Dan Dannenmueller, also known as “Crappie Dan,” is the Publisher of CrappieNOW as well as an accomplished professional crappie angler.
In the Spotlight…Dan Dannenmueller
by Tim Huffman
A familiar face on the American Crappie Trail, Crappie Masters Tournament Trail, personal appearances and seminars across the country, Dan Dannenmueller, loves to promote the sport of crappie fishing. A social media buff, “Crappie Dan” shares tips and current crappie happenings from the many waters and events he attends. His sponsors include Yamaha, Ranger Boats, Garmin, BnM Poles, Road Runner, Thundermist, Tacklewebs, Offshore Tackle and Mossback Fish Attractors.
“I learned to fish by going fishing with my Grandma Dannenmueller. It’s funny because her life was a routine, like wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, grocery shop on Wednesday and fish the rest of the week, except on Sunday morning when we were all in church. We fished for anything that would bite and followed with a cleaning session when we got home. We were fishing to eat, not for fun, but it was always fun.”
Dan entered the Air Force, married his wife, Sue, but still fished when he had time.
“Sue and I were fishing out of a 14-foot, vee-bottom with a 9.9 Evinrude on it. I even fished some bass tournaments out of it. Later, I upgraded and started fishing serious tournaments. I had made it to a final qualifier to fish the BASS Masters Classic, but could not fish it due to military responsibilities.”
Dan started professional crappie fishing ten years ago. Paul Alpers encouraged him to give it a try and hooked him up to work with media. Dan now promotes the sport of crappie fishing wherever he goes. He and former partner Bill Braswell won back-to-back Angler Team of the Year point championships with Crappie Masters in 2010 and 2011.
His regular job is owner of KMS, a consulting firm that includes IT support, websites, marketing support and Air Force consulting contracts. He is publisher of CrappieNow and CatfishNow.
He was born in 1952, served 25 years in the Air Force, has three sons, and a great wife and fishing partner, Sue.
Biggest Crappie? “3.27 from Grenada Lake.”
Crappie fishing highlight? “Two Crappie Masters Angler of the Year titles.”
Fondest fishing memories? “A trip with you (Tim Huffman) at Grenada. I have no idea how many huge crappie we caught that day, but it was a trip of a lifetime. Also, I enjoyed taking two different teenagers out fishing in the youth tournaments and they each won scholarships. Both families were very excited and appreciative. That meant a lot to me.”
Strength? “Spider rigging and pulling planer boards. I’m known for spider rigging because that’s what my good partner Bill Braswell and I were doing when we won the AOY titles. The way the trend is going, I may be one-poling in the future.”
Weakness? “Has to be figuring out the fish when they are very negative and in the in-between periods when they are transitioning. Also, I’m slow to make changes because I know certain things have worked in the past so I stick with stuff too long.”
Goals? “I would like to win a classic. I had good success in bass fishing but have not won the big tournaments in crappie. I would like to win a classic before I’m too old to compete.”
Favorite place to fish? “Alabama River. When it’s good, it’s really good, but it can be difficult just because the river fluctuates so much and is influenced by current. But I like the challenge of the river. I also like Ross Barnett, Sardis and Lake Fork.”
What keeps you motivated? “I’m always motivated when fishing, especially tournaments. I’m competitive. And most people don’t understand, it’s not about competing with the fishermen, it’s simply a challenge between me and the fish. I also like promoting, doing seminars, our publications, doing anything that helps others get into fishing or learn more about fishing.”
Pet peeves? “Jet skis and pleasure boaters, and fishermen, getting too close. Some are just not courteous.”
What do you do when not fishing or working? “I like flower and vegetable gardens. I like to watch things grow. Sue and I like bird watching. Our new place has lots of birds and a big stocked lake. We are having fun at the pond watching the fish come up to the feeder and seeing how they interact with each other. We have bluegill, hybrid bluegill, redear, a few bass, 25 crappie and a big size assortment of catfish.”
Favorite Boat food? “Our tradition is a sandwich.”
Favorite sports teams? “All Auburn Tigers and St. Louis Cardinal baseball.”
“I don’t say much about it, but deep inside, I’m very religious.” ~Dan Dannenmueller, CrappieNOW Publisher
Favorite movie/book? “Movies, Gone with the Wind and all westerns. For books, I like anything western, especially historical stuff.”
How has the corona virus changed the year for you? “It has caused me to focus on other things and projects. Usually we would be fishing all the time now. I’m enjoying a little recreational fishing and my personal projects. I do miss meeting people and seeing our friends on the tournament trails.”
Crappie Mates? “Sue and I are in our third year as a husband/wife team. We know each other so well it’s been an easy transition most of the time. She knows I’m serious about representing my sponsors and fishing and she totally supports me in those. She has helped in making me more relaxed and less stressed, too.”
Something most people don’t know about you? “I don’t say much about it, but deep inside, I’m very religious. Also, I want to be friends with everybody but due to personality differences, of course that’s impossible.”
How would you like to be remembered? “As a person who was a good fisherman. One who believed in helping others and doing the right thing.”
(Tim Huffman has specialized in crappie fishing writing and photography since 1988. He is currently the Editor/Senior Writer for Crappie Masters Magazine, freelance contributor to four magazines, book author and Senior Writer for CrappieNow Digital Magazine.)