There is no shortage of photos showing Hayden Jeffries and his Dad,
Dan, holding first place trophies in crappie tournaments.
In-depth with the Hottest Crappie Team in the Country
by Bernard Williams, Magnolia Crappie Club
Hayden & Dan Jeffries – Part 1
Over the years, I’ve seen excellent crappie fishing teams come on the scene and wreak havoc in the tournament world. The Capps & Coleman, the Buntings, Jeremy Aldridge, Terry Stewart, Team Outlaw, and now Team Jeffries rule the tournament setting. The trend would last a few seasons, maybe more, but never total domination like I’m seeing now.
I’ve fished with the Magnolia Crappie Club (MCC) for nearly twenty years; I can honestly say we’ve got some of the country’s top teams fishing our tournaments. I’ve witnessed Terry Stewart, Rabbit Rogers, John Harrison, and Jeremy Aldridge constantly blow us away at the scales during their heyday.
With the advent of the Garmin Livescope, the game has changed. No other crappie fishing tool has impacted the crappie fishing world in such a drastic way since the inception of the boat. I’m here to tell you; live imaging sonar (LIS) will only get better.
Introducing Hayden and Dan Jeffries
This Brandon, MS Team started fishing with MCC about four years ago. In their first tournament, they spider-rigged to a third-place finish at Barnett.
Hayden is a full-time college student at Mississippi College studying Business Administration. I like that he’s pursuing a college degree while balancing his fishing and working careers. Dan is a laid-back proud dad.
Hayden and Dan remain humble and down to earth. I’ve seen them get beat, and being the excellent sportsmen they are, they always congratulate the winners.
Hayden said, “I’ve been fishing since I could walk. Dad put a baitcaster in my hand when I was four or fivew years old and started teaching me how to bass fish. I started crappie fishing about seven years ago, going around Ross Barnett and jigging every visible piece of structure I could find. I started learning how to spider rig a couple of years after and spent a couple of years trying to figure that out. When it came out, I got the original [Garmin LiveScope] panoptics and tried to understand what I was looking at while spider rigging. When I got put out of school for COVID, I made it my intention to figure out how to use the Livescope. I was fishing 6-7 days a week for 2-3 months, no matter the weather.
“My home lake is Ross Barnett Reservoir; I have fished it my whole life. We own a house on Eagle Lake, so for the last couple years, I have devoted a lot of my time into trying to figure that crazy lake out,” said Dan.
“Now, being in school full time and working full time, my fishing time is somewhat limited. I fish every day that I can catch a break. Sometimes I get to fish all day, and sometimes I will go for an hour or two. I would say I fish 100-125 days of the year. Once I get done with school this semester, I plan to have a lot more time to fish.”
He says his all-time favorite technique is fishing with a single pole and a jig during the spawn around cyprus trees and reed grass. He also enjoys casting at brush piles that hold lots of fish during the summer.
“I have been working hard the last two years at long pole dipping utilizing the Livescope, he said. “I am a spider rigger at heart, and it will always remain in my arsenal.”
Hayden’s equipment includes:
- 2012 Skeeter FX20 with a 250 Yamaha SHO
- Minn Kota Ultrex 36v 112lb
- 2 – 45lb Minn Kota Endura on the back
- Garmin 126 Ultra
- 2 – 10″ Hummingbird Helix for Mapping
- Rods – Power Crappie – Todd Huckabee Rods
- Single Pole – 16′ K-Rod, 14′ Flip Stick, 13′ Trident, 12′ Slab Swinger
- Casting Rod – 6.5′ Ninja, 8′ Epic for pitching heavy jigs
- Lures – 1/16 Southern Chase Hair Jigs – Soft Plastics by numerous companies
- Reels – I use inexpensive Baitcaster Reels
Hayden says, “I like the 16′ K-Rod for the reach and backbone; it has a sensitive tip and has excellent balance. I can use it all day with very little fatigue. The K-Rod is a powerhouse for boat-flipping a 2+ pound crappie. The K-Rod and the Flip Stick started the boat-flipping method that other rod vendors duplicated. I can get a superb hook set in the top of the mouth with no need for a landing net. The Power Crappie Rods are an excellent investment with superior customer service.”
Power Crappie rods have made a huge hit with the Livescopers. Boat flipping started with the bass guys. Todd Huckabee Rods brought this technique to our arena. Huckabee got ahead of the curve; he designed the perfect backbone and sensitive tip combination in a light enough rod to hold all day with little fatigue.
I can attest to Hayden and Dan’s success, it’s impressive to see them come through a bunch of boats and catch fish after fish, and no one else is getting a bite or watching him chase a fish for 200 yards and catch the fish going full speed on the trolling motor. It’s mesmerizing to watch Hayden and Dan wait until the last team to weigh their fish; then watch the scales instantly show an astounding weight.
That’s enough to digest; for now, we’ll continue this profile in Part Two in the May edition of CrappieNOW.
(Bernard Williams is a noted outdoor writer from Jackson, Mississippi. Williams is also the vice-president of the well-known Magnolia Crappie Club.)