CRAPPIE ANGLERS CAN STILL LIVE THE DREAM

By: Glynn Harris

With the pandemic and political unrest festering across the world, it may be difficult to even think about finding fun things to do. Nasty stuff is going on that is causing us to focus on just keeping our heads above water and doing our best not to let negatives take over.

It’s time to take a deep breath and realize that we’re still who we were prior to the anxiety and concern caused by the spread of COVID. It’s time to think about relaxing and calming activities, things like hunting and fishing.

Deer season is going full swing in Louisiana and scores of hunters are relaxing and enjoying just being out in the woods and at least for a little while becoming one with nature.

Then there is fishing. Although bluegills have slowed down quite a bit here in early November, other species are still going strong. Bass fishermen are enjoying the thrill of playing games with their favorite fish. One of the more popular species is crappie. With weather transitioning from hot to warm; from cool to cold, what is the best way to find and catch these popular fish that are now on the move?

Louisiana Tech graduate, Jerry Thompson, founder and owner of Living The Dream Guide Service on Toledo Bend knows that to provide success and ample action to satisfy the one thing that keeps him in business, that being his customers, his guides have to keep up with the crappie as they make their move from where they were a month ago to where they are now and where they’ll be a month from now.

“As water temperatures slowly drop, crappie are making their move. They are pretty much gone from the brush piles that attracted them all summer as they make their way to their winter habitat in the deeper channels. To be honest, fishing is generally tougher until they get to where they’ll be spending the winter,” Thompson said.

Thompson said that anytime they start migrating, there are certain areas along the migration route that his guides target.

“We’ll start picking up fish around the bridges and points. You won’t catch the numbers you would when in summer the fish are bunched up around brush. You pick up a few in one spot and move to another to catch a few more. Our guides just keep on the move to pick up some here and there but we have found that this time of year, the crappie we catch tend to be larger,” he said.

Thompson started his guide service twenty years ago on Toledo Bend at the urging of some friends he had taken fishing who saw the potential he had to make such a venture pay off.

“This February 20 years ago, I bit the bullet, sold everything I owned, bought me an old 30 foot travel trailer. I set myself up to be able to make it a couple of years just to see if I could make it work. I actually came to Toledo Bend to guide bass fishermen because fishing for bass was my first love. It didn’t take me long to realize there was a market for guiding crappie fishermen,” Thompson continued.

“I decided to give it a shot, bought an old pontoon boat and started taking groups of people. Crappie fishing was the key to our having the success we are now experiencing.”

Today, Thompson’s business features 12 guides that serve both bass and crappie clients. He is in the process of constructing a marina off Highway 6 on the lake.

“It went from a dream to what we have today,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome to actually be doing something you envisioned and seeing it work out the way it has. This is why the name of my business, Living The Dream Guide Service, is so appropriate; it’s pretty awesome.”

To contact Thompson, go to ltdguideservice@gmail.com.

FISHING REPORT – 11-4-20

BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass fishing has been good this week with quite a few caught on spinners and crank baits chasing shad around the pads . Crappie fishing is fair around deep water off the boat dock on shiners or jigs. A few bream are being reported. No report on catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

BLACK BAYOU –  Bass are fair around the grass on jigs and soft plastics. Bream and crappie are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.

OUACHITA RIVER – Bass have been fair fishing shad imitation lures around the mouth of the cuts. Crappie have been best fishing the river lakes on jigs with Green Banana, Cajun Cricket and Silver Shad working best. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – The lake level has risen after recent rains. Reports are that gates have been opened again to get water levels down to drawdown level. Crappie have been fair in the channel fishing 15-18 feet deep in the deeper holes. A variety of hair jigs have picked up some fish. Bass are in the channels with crank baits and soft plastics picking up some. A few bream have been caught deep on night crawlers. Catfishing is good on cold worms and night crawlers.. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has been good on the drop-offs along channel edges with some to 3 and 4 pounds caught on crank baits. The crappie bite has slowed with a few caught around the deep tops on shiners or jigs. Striper fishing has slowed down while catfishing has been good on trotlines baited with chicken livers or blood bait. Bream are slow. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.

CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best in the deeper channels on drop-shot rigs and swim baits. Some have also been caught around the grass on Flukes with lots of average sized bass caught. Schools of shad have moved into the grass and the bass have followed them in. Crappie continue to be fair to good on shiners or jigs fished around the deeper tops with the Double Silver Rainbow, Blue Thunder, Blue Chrome and Lights Out working best. No report on bream or catfish. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie are slightly improved around the boat slips especially early mornings and late afternoons on jigs. Catfishing has been good with a 18 pound blue cat reported. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.

LAKE ST. JOHN – Bass fishing has been fair; catfishing is fair while bream and crappie are slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.

LAKE YUCATAN – The water is rising rapidly and fishing has come to a standstill. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

LAKE BRUIN – Bass, crappie, bream, stripers and catfish are all slow this week. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.

Jerry Thompson, founder and owner of Living The Dream guide service on Toledo Bend has been living his dream for the past 20 years guiding crappie anglers

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