Despite the clear water you find when night fishing those north Arkansas lakes beneath submerged lights at night, I never use line lighter than 8 pounds on my spinning reels. On casting reels I go to 12 pounds.
Despite the clear water you find when night fishing those north Arkansas lakes beneath submerged lights at night, I never use line lighter than 8 pounds on my spinning reels. On casting reels I go to 12 pounds. And I don't use light gear like I would use when casting jigs for crappie. For one thing, crappie found deep in the clear waters of Bull Shoals or Beaver are big hefty crappie, normally better than 12 inches, commonly up to 15 inches, and sometimes up to 17 or 18 inches. White bass there are huge. And on Beaver Lake in the summer, there is always the problem created when you hook a 20 pound striper.
One night on Bull Shoals we caught 50 or 60 crappie and none were less than 15 inches long. That night one of the fishermen with me caught a 5 pound, 4 ounce white bass. And you are allowed 4 walleye in north Arkansas, so don't keep little ones. The length limit is 18 inches. I would say that over the years the walleye I have caught beneath the lights there would average better than 5 pounds. I have caught many walleye from my pontoon boat deck that would range from 6 to 8 pounds. One night years ago, a friend of mine hooked and landed a 16-pound walleye.
At daylight, the shad just disappear, and out around the boat you can catch largemouth and smallmouth by casting a weighted hook or jig with a dead shad on it. The fishing may be at its very best just after dawn until about 9 p.m. By then I am usually sound asleep in the back section of this custom-made pontoon boat of mine, which is covered like an on-the-water camper.
Still and all, you donπt have to have a pontoon boat to try this specialized form of fishing. I often use my reguar War-Eagle fishing boat when I fish Stockton in the spring or Truman later in the summer, and in both cases I catch crappie, walleye and whites. But in Truman, the murkier the water the less luck you will have. On those lakes I usually quit fishing in the middle of the morning because by that time you have all the fish you want. In Bull Shoals, there are fewer crappie than youπll catch in northern Ozark lakes, they are just much larger.
You can rent a pontoon boat almost anywhere and several fishermen together can fish from its spacious deck. If you try this, remember to have some extra line on board, lot of hooks and sinkers, some big minnows to start with, some food and drinks, maybe coffee to keep you awake. And no matter how warm it is at 5 in the evening, it will be much cooler at 5 in the morning, so have enough clothes to fight off the chill. You'll need good submergible lights and small nets for baitfish. And a good net. You can't hoist a 6-pound walleye or a three-pound crappie over the side of a pontoon boat.
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