Spring is just around the corner, and you know what that means right? The dogwoods will be blooming, and crappie will be biting on the shoreline shallows of Lake Talquin. In Gadsden County Florida crappie fishing is part of what makes spring awesome – abundant, beautiful and delicious. These panfish are loved by anglers throughout the U.S., ranking behind only largemouth bass, trout and catfish in popularity polls. AND it’s a time of year when many anglers look forward to with great glee…me included.
I was recently fishing with my son Daniel on Lake Talquin, not far from The Whip Waterfront Pub n Grub (if you’ve never dined there, you must). We had been fishing just minutes when Daniel, working a jig beside the bank under a blooming dogwood, hoisted a huge crappie into the boat – a fish that weighed more than 2 pounds. Me, I got snagged in a brush pile, but soon landed a crappie, too; a 1-pound-plus black crappie full of fight.
Crappies are very prolific and grow quickly. In many good lakes, like Lake Taquin, anglers can regularly snag fish that are from 14 to 16 inches that weigh from 1-1/2 to 2 pounds. Sometimes a skilled or lucky fisherman will catch a crappie that tips the scales at 2-1/2 to 3 pounds or more. Fishermen call those “barn doors,” and they are rarely caught.
No matter where you fish, however, when crappie are found and a fishing pattern develops, it doesn’t take long to catch enough 1 to 2 pounders for supper and usually enough to share with friends and neighbors, too.
YET, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard statements like “I don’t understand why you enjoy crappie fishing so much. Crappies don’t hit very hard, they don’t put up much of a fight, and they don’t get very big. They’re hard as the dickens to figure out sometimes – hot one day and cold the next. I’d trade a hundred of ‘em for one good-sized channel cat.”
But, I love Crappie fishing.
Consider, for example, in many states, crappies are found in nearly every lake, and many streams and ponds, too. In-the-know anglers haul them in spring, summer, autumn and winter. Anything these sunfish lack in size, they compensate for with sheer numbers and the typical ease with which they are caught. Sure, trout are bedazzling jumpers. Catfish reach huge sizes. Bass are brutal battlers. For many anglers, however, crappies are the favorites because the certainty of some kind of fishing action is far better than promised battles that never come.
Fancy equipment? No need. It doesn’t matter if you use an old cane pole or a $200 ultralight rig. Both catch crappie.
Also, the crappie is a beautiful fish. Its scales are flakes of polished silver assembled like a delicate mosaic that sparkles jewel-like in the water. The eyes are golden inlays. Showy, oversize fins impart subtle grace.
All these characteristics blend to make the crappie an extremely beloved character. At least 6.1 million U.S. anglers 16 years old and older fish for crappie, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Only black bass, trout and catfish are more popular.
Another indication people love crappie is the fact that several places lay claim to the title “Crappie Capital of the World.” I must admit, YES, we make that claim in Gadsden County, Florida. There is no better crappie fishing than on Lake Talquin. Crappie has, indeed, won the hearts of millions. But some, like my catfishing buddy, will never be swayed. To them, crappie always will be “kids’ fish” – too small, too easy and too wimpy to be worthy of attention. For the rest of us, however, crappie always will be special. We love being on the water where they live. We love fishing for them. And we love eating them.
OK, I’ll close for now.
But remember that you can visit Gadsden County, Florida all year round for some solid Crappie fishing on Lake Talquin. Plenty of places to stay whether you want to RV, camp, or just stay in a local hotel or bed and breakfast. And oh by the way, check out all there is to do in Gadsden County throughout this website.
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