December 11th

Doug Markham's Crappie

This week’s travels carried me to Rose Trail General Store & RV Park on Lake Pickwick. My thanks go out to Jaclyn, Johnny, Keith and Brad for being such gracious guides and hosts to my outdoor writer friends, Vernon Summerlin and Doug Markham. I really enjoyed their company.  It was fun to watch them rib each other like they were brothers. Visit: to see the web site and to tune in to the radio show. Doug is the host and Vernon is a frequent guest, contributor.

There is no shortage of food at Rose Trail. Jaclyn’s cooking was too darn good. Great sausage biscuits for breakfast and huge deli sandwiches for lunch were the norm from her on-site restaurant. I did get a chance to try her BBQ on Saturday and it was quite good too.

With a separate bedroom for each of us; our accommodations were very comfortable in one of their rentals. (I usually find myself in a bunk bed at these events so this was a nice surprise.) We even had a pot of coffee waiting upon our arrival. Visit: to learn more about the Rose Trail General Store and RV Park.

Keith Dodd's Stacker Rig Crappie

I spent day one with guides, Johnny Stonecipher (256/360-2393) and Keith Dodd (256/679-1826) who excel in the tight-lining technique. These rigs employ long B’n M Poles with either a Road Runner or Tru-Turn Hooks, rigged in tandem. While the temperature dipped in the upper 20’s that morning, we were still able to find some Crappie that would bite.

We drove back into Sheffield for dinner at George’s Steak Pit, that night. Susann Hamlin from Colbert County Visitors Bureau was our host and the dinner was amazing.

Day two found us fishing in even colder conditions while we side-pulled rigs from Brad Whitehead’s specially designed, War Eagle boat. It wasn’t long before I was shooting photos of Brad with fish caught with this unusual technique. You can book your trip with Brad by calling 256/483-0834.

Side-pulling in a nutshell… Imagine if you will; pulling your lures and rigs from the side of your boat, instead of the back or front. This allows you to pull through more water as you make each pass over your cover. (Brush piles, drops, channels). Just compare the length of your boat versus the beam and you’ll agree this technique makes a lot of sense.  Measuring the width of pull (including the pole’s length) at the widest point, is an amazing 27 feet! That’s covering a lot of ground,  I mean  water.

Even in these cold conditions, Brad quickly bagged a Crappie.

Brad's Side-Pulling Crappie

We’re already planning a trip back to Rose Trail for more great hospitality and even better Crappie fishing this spring.

I hope you get a chance to go there too.

Blessings, -TJ

About TJ Stallings

45-year tackle industry veteran Marketing and Crazy Ideas at TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group (Home of Road Runner Lures and six hook brands including Tru-Turn, Daiichi, XPoint, Team Catfish, Mr. Crappie and StandOUT Hooks.) Home of Gun Protect. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of TJ Stallings and not necessarily those of TTI-Blakemore.
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