by Tim Huffman
Danny and Beth Williamson is one of our top male/female teams who actively fish the tournament trail. They are sponsored by The Crappie Shop in Georgia, Show Down Baits, AWD Baits, Humminbird, Minn Kota, and Williamson Body Repair.
The Georgia team enjoys the competition and often finishes high in the standings. However they say that the friends they’ve made and continue to make are what makes the traveling worthwhile. Beth is what she calls ‘house mom’ for a bunch of hungry fishermen and friends who come over to eat.
The team took time out of their classic schedule to take me on the media fishing event. I had the opportunity to fish in the back of the boat with Beth while Danny controlled the trolling motor and fished long poles out the front. “We’re targeting the fish in open, deep water,” says Beth, “because they are not as susceptible to water fluctuations and weather pattern changes. Also, with the rains it appears things are going to start muddying up in the shallower water. Another reason is that the shallow fish are getting beat to death right now.”
The team found the best results on days when wind blows and skies are overcast. “We would be tickled to death if it rained the whole tournament. I think the fish probably hit better when it’s cloudy because of the fronts coming in. On an incoming front they bite the best. The barometer is bad after the front and when the sun pops back out.”
Their baits include Road Runner heads, Show Down heads, AWD curly tails all tipped with large minnows. The minnow size was important with the fish not liking medium or small ones. To get their baits to fall to the right depth they use Vicious 4-pound test clear fluorocarbon or monofilament line.
The team longline trolls out of the front and the back. They’ll vary jig weights with a common rig being a 1/4-ounce on top and either a 1/8- or 1/16-on bottom. The team lets out different amounts of line until they find the right depth where they catch fish. (Depth is a factor of boat speed, weight, line diameter and line length. Vary any factor and the bait depth changes). Instead of casting out they simply drop the bait in the water with the boat moving, open the bail and start counting. If fish start hitting the pole set at a count of 45 they can adjust other baits to that line count.
Beth changes colors often. “I like to work with craft products so some of these wild colors and bait variations are right down my ally. About the only thing Danny ever complains to me about is that I need to keep my baits wet to catch fish. But if I’m not catching fish I’m going through the colors. When I do find a crazy color or beads, spinner or something else that works Danny doesn’t mind switching baits. As far as colors we’ll use the Spike-It Color C Lector and here at the classic practice we’ve had good success with an AWD june bug/red tail. We use a lot of Show Down jigs and Earl (Brink) has always been good to give us tips and help us, too.”
Danny kept the boat around 2.0 miles per hour during our Grenada practice/media event. We stayed in relatively deep water with baits in the 13 to 17 foot range but again, the key was how many line counts, not their exact depth, that was important.
Keeping fish alive was a problem at the classic for many of the teams. Danny and Beth keep a thermometer in the livewell and keep water about 15 degrees cooler than the surface temperature, or at about 70 degrees. They used Catch & Release, had oxygen available and used zip-lock bags with frozen water. They put the ice packs in bigger plastic bags in the cooler just to keep the ice bags from knocking the fish in the head when running down the lake.
What do you like about fishing the Crappie Masters tournaments? Danny says, “Being in the hot seat at the Alabama River was fun. We finished ninth overall and was the top male/female team. We always enjoy fishing and have fished together since 1993 when we got married.”
Favorite lakes? Beth says, “We enjoy Talquin for the number and size; and the fish from the vegetation are pretty. Our favorite is probably Ross Barnett. Wow, what a fishery. We are planning to go there again.”
Crappie Masters is proud of both fishermen and glad to have them as one of the regular fishing teams. I personally thank them for a good morning in the boat, a lot of fish with some good kickers, Beth for working hard to untangle the line messes I caused, and for their fishing tactics and tips they shared to pass along to other fishermen.