When The Crappie Aren't Biting, Fish For Bass

OUTDOORS UNDER THE RIM

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I am a diehard crappie fisherman who really enjoys trying to figure these fish out, whether it is in the early spring, mid-summer, or the short sunny days of late fall.

I was on one of those trips this past week when the weather did not cooperate. The temperatures were in the 50s and it was spitting rain. Needless to say, the crappies appeared to have lockjaw, which made it tough on me and my fishing partner, Don Heizer.

We were flipping two-inch Berkley Power Grubs to the numerous brush piles that line many of the coves. Much to my surprise a 16-inch slot fish bit and the fight was on. Using an ultra-light spinning rod with four-pound test can be a real challenge fighting and landing a healthy two-and-a-half-pound bass. We quickly realized bass fishing was the ticket if we wanted to have some fishing action.

So the rest of the afternoon was spent catching 12-inch bass on ultra-light spinning gear.

These bass are about a pound in weight because of the healthy conditions of the lake. Those hungry bass saved our day of fishing and provided for a lot of enjoyment.

Many bass fishermen are catching astronomical numbers of fish using a wide variety of techniques. Kyle Sawyer and Dennis Elder caught and released over 100 bass while dropshotting robo worms on the Tonto arm of Roosevelt Lake.

They were concentrating on the major and minor points in 10 to 20 feet of water. Drop shot fishing is easy to master and is extremely effective in catching lots of bass with the right equipment. My recommendation is a very sensitive spinning rod where you can feel the lightest bite. Shimano and Rogue have two of the best drop shot rods on the market today.

To catch larger bass, many of the local experts are very versatile in their presentation. Frank Powell of Frank's Guide Service prefers crankbaits, while Clifford Pirch uses a wide variety of jerk baits and Mark Kile likes to catch those big ones on spinnerbaits. The key is versatility. Have at least three rods ready with three kinds of baits, and chances are you will catch more and bigger bass.

When the serious bass fishermen are ready to launch at the lake their rods are rigged and lined for a day on the water.

If you want to catch bass, the place is Roosevelt Lake and the time is this spring. We may very likely have one of the best bass lakes in the West right here in central Arizona only 38 miles from Payson.

Who knows, maybe this diehard crappie fisherman may have to buy a good crankbait rod and start fishing for those lunker largemouths.

This weekend head to the water and enjoy God's creation.

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