By Tim Huffman
Crappie.com originated in 1996, went to a number one rating and has stayed on top every year as the most popular crappie site. The site’s views have doubled most years since it began.
Owner and guru of the site is Ed Moes, a Chicago city raised boy who always had country boy blood running through his veins. Trips to the country in the summers to his aunt and uncle’s farm only ignited the outdoors in him as trips through the woods and playing in the creek were his favorite things to do. The past few years he calls Florida his home where fishing waters are plentiful.
“I get to fish a lot,” says Moes. “I fish in Florida but also get to fish all across the country with crappie.com members. I try to attend as many of the crappie.com events as possible and I never pull my boat. There are plenty of members who want to share their boat. I get to meet so many people and spend some time fishing with them.”
The crappie.com events mentioned are organized by the members. They are simply gatherings where members meet, fish, eat and camp. Their popularity comes and goes, says Moes, but when interest in one loses enthusiasm a new one pops up. Most of the events begin in the south early in the year and work their way up north often associated with the spawn. When water starts cooling in the fall they start in the north and work to the south. He says the good thing is that the events are scheduled around some of the best fishing of the year no matter which state they are in.
More about the start-up? “I am a computer geek. I was knowledgeable in computers so I bought a few domain names early when they were available. I put up one message board on crappie.com and things snowballed. I now have 150 forums, 30,000 registered members and about 100,000 page views a day. Its growth has been unbelievable.”
Moes says there were two important turning points for the site. “Early on I was successful and grew because of Richard Williams, a Kentucky Lake guide, who posted fishing reports regularly. People followed his posts.
“The second thing had to do with us being family-friendly. A lot of stuff you see on TV you won’t see on our site just because it’s wrong and I don’t want it on my site. Around 2003 a group of members, most from around Virginia, started writing things on the message boards I thought was out of line. I stopped it. Most of them got mad, quit, and I was really worried bout the future. A moderator friend talked to me and told me I was doing the right thing. That was a turning point showing we were serious about being family-friendly, stuff you don’t mind your kids reading. In the long run it was a positive decision and we continued growing. It defined crappie.com.”
Your favorite place to fish? “I don’t have one. I love shooting in Georgia, long lining in Florida, pulling cranks in Mississippi and one-poling pads in Florida; every technique has it’s own best place. Honestly, it’s not the lake that makes fishing special…it’s the people who you’re with.”
What do you do when not working on your site or fishing? “This year most of my time was spent looking for a house for my mom. Not fun. I use to work on BMW cars but since moving to Florida that’s waned since my BMW buddies are up north.”
American hero? “John Wayne and the man who shot Osama Bin Laden.”
Favorite boat food? “Nature Valley granola bar, a snack food.”
Sports team? “Since Jay Cutler is with the Bears I’m a Packers fan. When Cutler is gone I’ll return to the Bears.”
Favorite book/movie? “No, I don’t care much for books or movies but I do go to the movies just to be with my daughter.”
Something most others don’t know about you? “I’m my own mechanic. I do all the work on my own cars and truck. I’ve rebuilt transmissions and do whatever is needed.”
Any final words? “Crappie.com is a website full of caring, giving people. We often have fishermen replace a locator or something and offer the old one to a member who needs it. Members have sent fishing equipment to other members who have had theirs stolen. Members are good to each other and I like that.”