BY LEW VAIL
LIVINGSTON -- "Get the Net" sounds like a good name for a fishing guide service and that is the name Simon Cosper choose for his business as a professional fishing guide on Lake Livingston.
During a presentation last week to the Polk County Hookers fishing club, Cosper said he always wanted to be a guide when growing up and traveled to several states in his early career, guiding in New Mexico, Colorado, New York and even on the Great Lakes. He has been back on Livingston for the past eight years, almost exclusively.
Cosper told the club members that knowing their quarry is very important, adding that while many people think crappie appear in creeks in the early part of the year, they have been congregating in the creeks like White Rock, Kickapoo and several in-between since the first October cold snap.
Another mistake fishermen make is "memory" fishing -- going to the lake and going to an area where they caught fish before and sitting, waiting for the fish to come to them. Instead, they need to move and try new water if they don't get a bit in a reasonable amount of time.
When asked what type rods he uses, he told the large audience he likes an eight to 10-foot graphite, medium action, such as those made by B&M and available at Academy and some Walmart's. He said most fiberglass rods are too stiff and have no feel for the bite of a fish. He likes the eight-pound test hi-vis green line made by Wally Marshall; it allows you to track your jigs action when it is picked up by a fish before you feel the tap of a bite.
The rod and line questions led into what baits he prefers -- jigs, one-sixteenth ounce in either black and chartreuse or pink and black. Sometimes a solid pink will really attract fish in slightly off color water. He noted crappie do not like muddy water and they will sit on the bottom when the lake turns after a rain, but then the catfishing is good.
If a little more weight is needed, add a piece of shot just above the jig. Rarely does he go to a larger jig. He also uses a bait called Crappie Nibbles made by Berkley right on the hook tip. He warned anglers not to use the jigs with the sparkle glitter because it gets all over clothes and gear.
Cosper said some times you can add a small minnow to a jig, hooking it through the lips so it does not swim too much and scare the crappie. If a small minnow is not available, just go with a plain jig.
How does he work a jig? He called it "dead stick"; letting the jig drop to the bottom in 15 feet of water and then just raising it about six or eight inches and swimming it because jigging up and down seems counterproductive.
He also works brush tops in the same manner because contrary to popular tales, on Livingston crappie do not stage at different depths, since the lake does not have real deep areas. They start to spawn at about 55 to 62 degree water temperature and then can be found in as little as one foot of water.
Fishing is best between 8 a.m. until around noon or late in the afternoon. In the heat of the day they can be found under boat sheds in the shade. When fishermen start to catch too many small ones, they should consider crushing the barb on the hook for easier release. There is a 10-inch minimum size to keep Crappie, so he recommends making a mark on the boat and catch and release those you that cannot be cooked.
When asked about structure, Cosper detailed how he makes "trees" out of eight inch PVC pipe with one inch branches randomly drilled and cemented in place. He then adds a large soda bottle capped shut as a buoy and a base filled with sakrete. These start to acquire algae attracting small baitfish in a couple of weeks. He uses white but has used black and even gray pipe.
Cosper reported that the white bass are already coming down river into the White Lake area and that this March and April should be a good time to catch a limit in a short time.
Hookers will have a program on an Alaskan fishing lodge that has been visited by one of the members. It is owned by an Austin resident and he will drop by in February on his way to visit relatives in Nacogdoches.
They are planning a women's Fishing 101 and no one who fishes will be allowed. They will have two experienced women anglers presenting the information to just 15 participants, sometime in early spring.
Hookers meet on the third Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at First National Bank building at FM 350 and Highway 190. Everyone is welcome to attend.