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Spires: Memories of speckled-perch fishing
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Spires: Memories of speckled-perch fishing

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I have a couple of friends that are big speckled-perch (some folks call them crappie) fishermen. They love this time of year, when it starts to get colder, and the water temperature starts cooling down.

When I was growing up, we fished for them; basically all we did was change to a larger hook and fished with minnows instead of worms. Today that speckled-perch fishing is a whole new game.

I first got acquainted with big time speck fishing when I lived on Lake Seminole near Jack Wingate’s Lodge. He held one of the first “crappie” tournaments in this part of the country.

“It is gonna be as big as bass fishing,” I remember Jack telling me. I didn’t see how that could be, when all you need is a cane pole and a minnow to catch them.

Boy, was I wrong. It is a huge thing now with specially built boats and all kinds of accessories, like depth finders, GPS guided trolling motors, water-temperature gauges and a host of artificial bait.

Now there are specially built rods and reels made specifically for crappie.

Who would have thought such a thing?

I see them on Lake Talquin all the time, cruising along with five or six rigs hanging over the side of the boat in those stainless-steel outriggers they use. They look like shrimp trawlers in the Gulf to me, not fishing boats in the lake.

I remember once, while I was still in high school, going speck fishing with my dad and Jimmy Young, one of my high school friends.

It was a cool day and we had about five dozen minnows in the boat.

Back then there were still a lot of submerged trees in Lake Talquin, and we pulled into the middle of a large group of those treetops to fish.

My dad had a cane pole and Jimmy and I had reel and rods. We caught about 70 fish that afternoon with those 60 minnows. It didn’t matter if the minnow was dead or alive, they would bite it.

My dad talked about that trip right up until he passed away.

I’ve had that happen a few times over the years. It was always fun to find the right spot and catch them like that.

Today it is so high tech that it seems more like trapping them than catching them. In my thoughts it’s the fun of getting on a bed of fish, then catching a mess, rather than riding up and down the lake on a $30,000 rig.

Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at byronspires51@gmail.com.

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