BLAKELY AND REELFOOT LAKE
EDITOR’S NOTE: Billy Blakely has fished at Reelfoot
Lake most of his life and has guided at Blue Bank Resort
on the lake near Tiptonville, Tennessee, for the past
23 years. Today Blakely will share with us a little-known
crappie-fishing secret used at Reelfoot .
Reelfoot Lake is famous for white crappie. Ninety-eight
percent of our anglers fish for and catch white crappie.
We have a good population of what we call "stubbies,”
black crappie that are short and fat. The black crappie
are shallow-water oriented, and they stay around the
lily pads and grass. We catch them with jigs and small
corks. The best days to catch stubbies are on overcast
days and rainy days - days when most crappie anglers
don’t want to fish. We find the black crappie
any place where lily pads have been present the previous
year. One of my favorite areas to look for black crappie
is where there are duck blinds back in the marsh. The
shallow holes there make good places for the black crappie
to spawn. I like to use a 6-1/2- foot B’n’M
pole with 8-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line to catch
crappie. That 8-pound-test line is tough enough to come
through lily pads with a big black crappie on the hook
yet small enough so that
the crappie can’t see it. I like the B’n’M
pole because it’s small and lightweight, I can
fish it all day long without getting tired, and it has
the power to pull a big black crappie in to the boat.
Many of our anglers like the dark-colored Spike-It jigs
like those in black-and-chartreuse, purple-and-chartreuse,
deep blue or chartreuse. If you can’t find jigs
those colors, take a dark-colored jig and dip the tail
in Spike-It’s chartreuse dye which will enable
you to put a chartreuse tail on a dark jig.
I usually use my trolling motor and ease along the
edges of the lily pads, casting the colored jig on a
bobber until I catch a black crappie. Once I take one
of those fish, I’ll continue to fish that area
because black crappie usually school together. On a
good day with a party of several savvy anglers, we generally
can catch 60 to 100 crappie weighing from 3/4- to 2-1/2-pounds
each. We had a tournament here in early March of 2006
where the winner caught seven black crappie that weighed
a total of 13 pounds, 7.4ounces. The reason most people
fish for white crappie near Reelfoot Lake is because
the white crappie are easier to catch.
You can simply spider-rig with six poles out and troll
for the white crappie. However, more people now are
starting to fish for the black crappie at Reelfoot Lake.
To catch crappie at Blue Bank Resort, contact Billy
Blakely at 1-877-BLUE-BANK (1-877-258-3226), or visit
On a package trip, you can fish for four days, stay
four nights at Blue Bank Resort and including the cost
of boat, motor, bait, gas and ice spend $209 per person.
If you prefer to fish on your own, Billy Blakely and
the other guides will tell you where to go and how to
catch them. A guide charges $200 per day for two people.
Tomorrow: Stumping for Reelfoot