Don't hesitate to stir up the crappie

Serious anglers don't hesitate to stir up the fish

LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Fishing veterans can relate some unusual strategies. Crashing into brushy areas is one.

Richard Collins of Conway recalls when he and a couple of angling buddies used noise or disturbance as an asset, not a liability. "I used to fish in a little cutoff lake off the Arkansas River in the Lollie Bottoms. There was an old willow top that nearly always had crappie in it. If they weren't biting, we would say, 'We need to wake them up.' Then we would crank up that little 4-horse motor on the boat and run it back and forth over the willow top. Sure enough, most of the time, the crappie would start hitting."

Collins told of earlier days on Lake Conway. "The crappie were back in the lily pads a lot of time. Fishermen would just run their boats as far as they could into the wads of lily pads then sit still for a few minutes while things settled down. That's what it took to start the crappie to biting."

Doodle-socking is an old-time fishing strategy that is seldom, if ever, used these days. The basics included a long, stout bamboo pole with a short piece of heavy line on the end and a lure like a Lucky 13 tied on the end.

The angler would let the lure down into the water around a stump, log or other likely largemouth bass haunt then whip it vigorously in a figure-eight pattern. It was often productive.

Adept doodle-sockers would sometimes approach the area and beat the surface of the water like someone beating a carpet. That supposedly attracted or alerted the bass, then they would put the lure to work in the figure-eight pattern.