The Great Outdoors
by Larry Whiteley
TACKLE BOX MEMORIES
It was a cold, nasty day so I got my old tackle box out and started cleaning it up and organizing it. There’s a lot of memories in an old tackle box. Like the Rapala that had no rear treble hooks – I had to have them cut off after I buried it in my forehead when I hung up and jerked it loose. I sure got some funny looks while walking up the boat ramp and also when I walked into the hospital emergency room. You would think they had never seen anyone with a Rapala hanging down between their eyes.
There was also an old crankbait I used to beat up my boat and the snake that was trying to get in the boat with me. One of the hooks was bent out straight when I accidentally hooked the snake and proceeded to cast it half way across the lake. Several other fishermen came boating over to see what all the screaming was about.
Next to the melted candy bar in my tackle box, was my favorite spinnerbait. You know, when I get to heaven, I want to take that spinnerbait with me. I shall cast and a monster bass shall hit that spinnerbait and I shall not lose that fish. That’s not the way it happened last summer and heaven should be different.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
“I don’t know if I love fishing, or just love being in the places where you find fish.” ~ John Higley, Outdoor Writer
REALLY BIG CRAPPIE
Let all the other crappie fishermen fish the large bodies of water this spring while you search out small waters like state park lakes, county and city lakes, farm ponds and strip mine lakes.
They are all under fished and just might be full of big slab crappie. The best small water will cover at least 10 acres and have some deep water. Look for the same kind of structure you would in big lakes.
Strip mine lakes are probably my favorite. Most are on private property but they are definitely worth getting permission and checking out. The biggest crappie I have ever caught were while I was fishing strip mines for bass with a half-ounce spinnerbait. Believe me, crappie big enough to do that are really big crappie.
ICE FISHING TIP
Don’t let your fish freeze out on the ice unless you have a way of keeping them frozen. If they thaw out and you re-freeze them when you get home, they will lose a lot of their flavor.
Every year on February 2nd all eyes of crappie fishermen are on the largest member of the squirrel family. They want to see what the groundhog does on his special day that supposedly predicts the arrival of spring. Groundhog Day festivals are held across America to see if he sees his shadow when he emerges from his burrow. All crappie fishermen know that if a groundhog sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t, it’s a sign that an early spring is on the way and crappie will soon be on the banks spawning.
It turns out groundhogs aren’t the best for predicting when spring will arrive though. A study, probably government funded with our tax dollars, looked at Groundhog Day predictions from the past 30 years and found that they were only right about 37% of the time.