Crappie: (n) a sunfish of central U.S. rivers
I am not an expert at fishing.
I do not know what qualifies one for being considered an expert, but I think it has something to do with the size of your tackle box. I understand worms, minnows, bread dough and a few other simple forms of bait. Yet I know people who have huge containers, with all sorts of different spinners, bobs and plugs.
I don’t know anything about those.
I was always the kind of person who went fishing because I was escaping from some task, some person or some event which was less than desirable. I discovered that once you established you were going fishing, then people usually left you alone to your hook, line and sinker.
But one of the things I did learn about fishing, since I was a Midwest boy, was that if you didn’t cast your line very deep into the pond or lake, a whole bunch of busy, hungry crappies would make their way to bite on your hook, and you would pull them in. They were about the size of the egg on a McMuffin. I realized I could have caught maybe a hundred of these little fellas—and one time I decided to bring back a batch.
When I presented them to my dad and older brothers and said I was going to clean them for dinner, they laughed at me. It was a mocking to scorn.
But once I got out in the garage and started working on them, I saw that when the crappies lost their fins, gills and scales, the crappies only produced enough meat to put on a Ritz cracker.
I cleaned twenty-five or thirty of them and didn’t get enough for me to eat.
So I guess the lesson of my story—if there is one—would be that if you like to catch fish, the crappie is your good friend. Not only are they willing, but downright sacrificial to the cause.
But if you want to eat fish, cast your line a whole lot deeper—or just go to Captain D’s.