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ICAST 2019 Live Update Coverage

One for the Enthusiasts: The Shimnao Antares A70 Baitcaster with MGIII


Small but Mighty, the Megabass Dark Sleeper Swimbait
SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster

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Event Article


Living the Dream – Big Bass Crappie Dreams (continued)


Oliver had a Megabass Orochi XX spinning rod already rigged with this braid setup so I proceeded to use his outfit for the rest of the day. It is by far the longest period of time that I have ever ripped jerkbaits with a spinning outfit, let alone with braided line.



Thumbs up as we find the "right kind" of fish

It didn’t take long for me to start drawing strikes and every few casts Oliver reminded me to let out more line and make longer and sweeping pulls, allowing the bait to really dart erratically rather than retrieve in parallel and advance the bait forward too much during each rip.


Oliver puts on a crappie sight fishing clinic

His coaching worked and my strike ratio improved, which is more than I can say for my landing ratio. Being such an experienced crappie angler (not) I probably made every mistake in the book, and the first few fish that struck the bait either came off because I wasn’t used to the braid and my overly enthusiastic sets ripped the baits right off their mouths, or if I kept them pinned through the strike I still lost them as I failed to lift the crappies cleanly into the boat, allowing their paper-mouths to break as they splashed on the surface.


The crappie fishing starts getting crazy. Big Crappie Dreams!

In addition to blind casting Vision 110’s we also took the Dream Machine into shallow water, sight fishing for crappie. The Megabass Hazedong rigged on a drop shot was absolute money, but just like when targeting largemouth sight fishing for crappies required proper placement, finesse, and a whole lot more persistence than I have ever put in for any single slab.


We worked this crappie for nearly 45 minutes!


At one point as Oliver was filming he joked “it is a good thing we brought extra batteries” as I worked a single crappie for over 40 minutes before handing the rod over to Oliver to show me how to get the job done.


BCD! Big Crappie Dreams

Through the day my respect for these crappie grew quickly, and they certainly proved to be a whole lot more wily and tenacious than I had ever given them credit for. Truth be told the vast majority of crappie that I have caught over the years has been by accident when fishing drop shot rigs or paddletails for largemouth… by-catch.


Just like giant bass Oliver relishes in the crappie joy

The coolest thing about the day was I was learning a whole lot about crappie fishing, but also having a lot of fun in the process fishing for a species that I normally did not target. That is when the light bulb finally went off.


The Big Crappie Dreams (BCD) movement was not about actually shifting from largemouth bass to the “real star of the North American sunfish species” but rather a satirical take on bass fishing and today’s fishing climate and mentality. The BCD movement was never really just about the crappie, though they are amazingly more fun and challenging to catch than most bass anglers give them credit for, but rather a reminder to everyone to take a moment to remember what bass fishing is all about.


Maybe there is something to these crappies

Oliver talked about how too many anglers, himself included, have taken the hunt for giant fish much too seriously, losing sight of just how special and joyous those moments and time spent fishing should be. Having fun is what it is all about, and with that declaration he finally picked up his Megabass Onager and started casting a Defiant swimbait. As he loaded way back and launched the 6oz. bait Oliver talked about how his early days saltwater fishing are what helped mold his big bait casting techniques.


By the end of the day I was on the crappie train

Oliver credits this open approach and the skills learned through the pursuit of so many different species and applications for creating the foundation for not only the successful pursuit of giants but the very creation of his Big Bass Dreams lifestyle brand.


Throughout the rest of the day we fished all the way until sunset, targeting a mix of fish and landing smallies, largemouth, and more crappie. Oliver fishes hard and by the end of the day I joked about how my lazy retrieve was just as effective, as my hands were feeling pretty raw as a result of ripping with spinning gear all day.


The crappie, and Oliver's BCD satire, is reminding anglers to not take the pursuit of giants too seriously and to take the time to enjoy everything that fishing has to offer, including just having fun

We fished until dark and ended up landing over fifty fish on the Dream Machine, but none was more special than the very last one. I had already finished fishing when Oliver stated “one last cast” and that he wouldn’t even open his eyes on this one. As the sun set behind the hills he cast a Vision 110 towards the bank and turned away from the line, proceeded to actually close his eyes while ripping the bait back to the boat. I laughed at first but stopped laughing as he set into a fish, and declared that it was the “right kind,” and proceeded to not only retrieve but land a crappie, all while his head was still turned and his eyes were still closed. If I hadn’t seen it myself I never would have believed it, and I shook my head all the while in disbelief and amusement. Hard to believe right? Like many of his catches Oliver had the GoPro running the whole time and has footage of the entire blind cast to catch moment.


The end of a real crappie day... an epic one at that with over 50 fish boated

The satirical BCD movement is a good reminder of what fishing should be first and foremost, and that is fun. Fishing brings people together and the very principles behind the creation of Big Bass Dreams extend far beyond the gamefish so many of us love to pursue. Sometimes it is fun to take a moment to do something different, to take a step back and savor the moment, and to not take something too seriously. On this day the crappie helped do exactly that for the two of us, and while I won’t be trading in my big bait wrap for a tray of crappie jigs anytime soon I will certainly relish those Big Crappie Dreams.


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