Crappie & Cookies
Crappie and Cookies — what more could an angler want? As we pulled away from the beautiful Lake Fork Marina docks, and rode out onto the revered waters of Lake Fork, I could tell that the weather forecaster was right on the money predicting high winds, overcast skies and a humid afternoon. The 20-mph northeast winds seemed to pose no problem at all for the deep sided Champion Fish Hunter Great Lakes Boat. Cruising across the choppy waters, I could tell that my guide knew exactly how to handle the boat and adjust for the big waves that were crashing in on the side. As we drove across the lake, she sat a little to the side of the drivers seat, flashing a happy smile as we talked above the noise of the motor and wind about fishing, outdoors and boats. I knew already, that it would be a very fun day, no matter what the fishing would be like, because I was finally fishing with Lake Fork’s only female crappie guide: Terri Moon. Because of the high winds, Terri chose to take me back in a cove to one of her Willow brush piles that she and husband, Jerry Moon, have carefully placed among other standing timber in 15 ? 20 feet of water. Stopping the boat about 15 feet from an old tree line, Terri maneuvered up to one of the trees where she tied the boat loosely. “This spot is not really where I wanted to take you, but it will give us some good crappie today,” she explained. This knowledgeable crappie guide was indeed correct in her predictions. No sooner had we settled in, when Terri flipped out her ultra-light rig with a Ben Hargrove crappie jig tied lure, and wham! — She set the hook on a nice large white crappie. Well I was impressed, because I had not even wet my lure yet. I am thinking, “oh boy, I am going to catch some crappie now.” But this lady had four crappie in the boat before I had even gotten my jig where I wanted to dangle it. At that point, I was a little embarrassed — you know, by being a Lake Fork bass fishing guide and not even having a fish in the boat yet. Terri, very dutifully, told me that I need to react to those nibbles that I am feeling, “And set the hook!” OK I thought: set the hook, and reel the crappie in. As simple as it sounded, my crappie fishing lesson was slow at best. Terri continued to catch crappie, and I continued to struggle, while she coached and encouraged me through another hook-set! While waiting on my next crappie bite, I asked Terri some questions about her new venture as a female crappie guide. I found most of her answers interesting, intriguing, and sometimes amusing. Terri started fishing as a young child with her Grandpa on Lake Lotowanna, in Blue Springs, Mo. She has fished for them all throughout her entire life, but her first love is crappie. And by the way, Terri told me that there is no 12-step program for her addiction. She and Jerry each have their own boats. He likes to bass fish, and she is the crappie expert. Jerry bought Terri her boat two years ago as an anniversary present. Working for Lake Fork Marina at the time, Terri would go fishing after work and would bring in her fair share of fish. Lake Fork Marina customers and other guides would notice Terri coming in with an armload of barn-door crappie, and before long many were requesting her services as a crappie guide. Well, Terri told me that she had to do something to pay for her daily habit, and what better way than to guide clients that shared in a love of catching crappie! Alas, Terri is a top, professional crappie guide that is in big demand after just two years of guiding. Most of Terri”s clients come from other previously satisfied clients. However, recently she was on the Outdoor Trails show with Barry Stokes, as well as the East Texas Angler with Barry Hansen. Terri has received an enormous amount of requests for fishing trips from these two shows. Many magazines and newspapers have taken note of this very popular lady, and my thought is she will have a lot more publicity coming her way. Terri said her first guide trip was actually for another guide. Nervous as she was, she never let on to her clients that they were her first customers. She told me that she kept them out until very late, trying to get 30 crappie. When she came in and recounted the Crappie, there were actually 33 crappie. She could have come in much earlier. Now Terri keeps a counter like most crappie guides use for keeping up with their total catch. Terri’s other interests include photography, framing, art and cooking. She showed me some prints of her artwork. This lady is really talented. And I got to sample her baking skills while I was struggling with my ultra-light crappie rig. Terri handed me a baggie full of her own homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and oh my were they good! (I think she was feeling sorry for me.) Being curious about crappie habits, Terri relayed to me that crappie live in schools. White crappie are longer while black crappie are stockier. They spawn in water temperatures of 62 to 70 degrees, depending on the species. Terri told me that the bream are moving in to spawn, and that she and clients have been catching very large bream. They will be spawning in the next couple of weeks through mid-June, she said. bream and white crappie spawn at about the same time. A crappie and bream trip is a lot of fun. Terri Moon is an exceptional guide and angler. She offers eight to 10-hour trip full day trips and five-hour, half-day excursions. She helps the client clean and bag the fish when the trip is over. With advance notice, Terri can arrange for your fish to be cooked and/or a full meal served after your day of fishing and fun, For a guided crappie or bream trip, you can reach Terri at her residence at 903-569-1456. Let her know that you read about her in the Dallas Outdoors magazine.