George Block Column
Blooming wildflowers mean crappie are biting
John Dino and I were traveling along a country road heading for who knows where when he made an important statement. The yellow flowers (daffodils) are blooming.
That tells me the crappie are hitting.
To John, the blooming of the daffodils means it is time to go crappie fishing. Last week, I wrote about preparing a fishing bag to be used exclusively for crappie, or should I say, panfish.
The bag will have a variety of curly tailed plastic lures no heavier than 1/16 of an ounce and some matching jigs.
There also are small spinners and streamer flies that can be cast out with a split shot to add weight.
There are times and circumstances when this rig will be used with a float. The float, which also is called a bobber, works better when the water is choppy.
The ups and downs the float adds movement to the lure. When fishing with a float, be conscious of the belly that slack in the line. It is almost impossible to set a hook when there is so much loose line between the hook and angler.
The loose line will result in a lot of decorations in trees along the shore line.
As most anglers know, the crappie is a school fish. Catch one and you probably will catch others in the same spot. The idea is to fish that spot with the same retrieve or drift.
There is little reason to try to horse a crappie into the shore. That will result in a lost fish.
They are called papermouths in the South for a reason. Their mouths are easily torn.
The best places around here to fish for crappie are Cross Creek Lake and the local water dams.
Crappie caught in the spring taste wonderful. But remember, there is a size and possession limit when fishing for them at Cross Creek Lake. You are not allowed to keep more than 20 panfish and crappie must be at least nine inches in length to keep.
When fishing for crappie, I invariably catch a few bluegill. Actually, the bluegill prefer things a bit warmer and will come out in a few weeks.
The same lures that work for crappie will work for bluegill. But I prefer live bait when bluegill fishing.
• John’s observation that the yellow flowers are starting to bloom is correct.
How often do we walk along a stream and not notice what is around us?
Very soon, the adders tongue will cover the hillsides, along with the trillium.
Have you ever noticed the yellow dandelion-colored flower that grows along country roads? It is the coltsfoot and is often the first wildflower to bloom.
They do well in bad soil and are not particularly pretty.
In a few weeks, other wildflowers will bloom and those who fish the Templeton branch of Wheeling Creek will be surrounded by an array of nature’s best. After passing Jackson Road, the first high bank on the right opposite the creek will have bluebells.
This stretch of gravel road has a wide array of wildflowers. Where else will you find larkspur, Blue-eyed Marys and others?
Remember, this place is not considered a wildflower reserve. That’s a bit farther down along Enlow Fork and requires more walking.
The flowers along Templeton can be seen from the car. As John said, the flowers carry a message.
George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.