Crappie, also known as white perch, or sac-a-lait (sack of milk) are a staple of Louisiana fishing. Late February, early March is the best time for big crappie (and I have trouble typing that, we call them white perch). Eaton Rapids Joe sent me to an article in a north Louisiana newspaper about some boys who have been catching some big ones in the Poverty Point reservoir.
Oh, and these are some slabs, in the 3.5 pound range. Kudos to them, those fish are worth weighing.
Damned big white perch. (Or, crappie, if you prefer.)
Joe's email reminded me of a time when my Dad was part owner of a barge on Toledo Bend, and the white perch were phenomenal. Not in size, so much, but in numbers.
What we called barges, back in those days, many people might call party boats today. Large pontoon vessels that would hold 12-14 people comfortably. Dad and Chester built this barge in Chester's shop and christened it the Afta' Sundown. It was designed specifically for catching white perch (crappie). We might have 8 poles out at any time, rigged for white perch.
Chester knew a honey hole, out on the bank of the old Sabine river channel. That channel runs through Toledo Bend and forns the Texas, Louisiana state line. Chester would park the barge on that channel, anchor solidly, and rig the poles. We'd commence fishing.
The limit, per person, was fifty (50) fish. So, with Dad, and Chester, and I, and another sibling, and one of Chester's boys, we could catch 250 fish, legally, per day. If we stayed out overnight, we could catch two limits each (the possession limit) of 500 fish. At that time, the white perch on Toledo Bend averaged over a pound per fish. Sometimes we'd get up to two pounds per, and we threw the small ones back.
So, if you figure an overnight fishing trip, 100 fish per angler, you might come back to the dock on Sunday morning with 450-500 fish. Each fish would yield two, 4 oz filets, so we'd borrow an electric outlet at the landing, filet those fish with electric knives, and bring back about 200 lbs of pure, white, crappie filets for an overnight fishing trip. It's not a bad way to feed a family, ad we ate lots of white perch (crappie).
Dad always said that if you can't feed yourself in Louisiana, you deserve to starve to death.
Maybe one day, I'll tell you about catching bluegill with my father-in-law, Boonie. It was almost un-sporting, and there is no shortage of bluegill in the state o Louisiana.