Cold Crummy Weather Leads Us To Hot Water Crappie!

Man I hate gloomy days. Days that seem to never get warm. Days the weatherman significantly missed the projected hi temp forecast. I just don’t like that type of weather and usually don’t go fishing under those crummy conditions. Yesterday was an exception though. After 5 inches of snow the previous week, I was ready to get the Charger VMAG out and go fishing! I called my buddy Matt Watson from SW Missouri and we decided to try our luck on some new lakes in NW Arkansas.

We started mid morning at Lake Elmdale near Springdale. Not much luck there. We didn’t find any patterns that were easy pickins, so we hopped in the WARM truck and left! Elmdale is probably a very good little lake. We didn’t give it much time. I was itching to try SPWPCO Lake yesterday too, so we didn’t spend much time looking around.

Garmin Livescope showing a Crappie gettin ready to nail a 2″ Black and Chartreuse Crappie Kicker! http://flefly.com

Arrived at SWEPCO boat ramp and the water was steaming! SWEPCO is a power plant Lake so the water is toasty warm year around. (57 degrees yesterday) The rest of the Lakes in our area around NE Oklahoma are cold. Just 41 degrees right now. Luckily, our move paid off. We immediately found some great looking brushpiles. Fortunately for us, they were loaded with young Black Crappie. The Lake has only been recently stocked with Crappie so the average size isn’t very big. Give the fish in there a year or two and SWEPCO is going to be a great Crappie destination with some large Black Crappie. Typically, power plant lakes have above normal growth rates!

Ole’ Pops rigging a Fle Fly Crappie Kicker with SMELLY SMAX. http://flefly.com

Here is our Crappie fishing video from SWEPCO. We show you how we set up and caught our hot water, power plant Crappie using Garmin Livescope, Big Eye jigs, Smelly SMAX and Crappie Kickers.

Crappie Fishing Video From The Outdoors With Ole’ Pops YouTube Channel

The future of Bagged Catfish Bait is here!

The Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets are simply the most user friendly Catfish bait ever produced. Fiber Nuggets can be used on single J hooks, circle hooks or treble hooks. The bait never needs refrigeration. The bags are zip lock resealable. The bait won’t fall apart in hot summertime conditions. It stays on great in current. It is very economical. It can be used in all Lakes, Rivers, Streams, Creeks or Ponds. Blue and Channel Catfish both hit it hard. It doesn’t stick to your hands or create a mess. So, what’s not to love about these Nuggets? Nothing as I’m concerned. They just catch catfish and are easy to use. Period.

Team Catfish Fiber Nugget loaded on a 3/0 Double Action circle hook.

Here is a quick little video I put together that really shows how awesome the Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets really are!

Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets https://teamcatfish.com/shop/fiber-nuggets/

Garmin’s LiveScope is real life gaming for young anglers.

I know I keep writing pieces on LiveScope. I know many anglers are now trying to adjust their skillset to take advantage of LiveScope technology. I know I truly enjoy fishing with LiveScope. I know LiveScope works and has changed certain types of fishing forever. So, could LiveScope fishing be a gateway that introduces more young gamers to fishing?

Owen Williams with a Grand Lake Crappie he caught using Fle Fly fishing tackle. flefly.com

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of introducing my youngest son Owen to some very exciting LiveScope Crappie fishing. I would consider Owen to be a very impressionable sponge and excellent angler at 16. He’s constantly looking for tips and tricks that make him a better fisherman. Also, Owen is excelling at his 10th grade home school program, so he gets earned time off for hard work. Yes he is getting his school work done then enjoying his free time. (What a novel idea!) Owen spends a lot of time Bass fishing in the Spring and Summer and now has aspirations of being a fishing Guide on Grand Lake in NE Oklahoma like his older brother Haydn.

Living in the same household with me and being surrounded by fishermen, Owen has heard me constantly talking about LiveScope with my friends for over a year. Not until recently has Owen had a strong hankering to try it out. On our trip yesterday that all changed when he caught his first 13 inch roaming Crappie “live”. Even though he already loves fishing, I saw him light up with a special kind of excitement when that big Slab trailed his Lemon Pie Crappie Kicker for a few seconds, then hammered it. After a few pics he immediately dropped his lure back down around the brush and started targeting another specific fish. Yep, LiveScope allows you to do that. Now, you can target specific fish in brush piles, around bride piers, on drops or wherever else you see a fish relating to structure. After watching the second fish eat his Kicker live he had the pattern figured out and was completely engaged while watching Crappie on the LiveScope screen.

16 year old Owen Williams with a heavy Grand Lake Crappie he caught while using Garmin LiveScope.

So my question is. Could Garmin be utilizing it’s technology to try and introduce more kids into fishing? I personally feel like introducing LiveScope in certain situations would get more youngsters involved. If kids can see the fish “live” they have a very intriguing target. And we all know nowadays quite a few kids spend countless hours setting in front of video screens gaming. Why not try and persuade some of those young gamers to try some real life fish gaming? In all reality that’s exactly what anglers are doing out there with LiveScope. Yes it’s still fishing, but being able to target them live is a lot like seeking out an individual enemy on mortal combat. The comparisons are very real, think about it… I also think we are in the infancy stages with technologies like these. As more advancements are made and pricing goes down the opportunity to introduce many youngsters to this type of fish gaming is real. We as experienced anglers need to embrace this idea and utilize LiveScope as a tool to do so. Garmin needs to open it’s creative idea box and start focusing on ways to use LiveScope to get more kids involved in fishing. I have plenty of ideas in how this can be accomplished and I’ll discuss those in a different story. I just know what I’ve seen from personal experiences and how it’s probably changed my sons way of thinking forever now too.

Ole’ Pops with a late Winter Crappie caught in his Charger VMAG on Grand Lake. ChargerBoats.com

Grand Lake Fishing Report 2/1/20

From GrandFishingReport.com

196 Charger VMAG on the boat ramp at Shangri La on Grand Lake chargerboats.com

Put the Charger VMAG in at Shangri-La Marina on Grand Lake in NE Oklahoma yesterday around mid morning with my buddy Blair. Went out looking for some Bluecats and Crappie. We caught some nice cats around the Coves and Goat Island.

Blair Philbrick with a great Blue Catfish caught on a deep Grand Lake dropoff teamcatfish.com

Then, got a hot tip from my son Owen around 3:30 about some hungry Crappie in a brush pile. We put the cat rods up and headed down lake to meet him. Ended up with 10 Crappie on black/chartreuse Crappie Kickers. They were in 25 ft.

Great Crappie caught on Grand Lake using a Fle Fly Crappie Kicker. flefly.com

Water is very muddy down lake right now. Back of Duck and Drowning creeks are still clear. Water temps 41 to 44 depending on location. Bazillions of shad suspended in the main lake around 15 ft which is typical for higher than normal muddy water. #olepops #teamcatfish #fleflytackle #chargervmag #grandlakeoklahoma

Developing a Crappie fishing rod specifically for Garmin’s LiveScope in forward view.

Ole’ Pops with is first ever” Camel” caught using a Fle Fly SR20 spinning reel and a prototype livescope fishing rod.

About 6 months ago at a business meeting I was introduced to a fairly new Oklahoma Crappie fishing guide named Josh Jones. As most relationships start, Josh was introduced to Wohali Outdoors (my Fle Fly Panfish Brand manufacturing business partners) by an owners friend. Friend of a friend deal…..Ya know – The owners friend knew about the Fle Fly brand being heavily involved in Panfish and Crappie tackle. He had also been very impressed with Josh on a recent guide trip for Crappie. So he set up the meeting and brought Josh into office to discuss a new idea that he had for a very specific fishing rod used when LiveScoping big Crappie. Josh and his friend knew Fle Fly and Wohali had a long history of building fishing rods so they felt like we “as tackle manufactures” might be a good option to listen Josh’s idea. The unique rod was something Josh felt like he needed to be more successful and felt if built correctly, could also make other Crappie anglers much more successful. Collectively all of us at Wohalli Outdoors discussed the fishing guides idea and business opportunity then decided to move forward. We all know quality manufacturing + good ideas = Good Fishing Synergy

I was vaguely familiar with Josh since I’m heavily involved in sporting goods and because I had seen pics of massive Crappie Josh and his clients had caught in and around Oklahoma. These pics were circulating from his Josh Jones Pro Fisherman business page. Josh and my son oldest Haydn had a little correspondence on social media too, probably since Haydn is a fairly new Crappie guide in Oklahoma as well. So going into the meeting we had a basic understanding of what Josh’s capabilities probably were. After listening to him tell us what his very specific long rod needs were, we decided to try and build a LiveScope rod that Josh was happy with. Using his input, we sent length measurements, action specifics and appearance suggestions to our trusted fishing rod manufacturers.

Josh Jones with a “Camel” Crappie he caught using a Crappie Kicker and Livescope

So yesterday, 6 months into the project later we decided to meet and try out the new Fle Fly/Josh Jones LiveScope rod prototypes. Let me just say though – 36 degrees, cloudy and windy are not Ole’ Pops favorite fishing conditions. Historically these are the kinds of conditions that have made for some long, tough fishing days on the water for me. Plus, I’m kinda wimpy anymore. Fair weather fisherman and all. But Josh insisted these are the very best days to LiveScope the shallows for HUGE Crappie. Why crummy days like this you ask? Well time on the water and experience has taught him these were the best days primarily because he targets underwater structure in water 12 ft or shallower. Josh says the fish don’t sense the boat is closing in on them as quickly with all the wind waves. The fish don’t see the boat shadow as easily because of the cloud cover plus the Crappie are shallower due to the same cloud cover. Another big factor is theres usually no other Crappie anglers on the water bumping your boat and competing for the best locations to fish.

Other than my face freezing on the short boat ride out to his spot, the fishing was simply amazing. Josh uses the slang term “Camel” for the massive crappie he catches and boy howdy, that dude can catch the Camels with LiveScope! Josh has gotten very prolific using Garmin’s LiveScope equipment on forward view. For over a year now he has honed his video game like skills operating the trolling motor with one foot, watching the LiveScope with one eye and his rod tip with the other. This type of fishing in the wind is fast and furious. Quite possibly better suited for folks with snappy reflexes and excellent balance. Falling out of the front of the boat while chasing shallow roaming crappie is a real possibility too. Josh whips the nose of the boat quickly left to right and in circles with 112 volt motor set at 75 to 100% most of the time. Bump one log and SPLASH! Jus’ sayn’……If you go with Josh…..life vest recommended y’all! After watching Josh I’m thinking, “I don’t think my generation played enough video games as kids, to be this coordinated in front of a sonar computer screen!” The boat is constantly moving in the wind. The beam on the LiveScope in forward view is very narrow and attached to the trolling motor, thats moving under foot power. Just keeping your Crappie Kicker or minnow in the beam at 6 to 14 ft in front of you while adjusting the foot pedal for the drifting boat is brutal enough. Then toss in a quick moving shallow water roaming crappie and you have real problems. Sneaking up on big Crappie with LiveScope in forward view on calmer days can be accomplished by the average dude. But I’m warning you, this technique on windy days requires acquired skills buddy! The kind a tightrope walker going at in the wind has.

Yesterday we tried prototype rods from 11 to 14ft. I brought side cutters and actually cut some of the prototypes down to find the exact action and power he liked. Once we got that done I spooled a SR20 Fle Fly spinning reel with some of his 20 lb. braid then tied on a white 1/8 oz. Big Eye jig head and coupled it with a 2.5 inch Monkey Milk Crappie Kicker. The prototype rod, line, lure and reel combo worked like magic on Josh’s Camels! After catching several “Camels” myself between 2 and 2.9 lbs. I had a better idea of what kind of rod it takes to do this new fishing technique at a high level. And why Josh came to us with very specific rod requirements.

Oklahoma Crappie fishing guide Josh Jones and Jeff Williams “Ole’ Pops” with some giant wintertime Crappie caught using LiveScope

So as a crappie fishing fanatic and tackle designer I feel like we are well on our way at to creating a tremendous LiveScope fishing rod. I appreciate all Joh’s input and I am looking forward to watching his clients land more Camels with the rod we create. Here is a video of Josh using a Crappie Kicker, Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope and our prototype rod to land massive Oklahoma Crappies!

Developing a Livescope Crappie fishing rod with guide Josh Jones

http://flefly.com http://olepops.com

How I used Garmin LiveScope to catch Catfish!

Catfish on LiveScope surrounding my Fiber Nuggets as I drift down the Grand River.

Gang……

Let me just say, I have caught a lot of catfish in my days. Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish and Flathead Catfish. Years ago I guided clients to catch Catfish. I’ve used rod and reel, jugline, trotline, bankline, bankpole and limblines to catch Catfish. I’ve caught Catfish that weighed up weighed 80 lbs. My family grew up catching Catfish. I started the Team Catfish tackle brand in 2007. I’ve been in newspapers, magazines, and on TV shows catching Catfish. I’ve won Catfish tournaments on several bodies of water across the US. I’ve produced quite a few videos catching Catfish from numerous places across the US. I have great friends that are Catfish Guides and Catfish Tournament anglers. I also have 47,000 subscribers at the Team Catfish YouTube Channel, 169,000 fans on the Team Catfish Facebook business page and have 12,000 Instagram followers at the Team Catfish profile…..like I said before, I have caught a lot of Catfish……..

Some of my earliest memories of catching Catfish are on Grand Lake in NE Oklahoma. My brother Tim and I fished with my Grandma on our dock at Monkey Island. We didn’t have very much to fish with then either. Good fishing gear like we have now was non existent for a country kid in Oklahoma. I’ m sure somewhere, someone had nice equipment, but it wasn’t us. That was back in the days when we used steel bait casters with no cast control, solid fiberglass rods and black braided dacron as line. We fished with whatever equipment we could get our hands on and we fished with whatever bait we could find or catch. We fished off the bank and off the dock. I had access to my Grandparents fiberglass paddleboat that I fished off of, but my legs were the motor.

Summertime Drifting the Grand River in my Charger Vmag for Catfish using Garmin LiveScope and Fiber Nuggets.

Not in my wildest dreams as a youngster might I of conjured up a crazy idea like a contraption that allowed me to see a fish strike under water, in real time. Such thoughts would of been ridiculous and senseless back then. We’re talking way out there like going to Mars. Jump forward 40 years and holy moly we now have technology like Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope. I can now see Catfish and other types of fish swimming and watch them hit my bait “live”. Yep Live. Like actually see the fish hit at the same time you feel the strike. This technology is really beyond amazing. It’s truly revolutionary and yes I really, really enjoy using it. As I’ve watched LiveScope this year I’ve learned a lot about my whiskered friends roaming around down there too. It so cool to watch them on approach and attack baits like the Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets.

So, if you have time and are interested this is one of the very first “LiveScope Catfish videos” ever put on YouTube or the World Wide Web. You’ll see why I’m excited about this fish catching technology and what I’m talking about when you see a Catfish rise up off the bottom and eat a Fiber Nugget “Live”.

Thanks for watching and Good Luck out there –

Ole’ Pops

Learn how to use LiveScope, DownView and GPS to catch more Crappie!

Garmin 93sv linked with Garmin Panoptix Livescope showing Crappie around brush.

Howdy Gang….

Todays lesson might cost you some $$$ if you don’t already have these type of fish finders on your boat, but after you see this video, I think you’ll agree this is the future for many freshwater Crappie, Catfish, Walleye and White Bass anglers!

These 3 steps and technologies can make average anglers look like seasoned professionals. Limits of Crappies, Bass and Catfish are now easier to get than ever before. The best thing is these steps are not hard to learn. ALSO…..the fishing electronics technology used today by many top anglers is growing more and more affordable. This puts todays top fishing electronics within reach of the weekend warriors fishing budget!

Anglers have an unbelievable trove of tools available at their fingertips today from multiple brands. GPS, DownScan, SideView and color Chirp sonar are better than ever and offered in a lot of variations from leading brands at retail locations and boat dealers across America. The one real standout in 2019 for me was the advancement of Garmins’s LiveScope. At the current time I believe Garmin is way ahead of other popular fishing electronics brands “live style technologies”. I was so confident in this technology that I rigged my new 196 Charger VMAG multi species fishing boat completely in Garmin units. (Also, for the record I am not sponsored by Garmin.)

Sometime in the future I might write another piece about how LiveScope has changed my type of shallow freshwater Crappie fishing forever, but for now I’m just extremely happy that it’s available to use. I’ve learned a lot more about the species I enjoy fishing for with LiveScope and I’m definitely a lot more successful per outing.

Here’s a video on how I use GPS, DownView and Garmin LiveScope in unison to catch limits of Slab Crappie.

https://youtu.be/4CFA5m8ItuU

http://flefly.com http://chagerboats.com http://olepops.com

Am I nuts or just a true fan?

I’ve been a Kansas City Chiefs fan my entire life. Some very intelligent folks have questioned that decision through the years because KC hasn’t been to the Superbowl since 1969. That was 1 season before I was born. 🤦‍♂️

Over the years, internally, I have of grappled with the idea of continuing to cheer for a looser. Yep, looser. Unless you win the superbowl, your favorite team has lost that season. Harsh isn’t it… Constantly rooting for a looser isn’t smart, is it? It’s painful. It’s aggravating. It’s mind blowingly frustrating and a bunch of other adjectives and just it plain sucks when your team crashes and burns again. WTH is wrong with me meanders through my thoughts as I see the scoreboard go the wrong way again. Am I a glutton for punishment? Is there something a little whacky going on inside here? Those demons are real, if your a true fan.

So, with that all out in the open now, I think being a real, honest to god, no BS, unwavering fan of any sport team is nearly impossible for one’s desperate soul to separate with. I know as badly as I told myself a few times in the off-season I might consider rooting for another team, there was just no way possible for me to do that. The hype and the hope of next season always drew me back in. Last weeks 1st quarter against the Texans just about did me in y’all. But even during times like that there burns that little glimmer of hope, that only true fans really have.

It’s kinda ironic that I’m writing this as the Chiefs prep for the AFC championship game tomorrow. I think the Chiefs success with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid over the last 2 seasons has caused me to reflect on many of my no so pleasant lifelong KC Chief memories. Could the law of averages be in play here? Could it be our time? Could I finally be rooting for a winner this season? Well, I’m not sure, but I do know as hard as I might try I’ll probably die a Chiefs fan, and there’s nothing I’m ever gonna be able to do about it. I know many other fans like this too. Friends and family from past and present, that as hard as they try, could never cheer for someone else.

I’ve often wondered what causes this team loyalty mentality in the subconscious. It’s just freakn weird y’all. Do you have an answer? Are you a true fan of a sports team? If so, who is it and how long have you been welded to a team that regardless of their winning abilities is still your favorite?

#kansascitychiefs #sportsfan #truefan #olepops

http://chiefs.com http://olepops.com

Big Catfish live on deep ledges at Grand Lake in Oklahoma!

Hope y’all like the video! It was fun putting this together a few weeks ago! Since I was building videos long before I started to blog, I will be going backwards from time to time sharing videos and photos from the past! Good news is much of this repurposed hunting and fishing content still relevant in today’s outdoors! #catfishing #wintertimebluecatfish #teamcatfish #chargervmag #grandlakeoklahoma #shangrilaokrresort #grandfishingreport http://olepops.com http://teamcatfish.com http://grandfishingreport.com http://shangrilaok.com