For the second year in a row, B’n’M pro staffer Whitey Outlaw and his partner Mike Parrot won the Crappie Masters Alabama State Championship in Millbrook, Al on March 18 & 19
Despite rapidly changing water levels and a poor start on Day 1, the Toyota Tundra team rebounded with an impressive Day 2 to win the tournament.
Outlaw claims that carbon copy conditions from last year’s Alabama event allowed them to repeat their win this year.
Tight lining with straight minnows and minnow jig combinations was the ticket for Outalw’s back to back wins.
Question: Whitey, what happened on the first day of fishing that made the tournament so tough for you?
Outlaw: I never had a bite on my side of the boat all day long. That’s never happened before. Parrot had only nine bites all day and we missed three of them. We only brought 6 fish to the scales but they were pretty decent ones, enough to give us a 9.71 weight and keep us in the tournament. The water was way up due to all the rains the week before and that jumped the water level up nearly 8 feet. That was what made it so tough to get bites.
Question: What changed on Day 2 to allow the two of you to make such a drastic turn-around?
Outlaw: They started dropping the water level. The water came down about 18 inches on Day 2. We had been fishing this shallow flat off of a side creek that emptied into the river and when the water came down, it moved all the fish off the flat and into a little drainage ditch that ran through it. Day 2 was like fishing a bream bed, as soon as we’d put a bait in that ditch, the rod would go down. The bite cut off before lunch as the water dropped further but by then, we had what we needed.
Question: How was this win different from last year’s win here in Alabama?
Outlaw: No difference at all. In fact, it was almost a carbon copy of how we fished last year and how we won. We even fished the same identical creek. Last year there was bad weather before the event, the water got high and muddy and then they started dropping the water during the tournament.
Question: What tactic did you use to win this event?
Outlaw: We tight-lined out of the front of the boat. That’s about all we ever do unless it’s a single pole tournament. We used some straight minnows on a Capps & Colman minnow rig and others we used a Bobby Garland Minno Mind’R jig tipped with a minnow. Parrot was rigged the same way only he was using some Crappie Pro jigs tipped with minnows. All of our rods were 16 foot B’n’M jig poles rigged with Vicious line, the 10 pound panfish line.
Question: Is the better fishing on the Alabama River typically in one of the side creeks or sloughs off the river?
Outlaw: Not really. There are better fish in the river itself. I came down about 2 weeks early and fished every day till the tournament started and I found fish all over the river and in the side areas. There’s two dams on the Alabama River about 60 miles apart and are used for flood control The problem is when they run that water out of one of the dams, the current is too strong to fish in the river itself and you have to get out of the current. That’s why we went back to the creek where we won last year. It’s just off the main river and runs back bout a half mile but it widens out toward the back. The back of the creek is loaded with stumps. As the water fell, we could see those stumps and everything played into our hands.
Question: It seems a little unusual to be using jig poles for tight-lining. What’s the reason behind using the BGJP’s over one of B’n’M’s trolling rods?
Outlaw: Both the Pro-Staff trolling rods and the Capps & Coleman trolling rods are great for tight-lining, especially when you have to use a little weight to keep the line straight down in the water. But for shallow water and medium depths, I really like the Buck’s Graphite Jig Poles. The BGJP was designed as a jig pole and it’s a darn good one, but when you’re tight-lining in shallow water, not using a whole lot of weight, it can’t be beat. The lighter graphite makes it a lot more sensitive, which means you can detect bites better. It’s limber at the tip so the crappie feel less resistance. That’s a major plus because a crappie can suck that bait in, feel the resistance from a stiffer pole, and spit the bait out faster than you can reach over and grab the rod. With these jig poles, the fish is half way under the boat with the hook already stuck in him before he knows what hit him. Under conditions like we had this past week-end, that spells the difference between winning the tournament and going home empty-handed.
Tournament winners and B’n’M Poles go hand-in-hand. To find out more about B’n’M’s great lineup of the crappie-catchingest rods on the market, including the Buck’s Graphite Jig Pole, visit our website at www.bnmpoles.com