Well, spring has finally sprung here in lower Michigan. The ice that had covered our lakes during the winter months departed about a month ago and the daffodils are now in full bloom. For the most part, air temperatures had still remained below normal, but at the present time we are experiencing summer-like warmth and sunshine, which has raised the water's surface temp into the mid-fifties.

Annually, I anticipate the seasonal transition that is currently taking place-the crappies are schooled up and moving towards man-made channels and shallow shoreline flats and are easily located and caught. In an effort to learn more about their pre-spawn migration, my son Danny and I have spent a couple days underwater observing how the crappies position along with schools of bluegills and the occasional largemouth bass. In boat channels crappies primarily relate to structure-dock posts, boat lifts, brush piles and wood. However, it's the shoreline flats of the open lake that drew our subsurface interest on this particular day.
Granted, the crappies aren't everywhere and with that said, when we did encounter groups of crappie we found them suspended over patches of curly-leaf pondweed, which was growing in approximately 5-6 feet of water. The new green growth of the pondweed provided attractive structure to not only the crappie, but schools of smaller bluegill as well. As we observed, it became quite understandable why a vertical presentation works best this time of year.

These schools of panfish were practically motionless at mid-depth as they soaked in the warmth from the sun. It wasn't until the presence of our close approach that the fish became alerted and scattered away. Crappies aren't in a chasing mood when the water temperature is this cool, so a small jig and a simple slip-bobber rig was the deal. To catch them we employed a Strike King Mr. Crappie "Joker" (Color: White/Chartreuse) rigged on a 1/16 oz. Mr. Crappie jighead. Setting the correct depth is critical, but in our case, having the knowledge of our underwater observations of the fish suspended at mid-depth made that decision quite obvious and we set our bobber-stops at 2- ft. It's a fact, crappies rarely descend to engulf a lure; they most often bite from below on the up-swing. Frequently you'll observe how your bobber will go slack on the initial strike from underneath, and then slowly disappear below the surface. A 7 ft. Shimano Crucial spinning rod teamed with a Shimano Sustain spinning reel spooled with 6 or 8 lb. test Seaguar Senshi monofilament line worked well as we casted towards individual patches of pondweed. Crappies are indeed one of life's little pleasures and an undisputable treat in a frying pan.

First Impression of the new Ranger Tournament Series Aluminum Boats
Ranger Boats Aluminum RT188
I recently had the opportunity to share the deck with Ranger VP of Sales, Keith Daffron. We fished from one of Ranger's new tournament series aluminum boats (RT188). I was thoroughly pleased with it's fishability and the way this boat handled the waves. The foam filled hull gives it the same "One-Piece-Feel' of a Ranger fibreglass bass boat and the Evinrude E-TEC 115 really pops this craft out of the hole!

Coming Up This Week on Hook n' Look

Hook n' Look - Episode 8  
"Bumpy Road In Tournament Mode"
Hook n' Look 2013 Show 8
Show 8

Utilizing Humminbird Side-Imaging, Kim and Danny Stricker survey the possibilities of deep water isolated structure.  This day the pattern reveals only a small number of average fish forcing Kim into what he refers to as  "Tournament Mode."  With steadfast determination, Kim then eliminates water in an effort to produce better quality smallmouths.

    Air Times on Outdoor Channel 
  • Saturday May 25th, 2013 at 11:30 AM  
  • Saturday May 25th, 2013 at 4:00 PM  
  • Sunday May 26th, 2013 at 7:00 AM (EST)
Splash #17
Splash #17

Kim and Danny Stricker Welcome You to E-NATION
Kim and Danny Stricker Welcome You to E-NATION

360 Imaging a Scuba Diver
Kim and Danny Stricker have some fun and want to visually see how they appear scuba diving on the Humminbird 360 Imaging.
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Evinrude E-Nation
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Ranger Boats 45 YearsQuestion:  What are the benefits of Ranger's exclusive Rite Track Keel?

Answer:  For the answer to this question and to learn more about the last 45 years of Ranger Boats, visit

Click for more information on Weigh-to-Win
For those of you that haven't heard, BoatU.S. Angler has the "Weigh-To-Win" contingency program for tournament anglers.  For one low annual membership fee, you'll have a chance to dramatically boost your winnings and gain the assurance of 24/7 dispatch that comes with a BoatU.S. Angler Membership. What's really nice is that you don't have to win the tournament to get paid, you just need to be the highest placing BoatU.S. Angler Member in the tournament.  So not only do you have another way to make more money but you will also have the confidence that you are covered on the road or on the water just in case you may need a tow. 

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