Whether you’re looking to catch more crappie or just fishing for some Continuing Education college credit, Johnson County Community College is offering a new $89 course that may be right up your alley.
The course is called “Crappie University” and it will meet once a week throughout February, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in Overland Park. The classes run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will also meet Feb. 13, 20 and 27.
“We did the Bassmaster University programs for about 25 years all over America,” White said. “Matter of fact, we’ve been in 130 colleges in the United States and Canada, including Johnson County. They were one of the very first places where we did the bass thing, years and years ago. So that’s what we’ve done with this new thing, we’ve really just kind of gone back to these colleges that did the bass thing.”
White said the decision to expand to a Crappie University course came because of high demand from anglers who went to Bassmaster University courses and because of the changing landscape of sportfishing.
“What’s happened with the crappie situation is that crappie fishing is where bass fishing was about 30 years ago,” White said. “They’re just now coming into their own as far as all these new techniques, new tackles, new ideas about how to catch crappie. In Oklahoma now, crappie have passed bass as the number one sportfish and it’s gaining nationwide.”
A question-and-answer session will be included each night to go over some of the newer and more advanced techniques in more detail, as well as covering the basics.
“When they started the bass fishing tournaments, after a while it came to be obvious that some of the things we thought we true about bass fishing were not true,” White said. “The bass fishermen brought in all of these new techniques and new tackle.
“So the same thing is happening here with the crappie tournaments. They’re developing new techniques to catch these fish. Same kind of jargon that went along with bass fishing — you know, bass fishing had the jig-and-pig and flipping and pitching and all these techniques — crappie fishing now has spider rigs and dock shooting and long-lining and all these techniques that are specific to crappie fishing.”
The JCCC curriculum will be taught by Barry Morrow, Terry Blankenship, Kevin Rogers and Jim Dant. Morrow is a crappie guide in Oklahoma and Missouri who has been featured on the Sportsman’s Channel. He has won three Crappie Masters events and is the back-to-back Missouri state champion. Blankenship is a frequent crappie tournament angler who has won more than 50 crappie tournaments and has been featured in numerous national magazines, TV shows and newspapers. Rogers and Dant are year-round crappie experts, and both fish competitively.
“We kind of play to the strengths of these guys,” White said. “Each one kind of has a technique that he favors, so that’s the one we let him teach.”
One of those strengths is dock shooting, a technique that crappie anglers can use to shoot a jig under a dock, bow-and-arrow style, where traditional casts couldn’t reach.
“The whole philosophy of dock shootingis that there are crappie under these docks that never see a lure,” White said. “They’re way back in the dark shade up under the docks. They never see a bait. So dock shooting allows you to get up under there to places you could never get without this technique.
“Guys that are really good at this, like Blankenship, they can make this thing skip 20 feet up under some of those docks.”
Other topics that will be covered during the course include traditional jig fishing, spider rigging, crappie behavior, the spawn and seasonal crappie patterns.
To enroll in the Crappie University course, contact JCCC’s Continuing Education office at (913) 469-2323 or enroll online at www.jccc.edu by clicking on classes, Continuing Education and searching for Crappie University. The enrollment fee covers all course materials, including samples of Bobby Garland crappie lures and jigheads.
The program will host classes at 15 different schools in 10 different states this winter, including two different campuses in Oklahoma (Rose State College in Oklahoma City and Tulsa Tech’s Owasso campus) that will teach both crappie and catfish techniques and a crappie-only course at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Mo.
White said the Bassmaster University program has visited other Kansas schools, such as Washburn University in Topeka, and has had a lot of success at community colleges in particular.
“I don’t know how many times we did the bass thing at Johnson County,” White said. “It’s gotta be at least 20 times over the years. We’ve changed instructors, changed course content and we draw a lot of the same people.”
With the new endeavor into crappie fishing, White said he hopes the program takes on a similar path as the original.
“This is not a seminar,” White said. “People say, ‘Well I’m gonna go out and hear this seminar.’ A seminar is what you see at the boat show or Bass Pro or something. This is an eight-hour course on crappie fishing strategies, so it goes way past the seminar stage.”
For more information on the Crappie University program, visit http://www.crappieuniversity.com/.