A pair of veteran anglers tagged with reputations of being Arizona’s finest crappie fishermen will soon be sharing their secrets.
It all takes place at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 15 at Mountain Bible Church where Curt Rambo and Art Chamberlin will host a Shoot for the Heart seminar entitled “Spring Crappie Fishing at Roosevelt.”
Dennis Pirch, one of the organizers of the Shoot for the Heart events, anticipates Rambo and Chamberlin’s presentation will draw throngs eager to learn more about the sport and hone in on some of the pair’s fishing secrets.
In addition to the duo’s presentation, there will be a question and answer session, desserts, door prizes and a video presentation featuring local anglers engaged in their favorite sport.
“It will be a fun night,” Pirch said. “And people can learn from the two best fishermen around.”
Pirch expects Rambo and Chamberlin to provide tips on baits, rods and lines, proven techniques, cover to look for, water depth and hot spots at Roosevelt.
“Location, location, location,” said Pirch as if he was a real estate broker hawking a prize piece of property.
Pirch helped jump-start Shoot for the Heart in January 2010 as a way to provide “outdoor recreation time with an emphasis on hunting and fishing in God’s creation.”
Since the inception of the program, hundreds have flocked to Mountain Bible Church each month to take in the outdoor seminars that began with local tournament fishing pro Clifford Pirch leading a presentation on bass fishing and continued with a variety of other roundtables including camp cooking, mule deer hunting, tracking mountain lions, winter survival skills, Arizona Coues Whitetail deer and others.
One of the most unusual, held in February, featured a guest appearance by 70-year-old Alaskan contractor Doug Moe, who in 2007, while cleaning a deer he had just shot on a wilderness island, was attacked and mauled by a Grizzly bear.
The severely injured Moe fought off the bear with a knife, stabbing it several times in the neck. He then walked more than two miles to where his hunting companions were camped.
Following the attack, Moe was hailed as “one of the toughest men alive.”
All Shoot for the Heart seminars are free of charge.
What’s the charisma?
There’s a mystique about crappie fishing that has attracted an almost cult-like following in which members seem to have joined a secretive fishing brotherhood.
That’s especially true at Roosevelt Lake where crowds of anglers, young and old alike, make pilgrimages each spawning season knowing the waters are the home of some of the biggest fish around, including those known as “Hideaway Hawgs” or trophy-size crappie hiding deep in dense cover.
The popularity of crappie fishing has been debated for scores of years. Some say its because crappie are the best tasting freshwater fish, rivaled only by walleye.
Others stalk the fish because there is no limit on the number that can be caught at Roosevelt — possibly because the fish are so prolific.
Some turn to crappie fishing because it can be done year-round and chances of success are usually good.
Others say crappie fishing is a type of rebellion against industrial strength angling like sport fishing and catch and release philosophies.
Some old timers, calling themselves “country boys,” say they are drawn to crappie because the species is cunning and much smarter than other fish like trout.
For those, the challenge to fishing success is mostly mental — find out “how a crappie thinks.”
No matter what the reasons for the popularity, crappie fishing attracts thousands of anglers eager to prove their techniques and strategies — whether it be bait secrets, old school rigging and jigging, hook size or finding honey holes — are the best.
For more about any of the Shoot for the Heart events, call Mountain Bible Church at (928) 472-7800.