While slipping and sliding across my nearly frozen front yard this morning, the thought crossed my mind that this can't be Florida. I hunkered down in my truck and prayed that the heat would kick on before the feeling in my fingers vanished. With the temperature plummeting like a star from the sky, one may wonder what about the fishing? Is it even worth it to sit out in the cold throwing a line, to what must be freezing fish? They surely aren't going to bite anything in these conditions. Wrong!
If hailing from the Northern states one will be familiar with the term "crappie", but around here we call them "specs". When a cold front arrives, so do these powerful little fish. With the temperatures in the low 40s, a buddy of mine joined me on a fishing trip just yesterday to try and catch a few of the allusive specs. We bundled up in many layers (which is the way to go when fishing) and loaded our ten foot jon boat into a truck bed. We hit up a local lake (any lake, pond, reservoir, or river will do) and began our fishing.
We had purchased 1/4 lb. of small minnows from a bait and tackle store leaving us with a bill of $9.67, after we purchased the smallest hooks we could find. Hooking the minnow through the eyes ( they stay alive that way, and hey, maybe they can't see the mouth of the fish too!) and placing a small cork on my line, I began to pitch my minnow in towards the shoreline. This process went on for an estimated hour and a half with only a few measly bites. Much to my dismay the minnows seemed not only to be a waste of money, but also a waste of time.
Deciding this method was not our best way to catch fish, we decided to troll across the middle of the lake to reach the other side, and hope for better luck. While trolling, I threw out a 1/16 ounce pink jig head with a white tail, just for kicks and giggles. To my amazement my pole nearly doubled over within the first minute my bait was in the water. After a short fight, I had boated our first spec of the evening.
Having found the pattern we continued to troll through the middle of the lake with these jigs, and the fish may as well have jumped in the boat. Spec after spec bit our pink jigs, and it made for an exciting evening of fishing. So when going out spec fishing be sure to keep trying new things, and hop on those specs soon, for these weather fronts are the prime time to catch them!
Specs are quite the fish to catch, and can make for an exciting day. I give the degree of difficulty a two stars out of 5, so the youngsters would easily be able to have a ball catching these fish. They are also extremely good table fair. I give them a strong 3 out of 5 stars for their edibility. The world record spec weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs 14 ounces. The regulations that are put on specs are, 25 per person per day. So enjoy a fun day of fishing with the family, and remember if you think it's too cold, when it comes to spec fishing: the colder the better!