Monday, June 3, 2013

Ever-popular Pymatuning introduced to "new" crappie-fishing technique (Part I)

JAMESTOWN, Pa. - It will be a cold day on Pymatuning Reservoir when drop-shotting can't catch crappies.

Yet so it was, the air above 16,349-acre Pymatuning was both unseasonably chilly and unfriendly windy.

Toss in spritzing of rain drizzle at times that expanded to include pellets of cold-hard raindrops and the crappie fishing was anything but pleasant, let alone productive.

Even so, Pymatuning is one of the best crappie fisheries in either Ohio or Pennsylvania. That the reservoir is superimposed over both is a blessing for anglers from each state. And beyond, too.

And though Pymatuning is often a major inland go-to place for anglers seeking walleye and muskies, the reservoir's cache of eating-size to trophy-size crappies is no less a serious target sought after by may of the impoundment's human fishers.

Using one of favored two-hook drop-shot rigs I managed to snatch a dandy black crappie from the reservoir, which at the time was suffering from a bad migraine brought on by a nasty cold front.

Yet now arriving at the water's edge is a new-to-the-region way of successfully catching crappies, particularly when the fish are bunched up in schools of spawning fish.

That technique is called “spider rigging,” a gem of a fishing program illustrated recently by Dan Dannenmueller with Bobby Garland Baits, a crappie-fishing specialty.

In use also were crappie-catching baits promoted by TTI-Blakemore official T.J. Stallings.

Long a fixture with Southern crappie anglers, spider-rigging is such an alien force that during a recent, annual gathering of outdoors writers to Pymatuning saw other fishers had to stop in their boat wakes just to gawk.

Spider-rigging is named because of the array of fishing poles aimed of a boat's bow, not stern.

Spread in a sweeping formation, these specialized rods comb a wide swath, each pole snugged in chrome-plated steel multi-rod holder.

And the rods themselves are hardly your run-of-the-mill spinning fishing stick, either.

Instead, such specialized rod manufacturers as B' n' M build poles of lengths from 10 to 12 feet, on average. Some rod models are even longer, though few are shorter.

These poles – and it's not an insult to call them by that moniker, at least by Southern standards – are by their very virtue of being long also very limber and equally very sensitive.

All of which is vital to get the job done; that being, to catch crappies from all kinds of waters, including the stained, generally shallow kind found at Pymatuning.

Rigging consists of employing 6- to 8-pound test monofilament as the rig's workhorse line. Tied to this line is a small three-way swivel.

On the swivel's short “arm” that extends at a 90-degree angle is tied a 12- to 18-inch leader of 6-pound test copolymer line, such as the Gamma Technologies brand owned by Oil City, Pennsylvania-based BlackKnight Industries.

To the three-way swivel's suspended eye is tied a leader, longer than the one hanging at the 90-degree angle.

About one-half way down this bottom leader is attached a barrel swivel above which slides an egg sinker. This sinker can weigh from ¼ ounce all the way to ¾ ounce.

The heavier the sinker, the deeper an angler intends to find suspended crappies or else needs to take a good breeze into account.

Now comes the fish-attracting part. Terminate the end of each leader with an appropriate crappie-size jig, such as those made by TTI's Road Runner Lures.

Stalling notes that more often than not many anglers fail to remember that crappies possess mouths larger than do nearly all other so-called panfish. As a result, says Stalling, many anglers choose a jig fitted with a hook too small to prove effective at catching crappies, says Stalling.

At this point someone not familiar with spider-rigging might conclude the technique is intended for either drift fishing or fishing while anchored.

Yet while both of those applications are acceptable, spider-rigging comes into its own as a forward-momentum, slow-troll method.

Just how slow was expressed by a couple of the manufacturing representatives attending this year's Pymatuning Crappie Camp. Speeds of less than one-mile-per-hour are more often than not the norm rather than the exception.

Thing is, spider-rigging is adaptable to the conditions the angler is encountering, the factory reps instructed the outdoors writers.

And by using a quiver of rods an angler can cover not only varying depths but just as importantly, a large footprint of water.

It is here, by-the-way, where Ohio anglers are legally allowed to shun the state's two-rod-per-angler rule.

On Pymatuning, at least. The reason for this being that Pennsylvania has just decreed that its anglers can use up to three fishing outfits simultaneously.

Logic and the law consequently dictates that on Pymatuning as Pennsylvania goes so so goes Ohio as well.

Just picture then a slow-poke of a fishing boat barely crawling forward, bristling with a fan-shaped arsenal of outlandishly lengthy, flexible fishing poles at the end of which each contain two colorful jigs tipped with minnows or some other tasty morsel.

Viola! You now can understand why this Southern-style of crappie fishing might very well succeed in capturing the North in a way Gen. Lee was unable to do 150 years ago.

Peaceably, too.

Unless, of course, you happen to be a chunky Pymatuning black or white crappie. In which case you might as well raise your dorsal fin as a sign of surrender.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

1 comment:

  1. That kind of technique is really wonderful to have. Your article is very wonderful and easy to understood that even beginners can be able to follow the tips that you gave. Good thing that you shared this one to the people.

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