Lake Anna Welcomes Richmond Crappie Club Anglers

by Aaron Ball

Stop two of the 2024 Richmond Crappie Club Tournament Circuit was held March 16 on Lake Anna out of Anna Point Marina, and much like the Chickahominy River tournament, the bar was raised. Traditionally, the weights on Lake Anna have been one of the lower overall weights for the season, but as I mentioned last month, the talent level of the competitions has risen significantly. Many of the anglers now fish with forward-facing sonar on their rigs and some also are using the new crappie brakes, but more on that later.

  Tournament Director and ace freckle fisherman Josh Morris and I had gotten a chance to fish a few weeks before the tournament and put together a nice seven-fish limit of crappie just under 11 pounds in a few hours of fishing.  A few other teams had been out pre-fishing as well and were reporting they had been catching bags of crappie around the same weight, so 11-12 pounds seems like a realistic weight goal for tournament day.

  One of the keys of tournament fishing is not only locating fish before the tournament, but also taking into consideration what the weather is going to do and how that may change what the fish want to do. Traditionally a mid-March tournament in Virgina would find most of your fish pre-spawn and holding in deeper water which is what most teams found leading into the tournament. However, the week leading into the tournament saw temperatures creeping upwards of 80 degrees and water temperatures jumping up to the high 50’s. 

   Come tournament day for myself and Brian, the fish I had found before the tournament had moved on and we failed to make the necessary adjustments and that led to poor results. However, the teams that were able to make those key adjustments and find the fish in the shallower water feeding on threadfin shad were rewarded with outstanding results.

  Jack Bellamy and James Lehman followed up their win on the Chickahominy River in February with another top three finish weighing 11 pounds for third place.  They reported fishing up lake in the Pamunkey Branch and using a single pole and Livescope to find their fish. 

  John Allen made the trip up from North Carolina to join the fun and dropped an impressive seven-fish limit of 11.71 pounds. John also weighed in a trophy Lake Anna Slab weighing 2.11 pounds that took big fish honors for the tournament and may be tough to top for big fish of the year. Even more impressive is he released the fish alive to be caught again. John reported using Livescope and soft plastic tipped jigs for his bag.

  Josh and Farrah-Dale Morris rebounded from boat issues in the last tournament to bring a Richmond Crappie Club record bag of 12.01 pounds to the scales! Their big fish topped the scales at 1.93 pounds. Unlike last year they didn’t get to head in early for Tim’s crab dip, but I think Farrah-Dale would trade the win for crab dip any day (maybe).  They also used Livescope and a combination of single hair jigs and hair jigs tipped with minnows to coax their fish into biting in the upper North Anna River side of the lake.. 

Next month’s tournament will be held on the Chickahominy Lake launching out of Ed Allen’s on April 28th. I hope to have a better showing and invite you to come on out and enjoy some fun fishing for ‘Merica’s fish!

Crappie Brakes?

  With the advent of forward-facing sonar fishing comes the periphery accessories. One that is currently trending is a trolling motor braking system mounted to Power Poles or Raptors.

    With the brakes anglers never again have to worry about spooking a fish due to stopping the boat with the bow mounted trolling motor. Brakes also prevent backwashing the fish and users never have to take an eye off of the target.

  Crappie Brakes is a brand, as is See Brakes that offers kits that mount to a boat’s shallow water anchoring system. Two electric motors (30 or 40-lb. thrust) slow and/or stop the boat very quickly so anglers can present to fish on their FFS units without turning the trolling motor and FFS beam off of them.

   The kits retail for around $1,650. Most anglers install them themselves. 

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