By Stan Fagerstrom
Product Review Editor
June 28, 2010
They could be called “Public Panfish Number One.” Talk to darn near anybody who has caught enough of them to fill a trying pan and they’ll tell you they love ‘em.
I’m talking, of course, about crappies. They were one of the first fish I learned a few things about a long, long time go. Besides being fun to catch, if properly prepared they’ll tingle your taste buds about as satisfactorily as anything that swims.
Big potbellied bass are often loners. That’s not how it is with crappies. Find one---especially in the spring or again in the fall---and there will be others nearby. The “finding” is often the hard part. One of the very best lures for this purpose is the Road Runner I talked about in Part 1 of this column.
I’ve had the good fortune over the years to get to know some of the country’s top crappie fishermen. I’m thinking of guys like Wally Marshall. You’ll see him called “Mr. Crappie” more often than by his real name. It’s a title he’s earned by proving his crappie catching skills again and again in professional crappie fishing contests all over the place.
I’ve given casting exhibitions at a number of outdoor shows here and there around the country where Wally was staging seminars on crappie. I don’t care where you get to listen to this panfish expert you’re a cinch to hear him mention a Road Runner sooner than later.
Regular visitors to this site may recall the series I did a couple of years ago here to help introduce the new panfish baits Gary Yamamoto was adding to his lure lineup. If you saw that series you’ll recall that George (Chief) Braswell was one of the guys
How’d the Chief go about it? He did it by attaching one or another of the new Yamamoto baits to his favorite Road Runners. Pictorial proof of what the Chief accomplished with this combination accompanied the columns I wrote about it.
As I mentioned in Part 1, TJ Stallings, the man who handles the publicity and promotion for the folks who market the Road Runner, knows a good bit about this combination himself. “The new Yamamoto Yamaminnow,” he says, “is awesome. The spotted bass and crappie both love it. I can’t wait to try it with the luminous colors on our new Road Runner Glow Heads.”
Whenever I hear as many good things as I have about Road Runners now for decades, I always make a point of finding out a couple of things related to sales. I want to know what sizes are the top sellers. I also endeavor to find out what colors are getting the most attention.
I seek those answers for a very good reason. The sizes and the colors that are the top sellers, especially for lures that have been around for as long as Road Runners have, are the key to what’s catching the most fish. Certainly other sizes or colors might do better some of the time but you can bet the best sellers are going to be the first ones to go into my own tackle box.
My friend TJ provided those answers regarding the Road Runners. “Our best selling sizes,” he told me, “are the 1/16th-ounce and 1/8th-ounce. They are really neck to neck in sales.” Chartreuse is the best selling color in the Road Runner line. The chartreuse shade is followed closely by white. Those Road Runners in a fluorescent red rank in third place.
I’m always reluctant to say there’s only this way or that way to use a given lure. Be that as it may, there is one approach I’m always going to try first with a Road Runner. It’s simple enough. I’m going to fish the lure just fast enough to keep the little spinner blade that’s attached to its head turning as the lure is retrieved.
Few writers have been advising readers to fish their lures slowly for crappie more often or for a longer time than I have. I’ve been at it since 1946. That’s when I did my first newspaper fishing columns.
Don’t tie on one of the heavier Road Runner heads and expect to fish it sufficiently slow in water that’s only four or five feet deep. Heavier heads sink too rapidly to let you do that. That’s why you need a selection of head sizes as well as a variety of colors.
I use the 1/32nd-ounce for a good bit of my own Road Runner crappie fishing. If the fish are in deeper water, I won’t hesitate to change either head size or color. I’m still going to fish as slowly as I can, but I’ll not hesitate for a heartbeat to change my approach if the fish indicate they like something else better.
You’ll learn a good bit more about a variety of crappie-catching techniques if you get to the Road Runner site on the Internet. The catalog does some of the same thing but you’ll find more details via the Internet. Just go to www.roadrunnerlures.com and you’ll find lots of doors you’ll do well to open.
Among other things, you’ll find Road Runners now come with a couple of different style blades. “Our original
Now Road Runners also come with a willow style blade. “This blade is the best choice for deeper or swifter waters,” TJ says.
I’ve got Road Runners with both blade styles and in a variety of sizes. I rig them with one or another of those panfish sized baits Gary Yamamoto came up with a couple of years ago. I throw one after another until the fish start telling me what they like best.That approach gets results for me. Give it a shot and see if it doesn’t do the same thing for you.