I might as well cut and paste this paragraph and use it all spring. Spring time out here is magical isn’t it?

We have ground squirrel hunting going on, turkey hunting, bear hunting, mushroom hunting and crappie fishing. You can wear yourself out, can’t you? So I’m running myself ragged right now.

But I had a Texas hog hunt last week. I got home after midnight Thursday and had a talk on Good Friday at the Veteran’s Home and then three seminars at Sportsman’s Warehouse on Saturday. My family loves eating crappie so I had to get out and see if they were hitting yet.

So I finally got a free day the Monday after Easter and called my buddy Christopher Robertson to see if he was free. 

He’s a fish-a-holic so of course he signed up. I had to take Katy to an Aggie Muster that night so we left early so we could get in a few hours of fishing.

I figured we were a week or two early to catch them spawning but you don’t want to be late so I always start early. We slipped the Jon boat out of the back of the truck, loaded up and I ran up to park the truck. Chris caught something like 4-5 fish during that time period right by the boat dock.

My secret spot should be great so we jetted over, ok, jetted as fast as my Minn Kota would jet. We were using 1/8 oz. jigs tipped off with tube jigs. This year I started using Pautzke Crappie Fire Balls. They come in the colors of pink, orange, blue and gold and garlic or shad flavored. The Fire Balls are durable, well scented and prompt fish to bite. I will be using them this spring on my crappie fishing trips.

I also upgraded my fishing equipment and got some Field & Stream fishing rods. And probably just in time since I was attending to some menial task and laid my ultra-light rod off the back of the boat. A big crappie grabbed it and the rod jumped out of the boat like a high diver never to be seen again.

We fished a while and were catching a few. They had not moved up yet to spawn so we fished out 30-50 yards from shore and that was the main area we were catching them at.

After a while we decided it would be better fishing back at the dock so we went back and fished there a while as well as a few of my other spots.     

Most of the bites were gentle so when they hit, start reeling. The way we were catching them is to cast out a jig tipped off with a Pautzke Crappie Fire Ball and let it sink to the bottom and then gently reel it in.

Many taps came right away but we caught a lot of fish up close to the boat. Whether they had followed it up or were up that high feeding I can’t tell you.

To be successful I’d recommend using the Crappie Fire Balls. They are super slippery but very effective. To make them easier to hook, I put a few on my seat. 

They dry up fast so you don’t want to wait too long because they will really shrink. Just let them dry enough so they’re easier to handle or, I think if you took a little flour and rolled them in it you could grasp them better. I’m going to try that next trip.

Pretty soon it came time to leave, especially since we had to clean our fish before I took Katy to dinner. We caught 92 in 5 ½ hrs. They’re still pre-spawn but will move in and start spawning any day now. They’re just waiting on the water temp to rise a few more degrees.

I told Chris to keep fishing while I loaded the boat and he caught something like 9-12 in that short amount of time. I have to get back this weekend. It might be hot.

 Tom Claycomb is an outdoor enthusiast and writes a bi-monthly column for the Humboldt Sun.