After dreaming of giant slab crappie all night we awoke to a beautiful Central Missouri Lake of the Ozarks morning view as as we enjoyed our breakfast of leftovers from Shorty Pants. The meal was superb the night before and it certainly lost nothing in quality overnight. Reinforced with big chunks of cornbread and andouille sausage covered with a creamy etoufee we hurriedly gathered our gear and made the short trip down the steps from our cabin to the docks. We had been told that crappie fishing at Lake of the Ozarks was on fire - with anglers limiting out in no time and I for one was hoping to be one of those successful Lake of the Ozarks crappie anglers.
Barb shows Tammy how to use her camera to snap a photo of Barb’s first fish of the day
Everyone we had spoken to the night before told us that the crappie fishing from the docks at the Alhonna Resort was some of the best in the neighborhood and we were anxious to see if that info was correct.
Before I could even get settled and set up Tammy shouted ” Got one!” first fish of the day award went Camo Mom. “Got another one!” she laughed.. it was becoming very clear that Camo Mom was going to be the angler of the day.
Tammy Bellew with the first fish of the morning
I started to get bites as soon as I got settled and started but couldn’t for the life of me seem to get one snagged. I should interject here that this was my first trip to actually fish for crappie. I’ve caught crappie before.. but usually when I’m fishing for other panfish. to call me a novice crappie angler was an understatement.
“Hey I’ve got one too!” called Barb from one of the other docks.
Barb Baird with her first fish of the morning
Okay I thought to myself we’ve been out here 15 minutes and those two were yanking them in left and right and I still could not seem to get one hooked despite repeated bites and snaps. Enough of that foolishness.
“Tammmmmmmyyyyy ” I whined ” What am I doing wrong????”
Camo Mom graciously called a halt to her near constant catching of the crappie to come over and lend me hand. She helped me select a smaller jig, and stood patiently by with a critical eye , while I casted along the edge of the dock. Just like the other 47 times I immediately got a bite and then lost the fish.
Camo Mom tactfully pointed out that I wasn’t dealing with a 40 pound catfish and perhaps I was setting the hook with just a little too much force.
As soon as I followed Tammy’s excellent advice about just flicking my wrist vs giving it a hog setting jerk I had my first crappie of the morning!
Yes I was excited enough kiss the fish! Photo Courtesy of Barbara Baird
My first crappie of the trip. Photo Courtesy of Barbara Baird
We fished the docks for most of the morning and Tammy was dangerously close to reaching her limit, so we decided to have break and some lunch and brief rest.
While we were noshing away and plotting the possibility of an afternoon mushroom hunt , fellow outdoor writer and fishing expert John Neporadny called.
Writer and Fishing Expert John Neporadny
He’d heard we were in town and offered to take us out by boat to some of the better crappie fishing spots situated along the shores of the Lake of the Ozarks. Since John only had room for two in his boat he had thoughtfully requested the assistance of neighbor for one of us to go with.
Obviously given my lack of crappie fishing knowledge I whined that I had to go with John. I needed lessons!
John was a great and patient teacher and tour guide.. He squired us all around the best crappie beds in the area and patiently answered all my silly questions. Finally after a quick peek into the live well we decided that were darn close to limiting out and we’d best be heading back in . We met back up with Barb and her crew and they also were pretty close to limiting out, especially when remembered to count the fish we’d caught earlier in the morning.
Barb with her new friends heading in from a crappie filled afternoon on the lake
Tammy sets about emptying the live well of the days catch
John was kind enough to even fillet the fish for us and send us back from a great day with bags full of fresh crappie. We returned to our cabin tired an convinced that we all had better grasp of how to catch crappie, and I did the happy dance all the way up the steps because finally..finally I had caught crappie. On purpose. Almost like I knew what I was doing! Thanks to the great crappie fishing at Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, The Girls Gone Crappie, and expert John Neporadny had finally taught this backwater catfish and carp angler how to catch crappie!