Hudson column: Crappie good for teaching

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2011

By Glenn Hudson
For the Salisbury Post
Jigging for crappie has got to be one of the most fun and easy ways to fish. And High Rock Lake has a reputation as a fine crappie lake indeed.
To celebrate the great spring crappie fishing here, Hill’s Minnow Farm will host its annual Crappie Roundup March 19-May 17. Crappie fishing is how I got started when I was a kid. And I’ve decided the Roundup would be a great way to have fun fishing with my children as well.
I grew up about 2 miles from Lake Lewisville in north Texas, about 25 miles north of Dallas. Every summer I would spend many of my days hiking to the lake to fish the shoreline with crappie jigs. There was a good deep cove relatively close by with lots of submerged brush that you could jig from the bank with regular success. I don’t recall catching anything big. But we caught a lot of crappie and about every other type of panfish as well. It was my first experience with artificial lures catching fish all by myself. And I loved it.
The best part was that we were tying our own knots, making our own casts and landing our own fish. We didn’t need any adults to help us. I was so happy.
But I would have been blown away. If you had told me then that one of those crappie would be worth $4,000. And yet there is a crappie worth that much that will soon be swimming around in High Rock Lake. His name is Rustlin‘ Raymond. And he is named after Terry Hill’s father, who founded Hill’s Minnow Farm in 1964. Raymond Hill passed away in 2007.
The Crappie Roundup, which began in 1996, will include 743 tagged crappie that are worth between $25 and $4,000 each. The total purse is worth $41,425 in sponsored, tagged fish.
Hill and his staff will release all fish in Crane Creek, Dutch Second Creek and Panther Creek, which are all on the Rowan County side of High Rock Lake, though the tournament is open to anyone who buys a ticket and abides by tournament rules.
“This tournament will be during the spawn when the fish are in the shallows,” said Hill. “It is geared to where anybody can catch them from the bank or from a boat. In fact, most of our fish are caught from the bank each year.”
The tournament fee is $8 per person and tickets must be purchased in advance.
Crappie must be turned in to Hill’s Minnow Farm alive and unmutilated with the tag in place to be eligible for a prize. Hill’s Minnow Farm is located at 7940 Bringle Ferry Road.
My son has already planned what he will do if he catches “Rustlin’ Raymond,” or one of his tagged crappie buddies. He wants an iPad. Then again, maybe he’ll have so much fun crappie fishing that I can drag him and his siblings away from the computer and television more often to spend time out on the lake with dad.