By: Tom “CrappieTom” Sawvell
How many of you have heard your
mother or sister or wife talking
with a friend maybe about a
wedding or some day plans and
ask each other, “so, what are you
going to wear”?. If you are like me
you think to yourself ( trust me, it
is wise to think this to yourself for
real, too! ), “good God woman its
only an hour long procedure to
marry off that fool, so whats is
wrong with jeans and a ‘I hate
weddings’ T-shirt?”. It seems that
women can put more thought into
dressing than into practicality. After years of making my
thoughts verbal and more years of learning how to keep my
thoughts to myself, I just shake my head and walk away any
This same sort of scenario is posed upon each of us, though,
when we hit the water….”What are you going to start with
today?”. This is a very valid question and , unlike the one your
wife asks her companions, one you cannot walk away from if
you want to start the day off with some modicum of success.
So…..what is the tag end of your line going to wear?
When I hit the drink I look at a number of things. Is the
weather in a stable pattern? What were the fish hot on the last
time? What is different about today than the last time? Is the
water warmer? Did a color or profile pattern emerge that last
trip out that might be a place to begin? I think of a ton of
things. And then I do the obvious….I go to what was the best
producer the last time out, regardless of the changes in
weather and water. Why? I have to start somewhere and, sort
of like the clothes issue, I don’t like to think about it that much.
I’d rather just fish….and let them tell me what to use.
If the weather has been relatively stable, profile and size
issues are going to be stable too. Changes in the color and
retrieve are going to be your biggest challenge. I always go
back to the presentation I was doing well on the last trip out.
Once you find the fish and determine what they are like
“bite-wise”, lots of variable can be employed.
Like those decisions that women belabor themselves with
regarding dress, anglers too are going to be faced with some
decision making challenges and maybe the biggest is going to
deal with color, after it has been established what the fish
want profile and action -wise. Any one ever seen their wife
change clothes when company comes because some else is
wearing a color that is close to what wifie originally had on?
The rational is that with two women in the same room (more
like city block) with ALMOST the same color of clothing is just
too much color for that small of an area. The same will apply
to fishing. Especially crappies being fished in a tight area. If
too much of a certain color of plastic is working a school of
them, they will get wary of that color quickly. So I do what I
have learned from the girls….I change colors…..often. And I
usually stay in the fish.
I don’t like to hammer on one spot with one color for a long
time. I will fish it with one color, change color and then leave
the spot after a bit. But I will come back to the spot later and
do the whole color change thing again. Sometimes I can do
this using just two colors all day. Sometimes I have to change
up the colors four or five times.
I fish heavily stained water and my favorite of all baits ,
regardless of profile or action, will have purple body and
chartreuse tail. And my favorite is based on what’s working for
me at the time. If it worked three days ago, I will start with that
as long as it has purple and chartreuse in it. But I will not stay
stuck on this color pattern if I do not get into fish within 10
minutes. Those who have fished with me know of the plastics
arsenal I drag along with me and know too that I will be
digging through the color chambers in the box on a search
until I find one that works. If I am forced to change profiles, I
will start with purple/chartreuse regardless and then go
through the gamut of colors again. I might,no…will, always end
up with that which I stared with on the line.
So how many color patterns do you need? Go check out the
wife’s/ girlfriend’s wardrobe closet and then the chest of
drawers or sweater storage area. Got the picture here? I
always preach about going to the lake prepared. Not only in
profiles and actions, but also in the color department. Why so
many colors? I have seen where crappies are hitting great
guns on an overcast morning on my beloved
purple/chartreuse only to have the haze burn off and they quit.
Switch to a blue/chartreuse and ,bingo!, right back in fish. I
have seen this progression go through as many as eight color
variables in three hours, once starting with black/chartreuse
and ending with a pink body and an orange tail!
That closet at home keeps the little lady of your life happy, so
I say let her have it. Fill that sucka up honey! Those
overflowing tackle boxes are my closet and her closet is my
defense for what I have. My toys keep me happy and in the
fish. Now Ma has asked why I have so much tackle of the
same colors. I explain that it is much like her closet. She
doesn’t have just one pair of jeans in this color….she has
nine. And she has six different brands of jeans, so go do the
math. And sweaters? Well, lets just say there are some very
bald sheep out there. But one in one color? Yea, right.
Part of the plastics challenge is color. In my opinion, no
panfisherman can have too much of it. Profile choices and
action choices … color choices all equate to a lot of tackle to
carry, but I am prepared. Inspite of that, time has taught me
what to start with. So what should you start your fishing day
with? Go to your “go to” bait and begin. Make your
adjustments based on what the fish dictate for the day
beginning with that bait. It is OK to fashion your tackle after
the women, but if you don’t have a definite starting point, you’ll
end up like the little lady standing in the closet for two hours
wondering what to wear. That’s a lot of good fishing time, my