KENT DRISCOLL ON POWER TROLLING FOR CRAPPIE
NOTE: Kent Driscoll of Cordova, Tennessee, enjoys
crappie fishing so much that he fishes the Crappie U.S.A. and North American
Crappie tournament trails and belongs to the Troll Mate Crappie Club in
Memphis, Tennessee. For the next two weeks, I'll tell you about the tactics
Driscoll employs for the summer months to take suspended crappie - power
trolling and crankbaiting. This week we'll learn about power trolling
Question: Why do you have a hand-held Garmin 12XL GPS
mounted on top of one of your crappie-pole stands?
Answer: When we're power trolling, we move fast and cover a lot of water.
This particular GPS has a MAN-OVERBOARD feature. When we catch a crappie,
I hit the MAN OVERBOARD button, and the GPS will take me back to the same
spot where we've caught the crappie. The Garmin 12XL will hold 500 MAN
Question: So, if you catch crappie at five or six different
locations, then you can hit MAN OVERBOARD and run the same route again,
Answer: This feature gives me the ability to go back and fish for a school
of crappie in open water. If we locate a productive brushpile or fish-holding
structure, we can mark it as a waypoint and return to that structure to
fish some more.
How many poles do you have out at one time when you're fishing for crappie
in a tournament?
Answer: On both of the crappie-fishing tournament circuits I fish, each
boat can fish with a maximum total of eight poles. Mississippi, where
I like to fish a lot, doesn't have a law on the maximum number of poles.
If we're fishing for fun, my partner and I will have out 14 poles and
be fishing them all at one time.
Question: What poles do you use and why?
Answer: I troll with my big motor and set up 16-1/2-foot B&M Slow Trolling
rods, each rigged with a bait-casting reel, 14-pound-test line, a 6-ounce
weight and either three jigs or minnows on every single pole. I tie the
weight onto the end of the line, come up 18 inches from the weight, make
a 3-inch loop, attach a hook and put a minnow or a jig on the hook. Then
I move up 18-more inches on the line and repeat the same process. Once
I complete the second rig, I go up another 18 inches on the line, make
a 3-inch loop, attach a hook and put another jig or minnow on it.
Question: You troll three jigs at a time?
Answer: Yes, I troll in 6 feet of water with these baits.
To what depth of water do you let the baits reach?
Answer: I fish at about 12 feet with one pole and then fish the others
at different depths until I come up with a pattern of where the crappie
Question: How fast do you power troll with the big motor?
Answer: I generally go just a little over 1 m.p.h. Usually I troll at
1.2 m.p.h. With the big motor, I can cover more water easier, and the
motor allows me to troll up to 2 m.p.h.
Question: How do you keep up with the speed at which
Answer: I have two GPS systems that enable me to monitor my speed in the
front and the back of my boat. I watch the speed on the GPS the entire
time I'm fishing. Part of establishing a pattern is to knowing how fast
the crappie want the bait.
Question: How slow can the boat go and the GPS still
record the speed?
Answer: The GPS tells you the speed down to 1 m.p.h. I never want to troll
over 2 m.p.h. When fishing with minnows, I recommend that you don't go
over 1.5 m.p.h. because the minnows will tangle, turn and fall off.
How deep do you have to be trolling to power troll?
Answer: I don't troll any deeper than 13 feet. If you troll deeper than
that, you'll have a mess when you get into any structure or brush. With
this many rods and hooks, you'll certainly have a real mess.
Question: Do you think the big motor scares the crappie?
Answer: No, I run a 4-stroke motor, which is much quieter and fuel-efficient
than a 2-stroke motor.
Question: How shallow can you catch crappie using the
Answer: About 10 feet is the most shallow we can take crappie using the
big motor. If we catch fish any more shallow, then I'll have to slow troll.
With the big motor, you need to stay in 15-20 feet of water.
To learn more about Lake Arkabutla, Driscoll's favorite
crappie-trolling lake near Hernando, Mississippi, go to www.visitmississippi.org,
or call (800) WARMEST. You also can go to www.hernandoms.org
or call the chamber of commerce at (662) 429-9055, or check out the Days
Inn in Hernando at (662) 429-0000, or see www.thedaysinn.com.
TOMORROW: MORE ON POWER TROLLING EQUIPMENT