Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Crappie fishing report, April 10 (am)

Posted by Phil Lilley on April 10th, 2014
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Rolan Crappie 560Rolan Dufield and I have been fishing together for over 30 years.  He’s a gentleman’s gentleman and mean with a fly rod!  His former dog Peppie is responsible for our Peppie Scuds because Rolan used it’s fur to tie his flies with.  We drove over to Bridgeport on the James River this morning to see if we could find some crappies.

We put in shortly after 6:30 a.m..  I was amazed that we were the first to the ramp.  It was plenty light to fish–where was everyone!?  Water temp was 57 and breeze out of the south.  Perfect.

For those who launched after us… my apologies for our parking job.  I had Rolan park the truck and trailer.  He didn’t quite pull ahead far enough and partially blocked the gravel ramp.  That’s what I hate about having a name on the truck… people know when you’ve done something stupid.  My fault… I should have seen it and moved it.

We headed for the big brush pile Paul and I had found on Sunday evening.  It’s marked by a MDC green sign on the bank around the first point south of the ramp on the left.  Pulled out our fly rods, tied a white 1/50th oz jig on and set the floats at 4 feet deep.  I wanted to work the bank close up because I suspected they’d be close early while the was still hidden from the rising sun.

Rolan scored first, and second.  It was on!  Big slabs both of them.  Males.  We worked an area 20 feet up and 20 feet down from the sign.  Stays about 5 to 8 feet from the bank and caught crappies pretty consistently.  Most were slabs, some shorts and all males.

After about 90 minutes, it seemed to slow down.  I wanted to back out and try the brush pile.  I picked up my spinning rod with a 1/16th ounce head and smoke swimming minnow.  I wanted to locate the brush edges and depth so I could tell Rolan how to set his fly rod up.  I hadn’t figured it out before Rolan hooked a nice one on his white jig about 8 feet deep.

We caught a few out on the pile but it was slow.  The sun was starting to shine on a lot of the water along the bank so before it got all exposed, I wanted to go back to the bank and try it.

Went a little deeper on the float–about 6 feet this time–and Rolan started catching them again.  We were hooking them close to the edge of the shade, like they were following the shade as the sun rose.

There were quite a few boats in the area all morning.  Almost all were slow trolling with spider rigs and vertical jigging I think.  Some were working the banks too.  Guys I talked to were surprised we were doing so well on the banks.  They didn’t think they’d be there and didn’t really switch after seeing us rake them in.

I wanted to try the bluff above the 76 bridge before we left so about 9 am we headed up.  I knew the water against the bank would be in the shade.  As we boated over to it I saw the wind was going to be tough there.

We tried several things and caught some crappies.  Half short and half keepers but only a handful of fish.  Just couldn’t get a pattern on them.

We quite before 10 am with 20 keepers and may be 15 shorts.  We didn’t have a ruler AGAIN so I know we threw back some 10 inchers AGAIN.  But can’t complain about 20 big slabs – no way!  We were grateful!!

Smake em Crappie 560

Smake em (OAF long time member) came over to the ramp as we were leaving.  He showed me what he said was the biggest crappie he’d ever caught on the James.  Big black crappie!

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