Crappie anglers can still live the dream

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  • Jerry Thompson, founder and owner of Living The Dream guide service on Toledo Bend has been living his dream for the past 20 years guiding crappie anglers. Courtesy photo
    Jerry Thompson, founder and owner of Living The Dream guide service on Toledo Bend has been living his dream for the past 20 years guiding crappie anglers. Courtesy photo
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With the pandemic and political unrest festering across the world, it may be difficult to even think about finding fun things to do. Nasty stuff is going on that is causing us to focus on just keeping our heads above water and doing our best not to let negatives take over.

It’s time to take a deep breath and realize that we’re still who we were prior to the anxiety and concern caused by the spread of COVID. It’s time to think about relaxing and calming activities, things like hunting and fishing.

Deer season is going full swing in Louisiana and scores of hunters are relaxing and enjoying just being out in the woods and at least for a little while becoming one with nature.

Then there is fishing. Although bluegills have slowed down quite a bit here in early November, other species are still going strong. Bass fishermen are enjoying the thrill of playing games with their favorite fish. One of the more popular species is crappie. With weather transitioning from hot to warm; from cool to cold, what is the best way to find and catch these popular fish that are now on the move?

Louisiana Tech graduate, Jerry Thompson, founder and owner of Living The Dream Guide Service on Toledo Bend knows that to provide success and ample action to satisfy the one thing that keeps him in business, that being his customers, his guides have to keep up with the crappie as they make their move from where they were a month ago to where they are now and where they’ll be a month from now.

“As water temperatures slowly drop, crappie are making their move. They are pretty much gone from the brush piles that attracted them all summer as they make their way to their winter habitat in the deeper channels. To be honest, fishing is generally tougher until they get to where they’ll be spending the winter,” Thompson said.

Thompson said that anytime they start migrating, there are certain areas along the migration route that his guides target.

“We’ll start picking up fish around the bridges and points. You won’t catch the numbers you would when in summer the fish are bunched up around brush. You pick up a few in one spot and move to another to catch a few more. Our guides just keep on the move to pick up some here and there but we have found that this time of year, the crappie we catch tend to be larger,” he said.

Thompson started his guide service 20 years ago on Toledo Bend at the urging of some friends he had taken fishing who saw the potential he had to make such a venture pay off.

“This February 20 years ago, I bit the bullet, sold everything I owned, bought me an old 30 foot travel trailer. I set myself up to be able to make it a couple of years just to see if I could make it work. I actually came to Toledo Bend to guide bass fishermen because fishing for bass was my first love. It didn’t take me long to realize there was a market for guiding crappie fishermen,” Thompson continued.

“I decided to give it a shot, bought an old pontoon boat and started taking groups of people. Crappie fishing was the key to our having the success we are now experiencing.”

Today, Thompson’s business features 12 guides that serve both bass and crappie clients. He is in the process of constructing a marina off Highway 6 on the lake.

“It went from a dream to what we have today,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome to actually be doing something you envisioned and seeing it work out the way it has. This is why the name of my business, Living The Dream Guide Service, is so appropriate; it’s pretty awesome.”

To contact Thompson, go to ltdguideservice@gmail.com.