BLAKELY ON REELFOOT LAKE
How To Fish For Crappie On Reelfoot Lake
EDITOR’S NOTE: Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake
near Tiptonville, Tennessee, is in high gear in the
fall, with anglers catching plenty of crappie, catfish
and bass every day. Billy Blakely is the resort manager/chief
guide and has been guiding on Reelfoot for 23 years.
QUESTION: Billy, where are the crappie at this time
of year in the fall?
BLAKELY: The white crappie are in open water holding
on stumps, logs and trees, usually in 4 to 15 feet of
QUESTION: How are you rigging to catch these crappie?
I use a double-hook crappie rig, which includes a hook
on the bottom that’s 3 inches up the line and
a 1/4-ounce sinker and wire splitter at the top. The
splitter keeps the top hook away from the main line.
Farther up the line, we use a slip bobber with a stopper
to allow us to set the depth at which our bait will
fall. We also fish with a spider rig that can hold eight
poles in the front of the boat and eight poles in the
back of the boat. Because of the slip cork, we can tell
when a crappie takes the bait. All our poles are rigged
with 8-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. We fish small
shiner minnows on all our poles.
QUESTION: Why do you like spider rigging for crappie?
BLAKELY: We use 16-feet poles and cover 25 to 30 feet
of water as we troll. Our corks are set 2-feet apart.
We’ve learned that the more water you cover, the
more crappie you can catch. By easing through the stumps
on Reelfoot Lake, we’re able to put the bait in
front of the crappie so they can see the minnows.
QUESTION: When fish start biting, do you drop your
I like to drift with the wind. When I catch a big fish,
I drop the anchor and continue to fish. The other thing
I like about drifting is that we are much quieter than
if we’re using the trolling motor. I use the wind
to move me, but I keep my trolling motor down, ready
QUESTION: How long does a day of crappie fishing last
BLAKELY: We usually leave the lodge at 8:00 am and
come back around 3:00 pm. Of course, another factor
depends on how well we’re fishing. If our party
limits out, we come in early, but if fishing is slow,
then we stay out longer. At this time of year, catching
a limit per person is usually not a problem. Last week,
I took out a party of two, and within two hours we caught
87 crappie. The average crappie weighs anywhere from
¾ - to 1-1/4 pounds. However, catching a 1- to
1-1/2-pound crappie is not a problem.
QUESTION: Do you and your guides put out yo-yos to
catch catfish while catching crappie?
Yes, we do. You can get a cooler full of catfish while
QUESTION: If you fish for crappie and catfish, how
many fish do you usually catch?
BLAKELY: Last week, we put out three dozen yo-yos.
In 2-1/2-hours, our party caught 87 crappie and 200
pounds of catfish. That’s all the fish anyone
wants to keep.
You can call – 1-877-Blue Bank or visit www.bluebankresort.com/
to learn more.
TOMORROW: JUG FISHING