I have been having great crappie success this fall. Mention crappie fishing and the bait most people think is minnows. They are hard to beat anytime but I’ll stay with my jigs and plastics.

Number one, they are cheaper than a dozen minnows and last longer. I’m all for cheap. After Charlie and my trip chasing bass ended up fishing for stripers, that trip also saw him donate a coat to someone after he left it in my truck and it blew out somewhere on the highway.

That afternoon I got in my golf cart and headed for the boathouse. I picked up where I had left off and caught six crappie for supper. I had a pleasant surprise when I started. The crappie were bigger and there were fewer little ones.

I’m going to share with my readers wanting to try catching these tasty fish what I’m doing. All crappie fishermen have their own secret ways of catching the good eating fish. C&C — crappie and catfish — are by far America’s most popular fish as to numbers of people who fish for them.

While the floods have washed in a lot of trees and brush that can, and do, hold crappie, sometimes they can be bare of fish; plus you may need a boat to get to them. Move around enough and you might find some but I’d just rather fish than look.

This fall the fish I’m catching are in deeper water than in the spring — 10-15 feet has been my magic depths. Most serious crappie fishermen bait their own spots. I‘m going to share with you now my tips to help you catch this tasty fish. This is what I do, others have their own ways of fishing.

Tip No. 1 is find a boathouse — if possible in 10-20 feet of water that the owner will let you fish — and No. 2 fill it with dead cedars and hardwood limbs and branches if he doesn’t care. Some people tie them off the floats at different depths but I like mine on the bottom as the water cools.

Some people prefer willows and they are good but beavers will eat them faster than crappie can find them. Now I don’t use a cork much, except in the spring when I‘m fishing shallow water. Fall I’m fishing straight up and down. I use a 1/16 to 1/4 ounce Blakemore Road Runner jig head and my own poured ball head jigs.

Just using the jig head lets you quickly change plastic grubs and tubes in different colors to find what the fish want without having to re-tie, just slip the old bait off and slide on a new one. I use two medium action five foot, six inch rods with spinning reels spooled with Silver Thread eight and 10 pound Fluorocarbon line.

The smaller line is a little more sensitive than bigger line but both will work. Each to his own but I like Silver Thread when I fish.

Now here is the way I fish. I let the jig go all the way to the bottom, then I crank it up two turns to start with. Where I fish has so much brush I have to be as careful as a two-tailed cat in a room full of rockers when I start up not to hang a limb.

I fish my jigs two ways 90 percent of the time. If the wind is blowing there is a underwater current. This is where the Road Runner shines. I don’t move it much, Striper fishermen would call what I’m doing dead sticking. The Blakemore Road Runner has a small blade and the current will turn it.

That, along with a YUM or Blakemore rubber colored body of your choice and a Crappie Nibble, is deadly. I also fish the ball head jig that way but I will swim it really slow. You need and this only comes with practice to be able to tell when you hit a limb from a bite — guess wrong and you likely donate a jig to the brush.

Crappie fishing can be a great fun family event. If you are serious about getting a meal this is not the time to be talking a lot, concretion and line watching are important. Crappie can bite so lightly at times you never know they were there. Your line will not lie to you but you have to watch it, if you see it go slack or see it come up a little set the hook.

Word of advice: don’t try to jerk the hook set, just a firm upward sweep of the rod will work. Too hard and you can rip it out of his mouth. This is something I can say but to get good at it takes time.

My last advice, these tasty fish will bite all winter in deep water. So if you are lucky enough to find a boathouse the owner will let you in, bundle up and go fishing.

I got taken to the cleaners last Friday night at the Gunter Football game about not putting my predictions in the paper last week. My Gunter Tigers ate so much Mustang last Friday night, this week they are off digesting it. Next week I won’t forget.

This Friday all the hard work put in by Jerry Dorsey and his co workers starts to pay off. Around 110 of our military will show up to go fishing and have a weekend of fun. I can’t say how much I appreciate the support Texoma land has given them year after year.

Thank the Lord for the many guides and volunteers who are giving up a day of their time to take these soldiers out. I just got word we lost three boats. We need some help. If you can furnish a boat for Saturday call Jerry Dorsey at 903-786-3981.

Friday night these people will be at the VFW Lakeside Post #7873 so if you come out shake their hand. Some of the many people and businesses supporting this event are major players. Thank you Little Mineral Resort and Marina, Tanglewood, Georgetown Baptist Church and Service organizations VFW Post 7873, Elks Lodge 238, Vietnam Veterans Post 973 and American Veterans Post 231 for doing a lot of the heavy lifting for this event.

If your team has a bye night or you just want to meet a lot of young people dedicated to protecting us here at home come out. To get to the VFW Post 7873 come all the way out on 289 North till it Ts, turn right, then back left at the next road, follow it and it will take you right to the Post. Another chance to meet them will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at the weigh-in at Little Mineral Marina. Again thank you Texomaland.