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The Crappie King Of Mississippi!

Aug 17, 2007
The day I caught my first fish was a day the fish weren't biting. At least that's what my Uncle Jake said and Uncle Jake knew everything there was to know about fishing. In my 12 year old mind; he was the Crappie King of Mississippi!

Uncle Jake lived about 40 miles from Tupelo and fishing was his passion. Some folks with no appreciation of the art of leisure living called him lazy, but even back then I knew he had to be a shrewd business man. How else would he have been able to have others do the work for him while he went fishing? In fact, from my vantage point as a kid, he fished far more than he worked, but still maintained a beautiful farm with cows, pigs and horses! He was my hero!

Most of the men in my dad's family were go-getters and worked from first light to well past dark. No mandatory overtime here. They were farmers and worked in the fields from daylight to dark. Not Uncle Jake! He was an early riser and more likely than not he would eat breakfast, feed the cows, throw his boat in the back of his old truck and head to the lake. One year, just after school was out for the summer, my parents let me spend a week with Uncle Jake and my cousins.

Now Uncle Jake had a reputation for knowing where every crappie, bluegill and catfish in his part of northern Mississippi lived and what they would want for dinner on any particular day. These fish were his specialty and fishing for them was more than just a sport to him; it was a competition with himself and everyone else!

We reached Grenada Lake early that morning when the mist was still on the lake and the sound of loons could be heard in the distance. We lifted the flat aluminum boat out of the truck and carried it to the water. Uncle Jake attached the 7 horsepower outboard motor he'd had in the truck. Except for a few things we'd brought for lunch all we had to carry to the boat was a bait bucket. It held a hundred or so minnows that Uncle Jake had dipped out of his own bait tank that he had made out of an old concrete watering trough that the cows weren't using any more.

We pushed out into the water and Uncle Jake pushed the throttle of the little motor wide open and we went skimming across the surface of that huge lake as if there were demons chasing us! Grenada Lake at that time was only about 15 years old. Woods and fields that had been there over a decade before, now were covered with water. Tree tops poked through the surface of the water and logs posed navigational hazards to all those who wandered into the part of the lake that we intended to fish!

These obstacles didn't slow down Uncle Jake. Once we bounced over the top of a log and broke the shear pin on the propeller. No problem! He simply reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out another pin, pulled the motor up and with a pair of wire pliers, took out the broken pin and inserted the new one. He started the motor and once again we were rocketing across the lake.

In a short while Uncle Jake shut down the engine and unwound two long cane poles. He showed me how to grab a minnow and how to put him on the hook. We were ready to start fishing!

Quietly now, we changed positions in the boat, with me at the bow. He eased the boat into a large tree top sticking up out of the water. He showed me how to lower my minnow close to one of the branches and watch the bobber for a bite. Immediately it was jerked under water! I jerked back and on the end of my line was a beautiful silver and black fish. A crappie!

Uncle Jake was happy for me as he put my fish on the stringer. I baited up again and lowered my minnow into the tree top. Ziinnnng! The bobber went under the surface again. This time the fighting was a little more intense because the crappie was quite a bit bigger. Uncle Jake added my fish to the other one on the stringer.

Unfortunately he hadn't even had a bite on his end of the boat. By this time he was muttering to himself as I baited my hook and lowered the minnow into the water. I brought up a third fish and I heard my uncle muttering something about the fish not biting today.

As I brought up my fourth large crappie, I heard the motor start. Uncle Jake hit the throttle hard and yelled at me over the noise. "They're not biting here. We're going somewhere else. Uncle Jake didn't like coming in second best!
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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