When many of us outdoorsmen have a rifle, shotgun or bow in hand in pursuit of Arizona game, there is a guy in Tonto Basin hunting a fish called a crappie.
Curt Rambo is a longtime fishing enthusiast who gets a great deal of pleasure trying to figure out how to catch crappies in all four seasons on Roosevelt Lake. His boat is always ready for those midmorning trips to the lake and those new spots that may show on his high tech Lowrance graph as he hunts the crappie.
I am a longtime admirer of his fishing prowess and when I get a chance to accompany him, I gladly accept. There is always the chance to learn more about catching the sometimes-elusive crappie.
Curt shared three points for fall fishing that will help you catch crappies well into October and November. The most important point is to be in the fish zone, which may vary from 15 to 30 feet. He studies his graph as he operates his trolling motor and when brush, shad and proper depth coincide, he stops and tries fishing. It is common for many spots to come up empty, but when this happens, Curt just moves to another location.
When a spot produces a crappie, he stops and spends time fishing the area thoroughly. In most cases, he will use a 1/8 oz. jig head in the fall and vertically present the bait very slowly and deliberately.
A common mistake by many fishermen is to fish the bait too quickly and not allow the sometimes-timid crappie to bite. This may mean holding the bait motionless at a precise depth to see if the fish can be lured into taking the bait. The bite may be so gentle that at any time if the line feels a little different, set the hook. This will increase your chances.
Finally, Curt's bait of choice in the fall is 1.5 inch little fishes or the two-inch Berkley Power Grub in pumpkin, chartreuse or Christmas tree lights.
Baits do change from day to day. So, it is important for you, the fisherman, to be versatile. Be willing to move or change baits if you are not catching fish.
I might add, the more you are on the water trying these techniques, the better your chances of catching fall crappies.
This weekend, take someone fishing and enjoy God's creation.