FLW Fishing Report - Catching Redears

Murray, KY – Tips on catching "Redears" in this week's FLW Fishing Report.

Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Weekly Fishing Report.

Crappies are still the hot ticket this week. Fishermen who have ventured out in between the recent rains are catching good stringers on small jigs and minnows. The stake beds and brush piles aren't getting much pressure, so the fishing is going to hold up for a while. Ron Lappin, one of our tournament directors, told me that on a recent trip he and his buddy caught some big redears on small jigging spoons while they were fishing for crappies. That's pretty unusual. Redears, or shellcrackers as they're called down south, typically don't hit artificials very well, unless it's sinking spiders or beetle spins in the spring when they're spawning. Sometimes when the water is coming up, though, shellcrackers will go on a feeding binge and hit anything that looks like food. Apparently that's what happened when Ron caught his redears. He said a couple of them bumped a pound and a half each, so if you get to go crappie fishing soon, be prepared for anything.

For those of us who still have some room in our freezer for venison, next week is going to be our last best chance to get a deer with a firearm. The last muzzleloader season of the year comes in Saturday and runs through Sunday, December 18. Generally, the second season is a good one, but with all the bad weather we've had lately, who knows.

Hunting with muzzleloaders isn't some people's cup of tea, but despite all the bother of pouring powder down the barrel, adding a cotton wad and round ball or bullet, tamping them down and then using a primer to set off the charge, it's a pretty reliable way to hunt. It worked for Daniel Boone and his pals. In fact, some of those first pioneers might be amazed by how accurate modern muzzleloader rifles are now. The barrels are rifled, just like a modern centerfire rifle, and the sabot bullets that they shoot are as ballistically efficient as one of today's bullets such as the .30-06 Springfield or the .270 Winchester.

Not counting the fact that every state has muzzleloader hunting seasons nowadays, did you ever stop and think how the old flintlocks that Daniel Boone and his contemporaries used are still with us? Muzzleloaders might seem very archaic and primitive to you, but did you know that we still use a lot of words and terms that had their origin in that era when flintlock rifles were considered quite modern?

For instance, when we talk about not quite reaching a goal, we might use the expression "missing the mark," which originally referred to the rough bull's-eyes used in flintlock target shoots.

And what about these: the term to describe everything or all of something is "lock, stock and barrel;" being unprepared when attempting to do something is said to be "going off half-cocked;" fine-tuning a plan is "drawing a bead;" "shot your wad" refers to when you fail at something because you're not fully loaded with what it takes to get a job done, and who hasn't described a person who's had their 15 minutes of fame as "a flash in the pan?" Those modern sayings all came from the days when people carried flintlocks to hunt with or to protect their families. After more than 200 years of history, such words and phrases connect us to our forbearers.

That's it for now. This is Scott Ellison signing off for FLW, encouraging you to shoot straight and keep your powder dry.

Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW College Fishing Promotions Manager.