the Best Bass Lure – Catching Large Bass

The Best Bait For Catching Large Bass

The best bait for catching Bass, Large & Small Mouth, is not just one single bait, but a combination of 2 baits working together, one being a jig and the other a soft bait. I have also found that the action of the soft bait plays a very large part in making this combination work. For example a soft bait minnow with a split tail will not get the action a minnow with a big paddle tail will. So out of all the combinations I have tired the best are those that included a soft bait with a paddle or large flippers.

Creating The Best Bass Lure

To create the best Bass bait I have ever used I start with a Strike King tour Grade Swim jig 3/8 ounce. I then added a Reactions Innovations Skinny Dipper 5″ to the jig. Wow, what a combination and the bass we catch are incredible. However, you will need to try different colors to get the ultimate combination for your lake or river. I prefer the light colors; blue, white, yellow, and green.

Now, I did not stop there, two other combinations I found that work well are with a crab and a 2″ Gander Mountain Shad. What I discovered was the crab combination works for largemouth bass and pike, while the 2″ shade worked best for the smallmouth bass and walleye, but by far the 5″ Skinny Dipper produces the best results and some very large largemouth bass.

Here is one of the Smallmouth Bass I caught. It’s just over 6lbs, so I took the measurements and then released it. Then there are a few of our Largemouth Bass.

Special Needs Kids – A Fishing Trip That Is Priceless!

Taking Two Special Needs Young Ladies Fishing

If you think taking a special needs person fishing is just fun for them, I’m here to tell you it’s priceless. I had the pleasure of taking two young ladies, Cassandra and Chastity fishing for a couple of days and watching their excitement when they caught a fish, whether it was a Bluegill, Bass, or Pike.

What Boat and Baits To Use

To make the fishing comfortable for everyone I put the bass boat away and used my fishing pontoon boat. What is a fishing pontoon boat, it’s one that my sons and I rebuilt just for fishing. This gave us plenty of room, with benches, a trolling motor, captains seats, and a live-well.

The baits we used were top water Bass Poppers, for Large and Small Mouth Bass and Hook, Line & Bobber for Bluegills. By staying with Artificial Baits we did not need to mess with worms, leeches or minnows.

Understanding The Interest Of Each Special Needs fisherman

Every Fisherman is unique, they have different skills, different expectations, and different interest. And these two special ladies were no different. Cassandra was excited and hungry for Bluegills and Chastity wanted something a littler bigger, so Bass was on her menu.

Cassandra Catching Bluegills

Cassandra is a very serious fisherman, yet she was so thrilled to see her bobber go under each time. It was like seeing Fireworks for the first time, while each Bluegill she caught, was like winning the grand prize. She was also quick in letting me know that I needed to sharpen up my skills and not let any more Bluegills get off. What a joy and blessing it was to have her spend a few days with us fishing.

Here she is showing us how to catch Bluegills.

Chastity Catching Bass And Pike

Chastity is a fisherman who just loves being out there and has such a kind heart. She became an expert in using a top water bass popper after just a few casts. We even threw a few up into shoreline trees, which gave a good fight, but not as good to eat. Oh, and how we laughed at my great casting skills. Maybe it was the wind that day or just my adrenaline from having two incredible young ladies fishing with me.

Here Chastity is fighting one of her Bass and showing her Mom how it’s done!

My thanks to the ONE, what blessing and fun, they better come, for another day of fishing in the sun. I hope to see them again in 2015.

God Bless!

How To Make Your Own Top Water Bass Poppers!

Using A Top Water Bass Popper – Bass Fishing Action

If you want to have a lot of fun try fishing Large & Small Mouth Bass with a 3″ top water popper. It’s a blast and the action can be non-stop when they are in the shadows and feeding. However, these poppers have gotten expensive over the past few years, ranging from $3 to $6, so it’s hard to spend that much on these. But I have some good news, you can make these easy and for less than a $1. They may not look as perfect as a purchased one, but they work just as well.

How To Curve Your Own Bass Popper

First we need a piece of wood to form our Popper from. You can purchase a 48″ Dowel Rod (1″ Diameter) for less than a dollar, soft wood, not Oak. From this you cut the Dowel Rod into several pieces that are 2-7/8″ long. Using a purchased popper for a model draw a circle on the end that will be the nose and an arc on the end that will be the tail. Now take a utility knife and start carving your wood. After you have the approximate shape, use a Dremel Tool to complete the shape by sanding. You may want to use a mask over your nose and mouth as there will be a lot of dust. For the front of our Popper we want the bottom lip to be a little further back then the top lip. You can do this by cutting it on a slight angle or sanding with your Dremel Tool, this is what I use. Then you need to sand out the mouth of the Popper, so you get a good pop and movement of water, when you are popping the bait during your cast retrieval. When curving, choose a bottom side, draw two lines from the front (wider area) to the tail. You do not want to curve inside these lines. Here is a picture of a block of wood and a sanded body, without the mouth completed yet.

What To Use For Painting a Top Water Bass Popper.

We know paints are not cheap, especially if you want multiple colors. So I’m always looking for what I have around the house to use. What I have found is that permanent marks work great for painting wood and there are several colors available. And if you’re like me, you have a few already. I will also use one of the pieces, I cut from my dowel rod, for a color sample, see above. Once you have the bait colored add your eyelets then two coats of Fast-Drying Polyurethane or Lacquer clear coat. As a fisherman I have lacquer clear coat for making fly-fishing poppers, so I use this, but both work fine. Once you have your bait finished, just add the two treble hooks, you will need a split ring to attach them. You may even have old baits that you don’t use that have both the hooks and rings. Below is one example of my poppers, this one I tried to simulate a frog color and it has caught fish. I have several others that have caught fish as well.