Larry's Fishing Hole

Crappie Knockin' at Reelfoot Lake
By: The late Jim (Jimbo) Nelson

To all my Crappie Knockin' Friends:
Well, my annual trip to Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee didn't get off to a very enjoyable start. I had planned to go with my youngest son, David, and use his boat but the day before we were to leave we found that his motor wouldn't run. We took it to the marine shop and found that he had major problems so we left the boat there. At that point we started preparing my boat and luckily we found everything to be operational. That is until we arrived at the lake!! We had planned to leave on Friday, April 7th but we didn't get to go until Monday, April 10th. When we arrived at the resort around 1 p.m. we found that my trolling motor had died since the last time I had used it. We did everything we knew how to do to no avail. So...we took a trip to Union City and found a new one for $400! We took it back and mounted it on the boat and by then it was 5 p.m. so we didn't get a chance to fish at all that day.
The next morning, Tuesday, we launched the boat and found that my outboard would not run!! So...we messed with it a while and finally got it running. Boy, you talk about frustrated!! My son and I were quickly reaching the "boiling" point. But we finally got on the water around 7 am on Tues. and fished all day and the two of us brought in about 45 real nice slab crappies. They were starting to spawn as some of the females were dripping eggs as we pulled them from the water and it seemed like we could drop right back in and catch her male mate in nearly the same spot. These were all white crappie but the males were all beautifully colored in their spawn colors. There were 4 boats fishing in our group and every one brought in between 40-75 fish. That night we cleaned somewhere around 220 crappie and bream.
The next day we went out and we found the crappie in the lily pads just as we had the day before. Its very slow fishing in the pads, but it IS VERY productive. We were in 2-4 ft. of water and we would just bounce our jig right on the bottom in those spaces between the pads. We would pick up 2 or 3 or 4 and then we wouldn't get a bite for 1/2 hour or so but we were persistent and once again came in with 45-50 large crappie and bream. All the boats did very well that day also and we dressed about the same number of fish as the day before.
My motor acted up again on the 2nd day and we were kind of limited to where we could go for about 3 hours but then the good Lord smiled on us and our problem disappeared!! It ran fine the rest of the trip.
Thursday was probably the best day of fishing for my son David and I. We found the crappie in the Cypress Trees in an area that I have always loved to fish. We floated from tree to tree in an area about 1/4 mile long and had 32 nice slabs by noon. We went in and took a short break and got a sandwich, and returned to the very same spot that we started in that morning. We fished the same trees again and had the same great results. We went in that night with 57 extremely nice crappie and bream. My son, David, caught the largest crappie of his life it going slightly over 2 lbs. That night we dressed near to 300 crappie and bream.
All the fish were extremely nice and guess that any group of 20 crappie would probably weigh 18-25 lbs. Now that is SUPER fishing!! We all had a great time, a lot of laughs, a lot of good food, and a lot of great fish from beautiful Reelfoot Lake, TN.
When I pulled my boat out to come home this morning, I found that my troubles were not over, finding that I had broken off the better part of 2 of the blades on my prop. Just one of the hazards of fishing Reelfoot Lake. I think thatís the 6th prop that I have destroyed in a little over 35 years of fishing on that lake, but that won't keep me from going back! I'll keep on returning till the day I die! They may even find me dead in my boat there someday but it couldn't happen at a more beautiful place! Those of you who have fished Reelfoot already know what a beautiful place it is and what a great fish producer it is. And those of you who have not been there, get there and start "KNOCKIN"! Our most productive jig on the trip was Jimboís Jigs 1/32 oz. #6 red/chartreuse knocker with silver sparkletail and a chartreuse head, check us out at
So we will be looking for those orders to be pouring in ... oh and don't forget to visit Boyettes' Family Restaurant if you get the chance to go there. There is no better food on the face of this earth...I am not saying it is healthy, but it sure does taste good!!! And any of you that need a place to stay while visiting Reelfoot, I recommend Southshore Resort in Samburg, TN. Owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Rick Spicer. Just tell Rick that Jim Nelson sent ya and he will take good care of you! They have all the facilities to make your trip a success. It is a family run resort complete with restaurant, motel, lodges, cabins, boat dock, bait shop and fish cleaning house. There is no finer resort on that lake!
Your Jig buddy,
Jimbo the 'ol Crappie Knocker!

-- Great Story -- THANKS Jim and we all will miss you --

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