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“Where are you Guys From?”

June 11, 2013
By Larry Claypool - OVO Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

A year ago I wrote about fishing for the first time at Pymatuning Lake (the PA side). The taste buds haven't forgotten that trip as the crappie we caught were thoroughly enjoyed with a fish fry the next day. Recently I returned to fish PA - again for crappie - and we caught several fish but not like the previous year's 9-12-inch beauties.

This year, in mid-May, I again participated in the PA Crappie Camp, hosted by writer Darl Black and a host of sponsors (listed below). The three-day event, this year, covered three different PA fishing waters; Pymatuning, Conneaut Lake and Shenango River Lake. I was able to fish on the third day at Shenango. As fishing goes, the weather played a hand in the quality of fish catching during the event.

The first two days of fishing was tough, according to the others. I was fortunate to hit the best weather day (overcast and temperatures in the mid-70s) and fish with Alabama crappie pros Dan Dannenmueller and TJ Stallings. That duo produces the most popular crappie-related website on the Internet, They can catch fish too.

Article Photos

Dan Dannenmueller’s boat caught a lot of attention during his cruises on Pennsylvania waters.

Dannenmueller's boat caught a lot of attention during his cruises on the Pennsylvania waters. The brightly colored boat wrapped with his sponsor's logos first caught everyone's eye, then upon closer review they wondered about his unique 'spider rig' trolling system that extended beyond the boat's bow. Nearly 14 feet beyond.

"Where are you guys from," questioned more than a few passers-by. "Are you from down south?" one local boater shouted from a distance in the middle of the Mercer County lake.

"Yes, Alabama," answered Dannenmueller to the local angler. "I know they use that in the south," added the man. "Are you catching anything." Dannenmueller said "yes" and the man cruised by.

Fact Box

For in-depth fishing reports all year on the Northwest PA region, including Crawford and Mercer counties, visit their website at: or Darl Black's blogspot at:

We were catching fish that morning, about 45 total, but not too many large enough to push to the live well. Dannenmueller caught most of the bigger crappie. Most were of the black variety. With the three rods I was manning (PA allows three lines in the water), I caught mostly small black crappie, a few nice ones and nearly boated a nice 3-lb+ largemouth bass. That one would have been a good story, but it got away from the small crappie hooks we were using.

Of the five boats on Shenango that morning we caught the most fish. The southern boys' spider rig covered a lot of water with six 14-foot rods to work with. There were two hooks on each line, that featured popular crappie jigs, tipped with live minnows. The duo of hooks were about 30 inches apart, covering more vertical water. One set was near the bottom of the lake, hopping over old tree stumps, brush and humps in 8-12 feet of water.

Dannenmueller studied the lake bottom with his handy fishfinder before we dropped one line in the stained water.

Recording structure at the lake's bottom offers crappie fishermen a better chance of finding fish. We were searching for a submerged road bed located near the marina at Shenango. Dannenmueller found the old road, marked several GPS locators on his fishfinder and sketched our plan of attack for the day. It worked, as we were over fish for a good part of the morning session, leading to the nearly 50 fish we caught.

During the afternoon session I fished for bass with Gamma Lines owner Dale Black and Garmin Regional Sales Manager Mark McQuown. I caught a lone channel catfish during that session, but Dannenmueller, Stallings and writer Vic Attardo caught even more nice crappie along another section of the old road bed that afternoon.

The PA Crappie Camp was sponsored by the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Mercer County PA, Pymatuning State Park, TTI-Blakemore, BnM Poles, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Garmin and Gamma Lines.

Tourist information about the Pymatuning Lake and Conneaut Lake area are available at: or call 800-332-2338. For information about the Shenango River Lake region, visit: or call 800-637-2370.

For in-depth fishing reports all year on the Northwest PA region, including Crawford and Mercer counties, visit their website at: or Darl Black's blogspot at:



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