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with Ken Riddick

Ken Riddick of Crappie Action Guide Service spends countless hours in pursuit of the crappie. We had the opportunity to follow Ken around last weekend and see how he brings in those Kentucky Lake slabs. As an extra bonus, Ken landed the biggest crappie of his lifetime (3.5 pounds) in the process. That's the one in the picture. Just click on it for a closer view.

Temperatures were in the 40's and the wind was gusting, so some of Ken's spots were virtually unfishable. But, Leatherwood Bay and the east side of the main channel provided some relief from the northeast wind and some good fishing as well. Fishing jigs in water ranging from 12-18 feet deep, Ken and his clients managed to bring in 28 keepers, including the 3.5 pounder and another 2 pounder. While 28 may not sound like a great day, with the weather conditions it was more than would be expected. If you were out there I'm sure you would agree.

So, how does Ken produce catches like this even under dire circumstances? We wish we could tell you exactly. But, so much of it is just knowing the lake and knowing how the crappie will react under certain circumstances. That's not something that we can cover in 10,000 words or less. We did pick up a few things that the average angler might not use. Here they are:

Ken fishes jigs almost exclusively. He points out that there are only a couple of weeks during the post spawn period that he uses minnows. The main thing he likes about jigs is the strike. You can really feel them smack it. Unlike minnows that are often gently inhaled, crappie don't seem to like jigs in their face and will hit em hard. Not only does this give you a better feel when they strike, but it's just cool to feel that good ole smack.

The rods used are basic 8-8.5 foot fly rods in #6-#7 weight. The neat thing is the reels used. Ken uses an automatic fly reel. Let me tell you that it takes a little getting used to. But, it makes for some very fun and efficient fishing. The key is that you can pull out a certain amount of line every time to keep you at the exact depth you want. They are also very efficient at landing fish, once you get the hang of  them. Just hit the trigger while feeding the line in with your other hand.

The reels he uses are made by Martin, but these same reels are no longer available. The current model they have is now made in China instead of the U.S. made models like he uses. Of course something made in China isn't going to work as well as something made in the good ole USA, and it doesn't. Because of this, Ken has learned to rebuild the U.S. models as they wear down, replacing almost any little piece that's needed.

The jigs used are also something totally different. He uses  1/4 oz. heads 95% of the time and they're usually red. That kind of goes against the theory of using tiny jigs like most anglers. All I can say is, "The proof is in the pudding". These things work. By using this big jig, it increases the feel tremendously and it helps keep the jig right where you want it. There's no waiting for the jig to catch up with the boat as you move along. Lastly, big jigs catch big fish (see picture above). You can buy the same jighead that Ken uses at...

For skirts, Ken is very partial to chartreuse and almost all the jigs he uses have chartreuse in them somewhere. The day we were with him he only used orange and chartreuse, but white and chartreuse is also one of his mainstays.

Wish we could tell you exactly how to catch crappie like Ken. But, at least now you know a few of his tricks.

Make sure and check these ...nice catches from Crappie Action last week.




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