The Eastern Buckeye Crappie Club was started 6 years ago for the crappie anglers of Eastern Ohio. The club was organized by President Tim Rickey of Tippecanoe, Ohio. Tim claims the club fishes a number of great crappie lakes from Kentucky all the way up to Lake Erie. We caught up with Tim at his embroidery/screen printing shop to ask him about the club.
Question: Tim, what motivated you to start a crappie fishing club in eastern Ohio and what has the response been like?
Rickey: For me, personally, I love to crappie fish and so do a lot of other people in this part of the state. At the time, this area had several bass clubs, saugeye clubs, even catfish clubs but no crappie clubs. When the club was organized we also included a tournament trail to give anglers a place to compete. We fish 6 tournaments in the spring, 3 – 4 tournaments in the fall and also hold our Classic in the fall. Currently we have about 50 members and we are seeing our numbers grow by about 10% each year as more crappie anglers find out about us.
Question: Which lakes do you fish your tournaments on and can you describe what the crappie fishing is like?
Rickey: Our tournament trail fishes a total of nine lakes all within the Muskingum Water Shed. There’s Clendening, Tappan, Dillon, Piedmont, West Branch, Charles Mills, Leesville, Mosquito, and Seneca. All of these are manmade lakes and average about 1500 acres each. The lakes have about a 50/50 mix of both black and white crappie. Our lakes are all about 40-50 years old and have some standing timber left in them. I’d guess the average depths are 15 – 20 feet with a few going deeper.
The Ohio DNR regulations only permit two poles per angler so that limits the amount of spider rigging or trolling that we can do. A lot of our guys use a single pole to jig around wood cover to catch crappie. Some of this cover may be fish attractors put out by the ODNR and there’s a good bit of deep water shoreline structure around the ends of blow-down trees.
One thing that that we hope will really improve our crappie fisheries now and into the future are regulations enacted last March by the ODNR. A 9 inch minimum size limit on crappie was established on over 60 of our major lakes. At the same time, a creel limit, which we’ve never had before for crappie, was also enacted allowing 30 crappie per angler per day.
Question: You list B’n’M Poles as a major sponsor of your organization. What has it been like working with B’n’M?
Rickey: B’n’M IS our major sponsor and we could not have grown like we have without them. Our tournaments are not super big money pay-outs but the B’n’M prize money has encouraged more anglers to fish in our tournaments and that has really helped our club grow. B’n’M supports us and we support them. It is a requirement that in order to win the B’n’M prize money, crappie must be caught using B’n’M products. Not only that, a lot of our guys now understand that they can catch more fish using B’n’M Poles, especially when they learn how.
Question: What B’n’M products are the most popular with your club?
Rickey: The Brush Cutter is a big hit around here. It’s a great jigging or dipping pole and a lot of our guys who used to fish with shorter rods are coming to realize that they catch more and better crappie with a longer rod. A lot of our lakes are getting clearer and by staying away from the structure, there’s less chance of bumping into the standing timber and spooking fish. It’s also a very sensitive rod for deep vertical jigging around the edges of creek channels which is what we do now - right after the ice clears off the lakes.
B’n’M Poles is proud to sponsor the Eastern Buckeye Crappie Club. To learn more about the club, visit their website at www.easternbuckeyecrappieclub.com