By: Chris Shaffer
Many anglers think crappie season is over in Northwest Arkansas. Meanwhile, Russ Taylor of Get of the Net Guide Service used a quick trip after work last night to prove to us the bite hasn’t expired. In a short two-hour outing we caught more than 50 crappie on Beaver Lake and could have caught many more had we stayed out till dusk.
Beaver Lake is no secret to crappie anglers. Meanwhile, most focus on early and mid spring when crappie are shallower and more readily available. Still, anglers in the know can catch them year-round. Taylor had only fished for crappie once in the last month, but was confident he could put us on fish in order to film Pautzke Outdoors. Fortunately, that didn’t take long. Taylor caught three crappie on his first three casts and action didn’t slow afterwards.
Taylor did what most crappie anglers would do: he focused on targeting docks, most notably those with 15 to 35 feet of water beneath them and he always fished the shady side, believing that the fish would school up in the darkest part of the water during daylight hours. Fortunately, he was correct. Regardless of which dock we stopped at the crappie bit.
We didn’t catch enormous slabs, but managed a dozen quality fish that anyone would be impressed with. Of the 50, or so, we caught more than 30 were undersize black and white crappie, but we had plenty that were quality fish, too. A mixed bag presented itself at each stop. Considering we only made three stops the trip was a huge success.
We employed minnows. On the other hand, it’s what we did to those minnows that we believe drummed up success. All the minnows we pierced on the 1/16 ounce jigs were dyed chartreuse and paired with four-pound P-Line and a small split shot. Taylor had Blue, Chartreuse & Red Fire Dye on the boat. Unfortunately, we only had one aerator, and as warm as the water was we didn’t want to split the bait up and have some minnows not on air. In fact, many minnows were going belly up even before we started dying them.
With the water being slightly off color we went with chartreuse simply because it would show up best in the deeper water. The crappie seemed to agree with our choice. Within those two hours they almost wiped us out of bait. The more vibrant the minnows were the quicker the crappie hit them.
Our minnows weren’t glowing chartreuse and if you know Taylor well you’ll understand why. It takes 15-30 minutes for the dye to paint the bait. Meanwhile, after pouring a bottle of the Chartreuse Fire Dye into the bucket he grew impatient after five minutes because he was itching to start fishing. At that point he took the minnows out of the solution. Fortunately, even after a mere five minutes the minnows started to change color. It was enough to ignite a bite and proof that Beaver Lake crappie haven’t gone off the bite, particularly if you have good bait and know where to look for them.
Editor’s Note: Pautzke Fire Dye is available at most Arkansas Walmart locations and Bass Pro Shops. For more information on Taylor’s guided crappie trips on Beaver Lake please visit www.getthenet.weebly.com.