Meridian Star

April 11, 2014

Dogwoods bloom, gobblers boom and crappie spawn

By Mike Giles
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Have you ever wondered what it would be like to catch crappie as hot as fire crackers during the spawn? Well, if you’ve been to Okatibbee Lake the last few weeks you’ve probably already found out. On good days the crappie bite has been as hot as firecrackers on the Fourth of July. On slow days the bite has been steady enough to catch a limit if you had the time to spend on the water in search of the slab sides, paper mouths or perch, as some folks call them.

    Melvin Warren is one die-hard crappie angler who has caught hundreds of shallow water perch this spring and thousands over his lifetime. Warren is a jig fisherman and one of the best to ply the waters of Okatibbee Lake. Warren had rather spend a day catching crappie on jigs than just about any other way. And more often than not he’ll beat the average angler hands down.

    Whether he’s fishing the stump filled flats or catching crappie from the weed filled waters, Warren is an expert at catching them. It’s a sure bet that he’ll be hauling in crappie with jig poles in his hands. Warren catches crappie on jigs while trolling the flats around stumps and in shallow water grass beds. It doesn’t matter what they bite, just as long as it’s a jig!

    Warren will also tell you where you can catch them and what they’re biting and be glad to hear you’ve caught some too. The accomplished angler will go fishing on both good days and bad days and enjoy them just the same. And usually he’ll catch and release quite a few fish. Though he does keep some to eat, catching them is the fun part and he has no qualms about releasing them if he doesn’t need a mess to eat.

    Crappie are just plain fun to catch and tasty to eat. Bass may be made for catching and releasing but crappie are made to eat, period, hands down!

    Last Saturday Eric McElhenny and Daniel Giles joined me on a trip to the lake after a cold front had passed through and nearly shut the bite down. With northeasterly winds it was tough to fish and harder to keep your boat in position.

    McElhenney and Giles fished jig and cork combos on Bass Pros Shops and B&M Poles with equal enthusiasm. All you had to do was keep that jig and cork combo in the water and let it sit a second and before you knew it- Wham, another one bit. It happens just that fast. Stop, plop and drop the jig in a hole and bam, another crappie bites the dust.

    Although most of the crappie have probably spawned by now, recent flood waters have left the fish a veritable smorgasbord of food in the flooded shallows and the crappie will head to the bushes and grass to dine. Get a few corks, jigs and minnows and you can enjoy some of the finest fishing of the year, but don’t delay, times a wasting so take a kid fishing today.

    Contact  Mike Giles at

601-917-3898 or e-mail him at