Kentucky Lake Produces a Massive Crappie

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With the advent of affordable, forward-facing sonar, crappie anglers have become spoiled in recent years. Remember that in 2022, a single day of crappie fishing on Mississippi’s Grenada produced over fifty 3+ pound fish. That would have been unimaginable two decades ago.

Outside of Grenada and a few other lakes that are considered among the best crappie fishing spots in the world, however, landing a fish over three pounds is considered quite the achievement – it is one the majority of anglers will never experience.

For one Tennessee angler, however, the elusive feat came on Saturday, March 4 while fishing a tournament on Kentucky Lake.

Right on the Cusp

Elliott Tomlinson Crappie Fishing
Photo by Elliott Tomlinson

Elliott Tomlinson has caught more than his fair share of crappie over the years. The aforementioned Grenada Lake in Mississippi produced 2.90 and 2.97 pounders for Tomlinson in March 2022, but entry into the elusive “three pound” club had eluded him until recently.

While fishing the West Tennessee Crappie Trail – a local trail previously affiliated with Crappie Masters that he has been fishing for several years – Tomlinson secured a second-place finish with a 14.64-pound bag. He barely missed the top spot, which was secured with a 14.87-pound bag.

The nearly $600 runner-up was supplemented by a respectable $120 “big fish” bonus, however.

Tomlinson’s big fish of the day was a massive 3.20 pounder that comfortably became the big fish of the crappie career thus far.

It was also one that may have gotten away had he not prepared himself with the proper rig.

Sniper Braid to the Rescue

Despite having two staples in his boat during the catch – a Jenko X-13 rod and a Hawg Fishing net – there was a moment when Tomlinson was worried he might not be able to bring the fish into the boat.

“(I) set the hook and I knew I was dealing with trouble,” he told Premier Angler. “It was just me in the boat. I had my Hawg fishing net but couldn’t reach it.”

Tomlinson ended up flipping his massive crappie into the boat.

He credits the 30 lb. Sniping Braid he uses regularly for being strong enough to hold the fish.

“Yeah, I’ve been super grateful for that,” Tomlinson said. “I love that line. If it wasn’t for that line, the fish wouldn’t
have been in the boat.”

The strike came on a Jenko Tickle Fry, which is another staple in Tomlinson’s repertoire.

Massive Kentucky Lake Crappie
Photo via Elliott Tomlinson

The lure, which Tomlinson explains is essentially a “swimbait for crappie,” has been a go-to for him recently.

“It’s probably my favorite plastic bait,” he said. “The reason I like it so much is because I pitch 20-30 feet and let the bait drift back into the fish and the swimming action is something I love.”

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