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If you regularly follow Premier Angler, it’s no secret that crappie fishing has been all the rage during the latter part of 2019 and early 2020.
Then, Josh Jackson got the crappie fishing community talking after landing a pair of beefy slabs on Grenada Lake.
Now, we are taking a look at yet another monstrous crappie as we talk to Robert Loar about his epic catch from December.
Here is Robert’s story, in his own words.
Premier Angler: Before we talk about your impressive catch, let’s talk about your fishing story. How did you get started on the water? What led you to focus primarily on crappie?
Loar: Honestly, as far back as I can remember — as a kid in diapers — my grandmother always took me fishing. I would always catch her some small perch so she could use them for catfishing.
My first big fish I caught on a cane pole and grasshopper was a 5lb catfish that I thought was a giant. Throughout the years, I did various styles of fishing, but my first crappie was with my step-dad, and I fell in love with it.
But, unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to fish as I got older with life and drag racing. I told everyone when I quit racing, I was going fishing.
Well, in 2017, I did just that! I bought a boat and put in a lot of work learning crappie fishing. I would listen to podcasts, watch videos, and read posts on Facebook on what everyone was doing. My youngest son and I would travel all over Texas to any lake I could find, looking for the biggest crappie in the lake.
When travelling like that, you must learn to break down the lake and find the crappie. I was very successful at filling the live well. A good friend of mine, Dane Myers, kept insisting that I need to enter some tournaments, so I entered a few different ones and did well. Then he asked me to join Crappie Anglers of Texas (CAT), and that was the best move I had ever made. The fellowship and friendship have been awesome!
Loar: I have been a long-time customer with Limits Tackle and became good friends with the owner, Steve Goncalves. His customer service was top notch. I could send him a message for something I needed right then and he would meet me that night.
I started testing some baits he was making and they were successful, and he made tweaks where they were needed. In October of 2019, Steve called me and asked if I wanted to be on his Pro Staff, and the rest is history. I am also, teaming up with Steve to compete in CAT and some select Crappie Masters.
With Slab Syndicate, I had seen a post on Crappie Fishing Fools (on Facebook) that the owner, Chris Muschalek, had made asking for help with donations to an event.
Well, I always try to support local shops and Chris made some very nice hand ties, so I placed my first order and these baits were beautiful. I started sending Chris messages on different baits and he would make them fast and get them to my door just before I would leave out for tournaments. His hair jigs were so durable — I used 1 hair tie for over 100 fish.
After I won the CAT D2 State Championship, Chris had mentioned he might bring on some Pro Staff and asked if I would be interested? Chris and his family are awesome — there was no way I could turn down the offer.
3) A Facebook post highlighting your once-in-a-lifetime catch recently got a pretty big response. Walk us through your day on the water, the catch, the aftermath, etc.
Loar: It is funny how it all came about. I reached out to Josh Jones on wanting to learn more on shallow water Livescope and how he was doing it. As we were talking, I told him it would be nice to catch a 3-pounder in Oklahoma also. I have a 3.01 from Texas and 3.13 from Arkansas, and now I needed one from Oklahoma.
So, both of our schedules aligned and we made it work the day after Christmas. He told me to meet him at a small northern Oklahoma lake (sorry, can’t give out the lake name).
As soon as we got on the water, he put the trolling motor down and he went searching. Within a couple of minutes, we seen a giant in 8’ of water. I kept trying to get the crappie to react, but he was not having it. We tried for about 5 minutes, then we moved on searching.
I was asking him questions on certain things he does and why, just like I was a newbie starting out. I caught the first fish of the day and it was a 13” fish that weighed 2.02 — man, these fish are fat. Next fish was a 2.79 after searching a little longer.
Well, 1 hour in, I see this monster on Livescope.
We were in 10’ of water and the crappie was minding his own business 4’ down. I grabbed the Huckabee Phantom 13’ that has a 1/32 hair tie on it, adjust my depth and dropped it right in her face.
So, we kept following her in a circle. At this time, I could 100% see the slope in her nose, and the belly, and I knew this was about to be a fish of a life time! Josh got the boat positioned just right and I eased the jig down to her and I stopped it just above her nose. Well, she seen it!
I seen that big signature turn up to the jig and I slowly started raising the jig up. She went to it and bit! But, the bite was so light, I could not feel it. Josh, said to set the hook, so I set it like I had felt the thump and OH MY! It felt like I stuck a 5lb bass.
I could feel the weight of this monster crappie and knew it was HUGE. I was lifting it up and could see her coming to the top of the surface, and OH MY, she was a monster. I kept lifting in one motion straight into the boat — we do not use nets!
Her mouth looked like you could fit a baseball in it. I was like a little kid, I was so giddy!
Josh grabbed his scales and weighed her. All I could think of was, “oh my God!” It is the biggest crappie I have ever seen.
Josh spins the scale around, 3.65 POUNDS!! I started doing a dance and we were high-fiving! I measured her length and girth. She was a whopping 16 5/8’” long, and we got some string and wrapped it around to measure the girth of 16”.
After a bunch of pictures, I gave her a big ol’ kiss and released her to be caught again. I grabbed my phone and was texting all of my buddies of how big and beautiful this muddy water monster was. One of my friends made a comment that it looked like a football and another friend said “Nope, that’s a left tackle!”
Josh then said that’s the biggest crappie that’s ever been in his boat. Now remember, this is only about an hour in and I told him I had learned enough for the day. I was good!
4) What advice would you give to anyone who either wanted to get into crappie fishing or wanted to improve their skills?
Loar: The biggest advantage these days is the internet and Facebook! Get on Facebook and in the search bar, put in your favorite lake and look at posts and pictures.
Search for Josh Jones, Jerry Hancock, and Tommy Ezell for their posts. Very, very informative.
When someone is talking and giving advice, clear your mind and listen! Do not be afraid to ask questions. Never think you know everything — we are always learning. Learn how to break a lake down and learn your electronics.
Be confident, but always be ready to change. Fishing changes daily! Adapt to change. The biggest thing to ALWAYS REMEMBER: fish where crappie live and HAVE FUN!
Premier Angler: Anything else you would like to add?
Loar: First, I must thank my wife Kacie! She is always so supportive in me fishing, traveling and spending money.
Second, I want to thank Limits Tackle and Slab Syndicate for believing in me to promote their product.
Third, I want to thank some friends that I have gained from crappie fishing: Dane, Jordan, Jason, Steve, Dan, Josh, Jerry, Tommy, and Kevin
If you are looking for a great tournament organization in Texas, look up Crappie Anglers of Texas on Facebook or the internet. I am the Tournament Director and I would love to meet new people at our tournaments or meetings.