Cypress trees are a good bet at Reelfoot Lake, just like at oxbows with cypress, Conway, and similar type lakes. A tree’s root system forms an umbrella and the fish will hang out under that umbrella. They like the shade. The only exception are the cypress trees near shore where the knees will hold the fish.
I’ll be using a 9’6” Grizzly Elite pole because it’s easier to handle with overhead limbs and setting the hook. A 12-foot pole is good in open areas but in the cypress go to a shorter pole. The biggest problem is wrapping the jig up in the limbs when you miss a fish on a hookset.
I like four- or six-pound test line. I use a 1/32 kelly green Grizzly jig in shallow water and a 1/16-ounce orange Rattle Eye head with a firecracker (clear with red-white-blue sparkle) Dead Ringer.
Hookset is very important and I like to hammer it. Experience will let you know how hard is enough without being too hard. You don’t want a 10-pound hookset when using 4-pound test line.
Louie Mansfield is the owner of the Grizzly Jig Company, the “everything” store for crappie fishermen. He is an accomplished angler and former tournament fishermen from Caruthersville, Missouri.