Lakecaster Online

By Ed Snyder

Tuesday, October 12,1999 - "Somewhere" on Lake Sam Rayburn, TX. .... Invited to attend a fish fry at a friends house, drew quick questions as to what's cookin', with an even quicker "I'll be there" upon finding out that it was to be crappie. "But first, we've got to go and catch them, advised my neighbor, explaining that they had accidently stumbled onto the crappie while checkin' out some bassin' water along a deepwater ridgeline, where, as we were draggin' for some bass-bites, my wife suddenly quipped, "Honey, will you lookee here at what the graph is showing................"ohmygosh!!!

A big grin and "huggy" how-do's greeted me at MillCreek Park as Nobie Jo backed the sleek Skeeter/Yamaha Bass boat off of her husbands trailer. Quickly joined by Bobby LeBert found us "chillin-out" against a "crisp" northwind as we throttled out at "Skeeter-Speed"!! And as we rounded the corner for headin' up-lake, they began telling me all about their accidental discovery of this unclaimed gold mine that was holding a "mother-lode" of calico treasures. Above the pitch & whine of the floored hotfoot, their words kinda' sounded something like this ...squeetish ..humpahump.. jumberatcherbutt.. humpa.. henwerupsqueetish... humpa.. pertacynotmumberish... "and, that's exactly how we came to find that special spot, Nobie Jo finished as we throttled down to where she said we were going.

With Bobby eyeballing the depth recorder as he searched for the crappie, I began reaching for my camera bag just as Nobie leaped for the troll-motor after Bobby suddenly whispered .... "ohmygosh"... .they're still there!!!......... one quick look at what he was staring at quickly had me focusing my camera on the screen of the Lowrance depth recorder....."Geeeezewhattamessofish, I thought, as my shutter froze an unbelievable image of crappie stacked like cordwood.

Nobie Jo and Bobby LeBert may not be familiar to most, but they are very much recognized by those who fish and compete on the bass tournament circuits. The husband and wife team have won more honors, and finished well in more tournaments, than most people care to guess. "I use to be Bobby's Boss at Gulfcoast Utilities in Beaumont TX, Nobie enlightened, and back than, I just didn't care a whole lot about fishing. "But, one day Bobby invited me to come along on a white bass fishing trip on Lake Livingston, "Nahhh, was my first thought, Nobie grinned, "but it was a nice day, so I decided to play hooky to go fishing with the man who would soon become my husband. "GOSH", I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT, stuttered Nobie, "I mean, I really got into that white bassin' stuff, "hook line & sinker". "Then after we got kinda' used to each other, Bobby interloped, "we began to try some black bass fishin', then started competing at some bass tournaments.

"Geeeze, Bobby incredulated, "Nobie got so "INTO" that bass fishin' stuff that she plumb got crazy with it by becoming a National Pro with the Bass n' Gals, Anglers Choice, EverStart, and now the FLW tour, as she's also on the Skeeter State Team, and sponsored by Dawson Marine out of Beaumont, TX.

As I have personal knowledge of Nobie Jo's Bassin' thing, with her image being reflected many times on my camera's lense, starting with the first time we met at a Bass n' Gal World Bass Classic held on the Mississippi River, in St Louis Missouri, "I" was amazed back then, and "I" am still amazed at her skill of being an "all around" professional bass angler now, "BUT", since we were fishin' for "SUPPER" ....lets get back to the more serious "stuff"!!

As we were all pretty much "busied" with the process of tossin' 1/32 oz jig n'tubes down to the crappie which were holding over some deepwater timber, we all managed to pretty much "busy" ourselves with the process of catching crappie, and plenty of nice ones too, as we soon found ourselves tossin' back 10" to 12" keeper crappie for the bigger ones that were in the 14" to 15" range. "NOW" let me stop here to pause for the cause as most of you who're reading this are probably saying "HORSE-HOCKEY", ain't no way that we'd be throwin' back keeper crappie to get to the bigger ones. BUT, it happened just that way as we kept just what we needed for our fish fry, and returned the rest back to the lake. Out of the 24 to 30 crappie that we caught in but a short time, which included black, white, and mohawk crappie, we probably only caught 2 or 3 undersized crappie with most being in the 10" to 13" sizes, and maybe a 1/2 dozen in the 14" to 15" slab sizes.

The main reason for Rayburn's success at becoming such a superb crappie fishing lake is probably due to the fact that most people associate Rayburn as a major bass fishery, with little, or no knowledge of its crappie habitat which has produced such heavy populations of crappie. I've known of this amazing fishery for quite some time now, and like most, believe that it came about after the TP&W enforced a 10" minimum size limt with a 25 fish daily creel limit. As most do agree, this one regulation change has probably done more to initiate Rayburn's rise as a #1 crappie fishery, BUT, Rayburn's abundance of timber/brush structure, as well as hydrilla beds, can also be a recognized factor for success. Most anglers prefer to use live minnows for their crappie catchin' trips, but those of us who prefer to use mini-jigs, roadrunners, or flea-flys, will keep to our methods as we find that the bigger crappie will hit the jigs a lot faster. The #1 jig color for crappie on Rayburn is chartreuse, but ice-blue, pearl/black, red-white, and black/chartreuse will all do the job. Our #1 color on this trip were small tube jigs in chartreuse/silver glitter with 1/32 oz jig-heads in chartreuse or pale/green. We found most of the bigger crappie to be holding pretty much to the bottom structure in about 23' of water, which also became a factor in losing several "macho" crappie to the timber as they hit with enough force as to drag our jigs back into thick cover before we could react. "But, as "successfull" crappie anglers often say, "iffin' ya' ain't snaggin' up, ya' just ain't gonna' catch no crappie!!!

One new item you can add to Nobie Jo LeBert's skills as an Outdoors Woman, would be to classify her as an outstanding Crappie Chef as she made good on her invite for my supper. And as I "waddled" off back towards home, I begged for another invite,... "more so" for wanting to go back out to the ...squeetish . .humpahump.. jumberatcherbutt.. humpa.. henwerupsqueetish... "OHMYGOSH"... hole.

For more info on Nobie Jo Lebert's career as a Professional Bass Angler, (and to hopefully get a supper invite) her sponsorDawson Marine at (1-800-471-2357).

Bobby & Nobie Jo team up on crappie catches

Nobie Jo LeBert with a solid black crappie
< photos by Ed Snyder >


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