With crappie fishing knocking at our door, it
is well to remember that the little minnow that moves is much more attractive
to Ol’ Papermouth.
That is not to say, that a small minnow that produces
hardly more than a wiggle will not take fish. They certainly will. What
I am saying is that the angler who raises his rod tip periodically tends
to take more fish, because crappies like bait (live or artificial) that
is falling in the water.
That is what pumping the rod tip lightly (sharper
movements . . . even jigging) does to artificial lures. Crappies will take
bait that is falling much more readily than one that is rising, I believe.
But they are more apt to take a small minnow if it is doing more than sitting
with a slight wiggle. Larger minnows--say a couple of inches long--are
strong enough to show more movement and they still will take crappies.
Generally, though, the angler who gives small
minnows a bit of up-and-down movement will take more fish than the one
who casts out his bait, sits on his bucket (five gallon variety) and watches
as wave action is the only movement his minnow gets.
Even tight-lining is a good way to take crappies
if the angler is aware of water depth and see-saws his bait (live or artificial)
in an up-down manner at several depths.
As a kid, on a solo camping-fishing-hunting trip
to an old bayou, I learned first-hand that movement of bait is the key
It was late afternoon and I had yet to get something
for the skillet and supper. Standing on a high bank near my campsite, I
was fishing with my flyrod outside the edge of a bed of lily pads across
the way with a bobber and piece of night crawler for bait.
Soon my bobber came off the catgut leader and
I was flipping the bait (without sinker) over the bobber and trying to
pull it to a point I could reach. As the piece of crawler rose and fell
in my attempts to snare the bobber, the line suddenly tightened and I was
hooked to a crappie . . . pan size. Another cast, this one forgetting the
bobber, and the crappie’s mate took the piece of crawler.
As the two fish sizzled over an open fire, the
“movement theory” solidified in my mind. I still use it.
have been watching a pair of downy woodpeckers going through their mating
ritual for several days, along with a third party that is presumably another
suitor for the female’s attention.
One male seems to be the favorite in these goings
on, but occasionally a second male enters the picture.
The principals flit about from one spot in the
trees to another, but always only a few inches apart and always very cognizant
of each other, but oblivious to all else around them.
A friend asks me how you separate the male of
the downy from the female. It seems that male and female look very much
alike, except the male has a small red patch on the back side of the head.
The hairy is, of course, larger and has a longer bill, but is otherwise
a carbon copy of the downy.