KENT DRISCOLL - EXTRAORDINARY CRAPPIE FISHERMAN
The Importance of Line to Crappie-Fishing Success
NOTE: Kent Driscoll of Cordova, Tennessee, has enjoyed
fishing for crappie for 30 years. He's fished in crappie
tournaments and finishing third in 2000 and fourth in
2002 at the North American Crappie Classic. Each spring
and summer, Driscoll fishes the Crappie USA Circuit,
Crappiemasters and the new Crappie Angler's Association,
using a wide variety of tactics that produce crappie
all year long. For the next two weeks, we'll learn how
Driscoll finds and catches crappie.
Question: Kent, how important is line to your crappie-fishing
Driscoll: Line is critical, because it lets me get
my bait to where the crappie are holding, allows me
to hook the fish and enables me to get the fish to the
boat. One of the most-important aspects of crappie fishing
is knowing when and how to adapt your line choice to
fishing conditions. Water clarity is the key.
How do you adapt your fishing to the water clarity?
Driscoll: I fish primarily my local lakes in northern
Mississippi: Grenada, Arkabutla and Enid. These lakes
are all flood-control lakes and are heavily stained.
In heavily-stained water, you have the ability to fish
high-vis line. Green and gold lines and Mossy Oak's
high-vis line perform better for crappie fishermen in
these stained-water conditions than clear line does.
An advantage of fishing heavily-stained lakes is that
you can fish a heavier line than you can in clear lakes.
In a clear-water lake, I'll fish from 4- to 8-pound-test
Mossy Oak clear line.
However, I fish a stained lake like those located in
north Mississippi and Tennessee with 10- to 12-pound-test
line. When I can, I like to fish the heavy line because
I have the advantage of putting more pressure on the
crappie and being able to pull them out of the brush
easier and quicker than I can with lighter line. So
I really prefer to fish heavier line when I can. However,
if I'm going to a clear lake, like Norfork Lake in Arkansas
where I finished third in the North American Crappie
Classic where the visibility was 10- to 15-feet deep,
I had to fish 6-pound-test line. In that tournament,
my partner and I missed taking first place by .5 of
an ounce. On Norfork Lake, if we'd been fishing in open
water, we would have used 4-pound-test line. However,
since we were fishing in brush, we had to step up to
6-pound-test line. The other advantage that we had in
that tournament was that we were fishing with 16-foot
B'n'M trolling rods to get the lines well away from
the boat and motor while we trolled. We were spider
rigging over deep brush piles.
Kent, how often do you change line?
Driscoll: Once again, that depends on the clarity of
the water. When I buy a reel for one of my B'n'M crappie
poles, I'll only buy a reel that has two spools. I'll
spool Mossy Oak's high-vis line on one spool and Mossy
Oak's clear line on the other spool. Once I've got the
line on the spools, I put a piece of tape over the tag
end of the line, not only to hold the line on the spool,
but also to give me message board where I can write.
On that piece of tape, I'll write the pound test of
the line and the date I've put the line on the spool.
I'll put the spools in a small bag that I keep in my
tackle box. Then at any one time, I'll have eight to
10 spools of fresh Mossy Oak Fishing Line with me while
I'm fishing. This system allows me to change line very
quickly, whether I'm fun fishing or fishing in a tournament.
If I'm using Mossy Oak's high-vis line, and I'm not
getting any bites when I'm seeing fish on my depth finder,
then I want to change my line and fish Mossy Oak's clear
line. One of the problems with clear line is that you
can't see the bite on the line nearly as easily or as
quickly as you can with high-vis line, especially if
you get a light bite. Many times, the crappie will be
biting so lightly that you won't be able to feel the
bite even on a super-sensitive pole. However, with a
high-vis line, you can spot the slightest twitch when
the crappie sucks in your bait, even if the bass doesn't
get hooked. Many times a crappie will simply pick up
the bait and move it off to the side. If you have ahighly-visible
line, you can see that line move away from its normal
track through the water. But, if you're in very-clear
water, you have to use clear line and depend mostly
on your ability to feel the bite rather than see the
bite. Fishing in clear water with clear line is so difficult
that I've learned I catch more fish in clear water by
having the pole in my hand rather than in my rod holder.
mistake many crappie fishermen make with their lines
is they'll often set their drags too heavy. If you're
fishing clear water with 4- to 6-pound-test line, you've
got to have that drag set really loose. You want to
have enough tension on your drag to set the hook; however,
after you set the hook you want some of the pressure
taken off the line by the
crappie's ability to pull out drag off the reel.
To learn more about Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to www.mossyoakfishing.com.
For more information on B'n'M crappie poles, visit www.bnmpoles.com.
TOMORROW: WHAT'S THE BEST LENGTH
OF TIME TO LEAVE LINE ON A SPOOL