Everyone Loves a Good Crappie Fishing Story
In almost two years of writing for Premier Angler, I have found at least one absolute constant: people love to read about massive crappie! Next to catching them, reading about them (and looking at them) seems to be the next best thing.
Missouri Angler Mark Wilson almost broke the internet in late 2019 with his 3.68 pound Truman Lake crappie. Robert Loar and Josh Jackson followed with massive slabs of their own.
Throughout a pandemic-ridden 2020, thousands were also duped into believing a giant 21-inch crappie had been landed in Ohio – spoiler: it was fake news.
Knowing that everybody loves a good crappie story, our staff reached out to Berry Walker of Raleigh, North Carolina last April to share yet another amazing tale.
As it happens, life can get in the way sometimes. But fortunately, we were finally able to reconnect with Berry and are now able to share one of the most unbelievable crappie fishing stories we’ve ever heard.
Perhaps the Most Impressive Single-Day Crappie Fishing Feat We’ve Ever Seen
As someone who has spent a lot of time fishing for crappie, I have yet to break into the coveted “3-pound” category – perhaps the holy grail of crappie fishing. We’ve talked to plenty of experienced tournament anglers who have yet to cross that threshold, so that gives you an idea of just how rare a feat it really is.
For Berry Walker, however, not only did he catch one impressive crappie on April 29, 2020 – he landed a trifecta!
This was not merely beginner’s luck, however. Walker has paid his dues. Like so many, he took up fishing as a child and continued well into adulthood.
“I have been fishing since I was ten years old in North Carolina, catching fish such as bass, crappie, bream and catfish,” said Walker. “Since I was kid, it has always been about trying to catch the biggest fish I could. Mainly I’m going for bass or crappie.”
Not Just Settling for Slabs
While bass may be the most popular freshwater sport fish in the world, Walker’s focus has mainly been on catching crappie in recent years.
“I can say I have had a few nice bass snap my line when I was younger (due to inexperience)”, Walker said. “But I was always most excited about spring time crappie fishing between March and June. One, they are great to eat. Two, they are fun to catch on an a ultra-light reel with a jig or minnow And three, you can catch them in large numbers. If you catch a big one, you’ve also got bragging rights.”
As Walker got older, work became a priority and fishing fell to the wayside. He still dreamed of landing a huge, 10-pound bass, but was stuck with a personal best of 7 pounds. He also had loads of crappie to his name.
A Change of Direction
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, however, Walker’s professional life changed. And so did his fishing fortunes.
“Like many people in this nation, when Covid-19 hit, worked stopped for me,” said Walker. “I found myself with nothing to do. I finally said to myself, ‘this is what I have always asked for.’ Not the pandemic, but the time to go fishing every day with no worries as an working adult. So that’s what I did.”
And, like so many others, Walker chose to pursue one of the most popular (and safest) pandemic-era pastimes: fishing!
“I have a few friends that always want me to catch crappie to eat, so that’s what I sought to do,” said Walker. “My girlfriend at the time was mad that I only wanted to go fishing, but it was my time to take advantage of the situation.”
Walker used the time well. He fished a variety of popular lakes in North Carolina.
“I fished Jordan, Shearon Harris, Lake Michie, and Falls Lake in North Carolina for crappie. I had some luck, catching average-sized fish and good numbers, but nothing to brag about,” said Walker. “So I decided to try and fish a smaller body of water versus going out on a boat.”
The decision absolutely paid off!
The Crappie Before the Storm
As with many things in life, success comes after breaking down a barrier. For Walker, he managed to land an impressive personal best crappie just two days before putting together one of the most impressive feats imaginable.
“On April 27 around 9:00 a.m., I got some minnows and went crappie fishing. I caught a few, and then my bobber goes under just like any other time. I had a fish. It had a nice fight to it,” said Walker.
“When it got closer, I saw it was a crappie. It was a big one. It was the biggest I had seen to date. Filled with excitement, I called my girlfriend (who didn’t want me to go fishing in the first place) and told her I caught a trophy fish.
She was happy for me but less enthused and my buddy Ron, who was able to take the picture of me that day,” said Walker. “I guess he would be the only person to know about my honey hole.”
Given that the crappie bite can “turn off” out of nowhere, it quickly seemed like Walker’s moment of success had run dry, however.
“To my surprise, I fished another hour and caught nothing,” he said.
“Once I got home and measured the fish, it was 16 inches long and weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces. I told friends about it but would not disclose the location of my catch.”
After catching the largest crappie of his life, Walker did the same exact thing so many of us would.
“I had to go back and try again,” Walker said.
Coming Prepared to Catch Crappie
Two days later, Walker returned to his “honey hole.” This time, he wasn’t going for quantity, however.
He was looking for a monster slab!
“April 29, 2020 will probably go down as my best day on the water ever,” he said. “I had the same objective as before: catch crappie! This time, though, I came with 4 of my fishing poles instead of two. Open face spinning reels – Quantum fishing reels with 8lb test line.”
Walker also approached his banner day with the most simple, tried-and-tested crappie fishing rig of all time.
“I used minnows with a bobber,” Walker said. “I fished between 7am to 11am this day. I would say within fifteen minutes of me setting up, I had a fish on.”
When the Fish Are Biting Like Crazy!
The bite came quickly that day, and it came hard.
The crappie were so aggressive, in fact, that Walker could hardly keep up once the first fish hit his line.
“This fish hit hard, just like the one I had caught a few days earlier,” said Walker. “I saw it was another crappie, except I could tell that this one was way bigger. I was hoping for a record fish.”
Before he could land the slab, though, another big crappie hit.
“While pulling that first one in, my other bobber went down. I had another fish on. This time, I was just hoping I didn’t lose it since I had my hands full with the other fish,” Walker said.
Somehow, Walker was able to land both massive fish.
“I got him to the bank and on a stringer I ha, and was able to get to my other rod,” he said.
“To my disbelief, it was another large crappie. It wasn’t as big as the first one I caught, but still one to brag about. I said to myself, ‘this is going to be a record setting day.’”
And it absolutely was!
“I would say after another fifteen minutes of waiting, I had another huge crappie on,” said Walker. “I got him to the bank and realized he was just as big as the first one I caught! I was shaking with excitement.”
A Day of Fishing He’ll Never Forget
By this point, Walker knew he had accomplished what was likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime day of fishing. Even he couldn’t have imagined just how impressive the feat was, though.
“Once I got the fish home, I had two crappies that measured a little over 18 inches in length. I had a third that was 15 inches in length,” said Walker.
“My largest crappie was 3 pounds, 12 ounces. The second largest was 3 pounds, 8 ounces.”
Ironically, Walker referred to his third fish as the “smallest.” It weighed in at an enviable 2 pounds, 2 ounces – an impressive catch for almost any crappie angler out there.
Before going home, however, Walker spent a little extra time on the water in hopes of adding a fourth giant slab to his tally.
“I fished for another hour that day, but only caught small ones around six inches,” Walker said. “I had my buddy Ron come back out to take pictures.”
Reflecting on an Epic Achievement
As we mentioned, landing a three-pound crappie is a career milestone for most anglers. Only a handful have ever landed more than one in their lifetime, and far fewer have caught two in a single day.
Throw in his 2-2 kicker, though, and Berry Walker may have accomplished one of the single most impressive feats a crappie angler can manage.
“I don’t feel there has been anyone that I have seen with three crappie that weighed almost 10 pounds in one fishing trip,” said Walker. “My only regret is not getting them certified and understanding the process of getting that done, but at least I have a good story to tell.”
Just as the pandemic freed up time for Walker to fish in April 2020, however, life also put the brakes on his fishing for the time being.
Around the same time, Walker’s son was due to be born. He came a little later – May 9 – but fatherly duties took over.
Still, Walker is hopeful to get back on the water sooner rather than later. When he does, he will definitely be returning to his North Carolina honey hole.