PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

June 12, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: “Mr. Crappie” talks slabs

PORT ARTHUR — "Mr. Crappie” is the perfect nickname for Wally Marshall.

     Yes, he has his own line of top-selling crappie fishing videos, a television show and dozens of crappie-related fishing products to his name.

     But the man lives, eats and breathes crappie fishing.

     “It’s what I do,” he said.

     Last week I ran into Marshall at Lake Fork Lodge while conducting a photo shoot with Bassmaster Classic (2008) Champion Alton Jones.

    I have known Marshall for a number of years but we had never fished together so he invited me out to remedy that late last Thursday.

      “You really won’t have an impact on fishing unless you know how to use electronics. It is important for any kind of fishing but to consistently locate crappie it is crucial,” Marshall said.

      Marshall said this as we idled into a cove loaded with timber that anglers could spend hours trying to find fish otherwise.

     “Side-imaging sonar has changed the way we fish. You can set it to read out to 200 feet but I keep mine around 90 feet so the image is clear. In addition there is a split screen option to see what is below the boat and with a fish like crappie that hold tight to cover and structure that is so important.”

    Marshall said the spot we were fishing was a brushpile that stretched between two trees.

    “What we’re going to be fishing with is a jig I have out through Strike King called The Joker. It has incredible action and really lures in the crappie,” he said.

    We fished these lures on long fly style poles Marshall has out through Lew’s and on six-pound test line.

    “Throw right there,” he said pointing to the corner of a tree.

     Thump!

     A keeper black crappie hit my line and then a few seconds later Marshall had one on.

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     Summer is one of the best times to seek catfish in Southeast Texas and thankfully, for local anglers without a boat, there are catfish in just about every canal, drainage ditch and bayou in the area.
      Fishing from the bank has its disadvantages but there is a way around it. This involves making the fish come to you.
      European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
      However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
      Not everyone has film canisters these days so the softer plastic aspirin bottles will also get the job done.
      Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
      Any kind of chum will work, but a mixture I have had some success with was menhaden oil (available through many mail order offshore supply catalogs) mixed with soured milo. The oil creates a huge chum slick and when it mixes with the milo, the smell is almost unbearable, which means catfish love it. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way.
     Something else to consider is using jack mackerel as bait.
     This oily fish is available in larger supermarkets in a can for less than $1, and I can attest it will bring in fish. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and tagging sharks for the Mote Marine Laboratory, my partners and I were able to chum in and catch nearly 40 sharks while using less than two cans of the stuff. It is oily and stinks to high heaven, so catfish should love it.
      For anglers interested in using film canisters to chum their bait, something else to consider is the use of a popping cork. Even if your bait is on the bottom, you can rig a popping cork above it and attach a baited film canister below. This will allow you to do some extra chumming and use the cork to “pop” the chum out whenever you want to release more.
     Another great tip for land bound anglers is to use braided line. In talking with several anglers who pursue brackish blues from the bank, I have learned that loosing striking fish can be a problem.
      I am not sure as to the reason but a definitely solution is using a braided line because they have no stretch. When making long casts with monofilament from the bank you have the potential for lots of line stretch when can make a poor hookset.
     Sixty yards of line might have five or six feet of stretch and that is plenty for a big blue to undo. When using a braid like Fireline, Gorilla Braid or Spiderwire you can forego these problems and greatly enhance your chances of putting some catfish in the frying pan.
     (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com and watch him Saturdays on GETV.org on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)
     

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