Mark it down, when the fruit trees bloom the gobblers boom and crappie spawn. Now the fish may be up in the grass, or out in the shallow flats, ditches and stump fields, but they will bite. And you can catch them if you know what to do, where to fish and how to fish. If you can find them and it’s warm like it has been this week, the action can be on fire and red hot.

We launched our boat on Okatibbee Lake last Saturday morning, and we were the second boat on the lake. My brother Joe put the throttle down, and we made a short cruise and started fishing before the sun had even risen. We started casting Roadrunner spinners and jig combos along with Jig and cork rigs, too. It was finally getting light when I twitched the rod tip and danced a jig with my Bass Pro crappie jig.

Wham! A feisty crappie struck my jig, and the rout was on. That crappie was my first of the day, and the action just got hotter as the sun rose.

Joe cast out a Roadrunner spinner jig and grub combo and reeled it over a stump and felt that “thump” of a crappie engulfing the jig. He set the hook and quickly deposited the fish into the supper well. While we usually throw back the larger bass, we release the crappie into the supper well so that we can take them home and feast on the succulent fillets that make a meal fit for a king.

We put the anchor down and kept casting and catching. While we were fishing, a couple of other boats came near us and started working submerged stumps, and they were catching fish, too. There was a man and woman in one of the boats catching crappie left and right. The other boat had a couple of men and women in the boat as well. It was good to see these young ladies out there with the men catching fish and enjoying the outdoors.

As the sun rose, I captured a sunrise shot with a boat in the foreground. A short time later I heard a familiar sound from high above and looked up just in time to see an eagle soaring by overhead. They were once almost extinct and surely gone from this area, but they have made a stunning comeback with a little help from all of our friends.

My grandfather J.P. Nolen taught me how to crappie fish with jigs, and we caught the crappie from Ross Barnett Reservoir’s main lake and spillway areas. An average day would include a limit of 1 ½ pound crappie, and we relished cleaning and eating them as they were about as good as you can get around these parts.

The thing I like the best about crappie fishing this time of year is that you can catch crappie — and lots of them — on just the basic equipment. You can use a cane pole and cork, or a B-n-M Crappie pole with minnows or jigs, or a jig and minnow on it and catch fish.

You can use multiple poles rigged on rod holders and catch them two and three at a time like Johnny Cumberland and a host of others do. Or you may just use a single pole with only a jig and dance that around brush or grass and catch a boatload. The pole and jig is easy to use, and if you get hung up simply grab your line and run the rod tip down to the lure and bump it off without losing many jigs.

Or maybe you prefer casting a Zebco rod and reel combo or spinning real combo. When the fish are in the flats and spawning along a ditch or stump field, you can sometimes anchor in range of several stumps and literally catch a limit without ever moving the boat.

The action is fast and furious and fun for all. I’ve seen a lot of folks who didn’t like to fish but not many people who didn’t like to catch fish. This is the time of year you can catch them without a lot of expertise if you’ll just get out there and go fishing. Imagine the possibilities and go fishing today!

Call Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or email mikegiles18@comast.net.

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