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Lord Castlereagh

Bass or Crappie... What's the Difference?

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Tales of the Fish
Volume II

Bass or Crappie… What's the Difference?
Izaak Walton Pond, Loudoun County, VA

The first lure hit the water at about 800am. It was 60 degrees, going to a high of 82. The water temperature was 58 degrees: a rise of 10 degrees in only two days. This had me very excited to fish, of course. The beautiful, warm and breezy day, on the beautiful pond with not a cloud in the sky were all icing atop the cake.

The pond is truly coming to life. There were dozens of turtles and our resident mating goose pair were also in attendance. And there were fish. Literally hundreds of fish were circling the pond in the shallows in plain view. The last time I could see a fish in the pond (other than the trout who were stocked in October) was probably last July.

Things got off to a rather slow start. At 855am I was fishing a huge lay down that has been highly recommended to me. It is very old, so that only the trunk remains; all else has rotted away. You can cast out 30 feet to the far end of the log, and retrieve all the way back down the length of this monster with very little fear of snagging your lure. Better yet, the log has a twin. Their bases are close together at the shoreline, but they diverge at about a 30 degree angle, meaning you have two massive structures for bass to school near. I carefully climbed out onto the bigger log on the left and moved slowly along the massive trunk to about five feet from shore.

On my third cast, I saw that violent silver flash that we all lust after, and I was once again struck by just how blindingly fast these fish can be. She hit the lure and I started cranking. There was a lot of silver, more than I was used to seeing. I brought her to the bank, and surprise! She's a crappie, and not a bass.

The good news is that I have been desperately trying for a crappie on this pond since last summer. I've never tasted one and I hear that they're the filet mignon of freshwater fish. In all those months, I managed to nab only one crappie: a tiny one in mid-January that I threw back. As you can see from the photo, this is no tiny crappie (12 inches and 11.2 ounces), and at long last, I'll be able to savor the legendary fish, probably tomorrow night.

Surprisingly, that was my last fish of the four-hour trip. And I was not alone. A family was there and they had up to four poles in the water at a time, and they were there at least four hours. With all that fishing going on, with the warm water, and the hundreds (thousands?) of fish on the move, you'd think there'd be a bunch of fish brought in. Nope. One crappie for me and one largemouth for the family group.

Still, I have my first eating crappie and I am content.

Until next time,

Lord Castlereagh


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When you get the first big warming trend in the spring, you'll often experience a lot of cruisers. This fish are mainly warming themselves in the shallows, not really interested in feeding and generally very spooky. 


Looks to me like you caught a black crappie that was probably getting ready to, or maybe already in the process of spawning. There's a good chance that there's more by that laydown if you were to go back and target them. 

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Crappie spawn a few weeks before bass.

Crappie pattern swimbaits are far better then bluegill IMO.


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They're good to eat but I prefer fried bream ( several varieties ) My favorite is Red breast. And right up there with the bream is fried catfish.☺

Not minimizing your catch though. I'd eat one in a heartbeat. Take some live minnows over there and you'll get some more!

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