Heat doesn't always throw wrench in works

Saturday, August 4, 2007

When Harry Underwood, Warrensburg, called me last week and suggested we go crappie fishing, I thought the sun and heat of July had gotten to him.

"Really," he said, "meet me at the dock and I'll show you."

With the temperature hovering around the 90 degree mark, I picked up some crappie fishing gear and headed for the lake near his home. It was no surprise that Harry was the only one in sight at the lake, but what was a surprise was that he had several big crappie in his livewell and hooked another as I arrived.

"I was messing around the dock several days ago and decided to make a few casts with a jig and was pleasantly surprised when I hooked a big crappie and then I got serious and finished the day by catching 22 keeper crappie and two bass," Underwood said.

"I came back yesterday and they were still hitting at a time when you wouldn't think about fishing. My wife thought I was losing it, but the results proved otherwise."

We put the small boat in a cove and worked the shoreline catching crappie in 20 feet of water all around the lake. The fish were scattered, but you would get a hit nearly every cast. It reminded me of spring fishing instead of late July. Harry also caught an 11-inch bluegill which he plans on getting mounted and hang in his den.

Thinking we were the only ones catching fish proved wrong. Harry's neighbor, who likes his crappie fishing nearly as much as I do, wasn't surprised when we told him about catching crappie. "I was fishing at Smithville last week and caught at least 50 crappie," he said. Then he added, "only four of them were keepers."

Jack Phillips, Clinton, has been catching crappie all summer from Truman and Stockton lakes.

"Even during the day I have been hooking crappie, but usually, at this time of the year, I take my Coleman light and fish after dark, but this year has been different.

"Normally I use minnows to catch crappie during July and August, but I have been catching fish using a small white jig," he said. "it saves carrying a minnow bucket and worrying about the minnows dieing."

Phillips has caught some big catfish as well as the crappie this summer.

"I ran some lines last week and caught some catfish up to 20 pounds. When you can catch crappie during the day and catfish at night, you don't mind the high temperatures," he said.

After hearing about the good summer fishing and seeing Harry Underwood's success with the crappie, I decided to try my favorite farm pond that holds some big crappie and bluegill.

It was uncomfortable at first because of the bugs and high weeds around the pond, but once I started catching fish I didn't notice the inconvience as much. A small white jig produced several bluegill in the three quarter pound range as well as several big crappie. It proved to me again that its never too hot to go fishing when you can catch fish.