If you fish for bass you will eventually run into a problem called sensitivity. You can have the best rod and reels and still not catch fish. My tip to improve your catching of both crappie and bass is easy.

A problem some people have is telling a bite from hitting a limb or other structure, then jerking and hanging up. Crappie and where they live will give you plenty of training. It took awhile and a load of jigs before crappie taught me the difference.

Now I can tell when I hit wood or structure from a bite nine out of 10 times. The other thing I have learned fishing for crappie that apply to bass is line watching. I don’t care how sensitive your rod is; there are going to be times you never feel a bite. The only thing that will tip you off is to watch your line.

Most of the time this problem shows up is on the fall of your jigs. I tight line 90 percent of the time I’m fishing for crappie. Why is line watching so important? Bass or crappie will often just let if fall into their mouth. There is no jerk, tic or any other give away that you have a fish. If your bait stops falling, set the hook gently — it could be a limb. If your line moves off, set the hook — you will never feel a lot of bites you get.

Crappie will often hold it in their mouth and not react until you pick it up. Since for most of the time crappie live in or around brush you need to learn the difference in your jig hitting wood or getting a bite. Crappie fishing hones your fishing skills while catching dinner. Seriously, learning the difference between hitting wood, rocks or a fish can make you a better bass fisherman.

I have friends who I carry to my crappie spots and watch as they miss bites or hang my jigs up. Like any sport learning all you can and improving your skills can be taught by these good-eating fish.

You have heard people say big baits for big fish. This generally refers to bass and striper fishermen. The striper fishermen do need big heavy baits to make long casts or to get deep where the stripers spend a lot of time. Bass also like big lures but small and medium size lures will catch more numbers of fish. Crappie seem to like small baits for some reason.

I know I catch some big crappie on little lures. I don’t use minnows anymore. My crappie tackle for most of the time consists of 1/8 oz. Blakemore Road Runners or ball head jigs. I even drop down to 1/16 heads now and then. My favorite baits that really work for me are 1 to 2-inch soft plastic bodies. I carry a variety of them and keep changing till I find one they want. Wednesday, they wanted Black and Chartreuse Tubes.

No matter what bait you use fishing for crappie tip it with a Crappie Nibble. Does it work! I caught 16 big crappie and lost five more big ones trying to swing them up on the dock like the anglers on match fishing do in their boats. They don’t call them paper mouths for no reason. I baked some of them for our supper, they were great and baking is good for you.

My recipe for baking is soak the fillets for a couple of hours in milk. Pour off the milk and pat dry the fillets. I place foil in the pan and spray it with Pam. I mix up butter, lemon pepper, powdered garlic and olive oil in a cup and melt it. Then I brush the fillets and pop them in the oven at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on how thick they are. No salt — it can be added at the table.

Susan makes a salad and its chow time. I wash it down with sweet tea while she drinks water. Dessert is usually some kind of fruit sprayed with fat free whipped cream. It has to work: look at me the next time we meet.

I have received some new Norman Middle N lures. They are the same colors called Nutter Mike Daugherty and I were using in my article last week. I have had some things to do around our house and helping a friend so I haven’t been bass fishing this week. Those new 4.5-inch Pulse swimbaits are going to get a workout also.

With what looks like a cooler week coming up I plan on trying those new lures out. School is starting before long so take your family and kids on an outdoor adventure, hiking, fishing, or just getting outdoors together before it’s back to school.