Twayne Hosea has literally spent years in pursuit of his first-ever 3-pound-plus white crappie at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park.
He’s come agonizingly close on several occasions, falling just hundredths of an ounce short of the mythical 3-pound mark.
But the 68-year-old angler, who has a house on the lake north of Delhi in Richland Parish, made his first 3-pounder count when he caught a giant slab late Thursday afternoon that tipped Poverty Point Marina’s certified scales at 3.52 pounds — potentially the state’s brand new No. 2-ranked sac-a-lait, and the largest ever at Poverty Point.
“I’ve come so close to 3 pounds. A couple of evenings ago I caught a 2.96, and my twin brother Dwayne caught one beside me that was a 2.91,” Hosea said. “So we knew we were fishing over some good fish.
“I’ve been fishing here since the lake opened, and I’ve been trying to catch that 3-pound fish ever since. It took me a long time to get there — but I got there.”
Hosea said he caught the big female at about 6 p.m. within sight of his pier on the north end of the lake in a spot locals refer to as “the hump off the graveyard.”
“It was a little bit slow — I think I ended up yesterday with seven fish,” he said Friday morning. “I had just caught a nice fish, probably a half-pound, and as soon as I set the hook on this one, it felt like a log.
“I knew I had a good fish, because I know what a 2-pound or 2 ½-pound fish feels like.”
Hosea caught the big crappie with a 1-inch bluegrass Bobby Garland Baby Shad jig on a ⅛-ounce jighead about 4 ½ feet down in 6 feet of water.
“I only jig fish with a rubber jig or a hair jig,” he said. “I don’t use shiners. It’s strictly jig fishing. I don’t use any kind of artificial garlic or spray or Nibbles — just a straight rubber jig.”
Hosea was fishing with a 10-foot B’n’M crappie pole, and a Mr. Crappie Jigging Reel spooled with 12-pound Stren mono.
“Most people use 6- or 8-(pound test line), but I fish in a lot of cover and brushtops, and I don’t like to retie so often,” Hosea said. “I use a little bit heavier jighead so the weight can pull the line down but still have a good feel to it.”
Hosea said he always uses red lead heads with gold hooks when crappie fishing at Poverty Point.
“Everybody has something they believe and trust in. I like a red head. I see people right beside me fishing with a black head, a pink head an orange head - but I’ve had better luck with a red head,” he said. “I don’t know if it makes a world of difference, but it does to me.
“You gotta believe in what you use.”
With the long rod and the short depth he was fishing in, Hosea said he had to raise both arms up above his head to get the big fish within range of his net.
“He was fighting so hard and running away from me, my line was straight out in front of me. He almost got close to another guy’s boat that was next to me,” he said. “I finally got the net under him and my heart just settled down then because I knew he was a good fish.
“I knew he was over 3 pounds.”
On his digital scale Thursday evening, the weight bounced between 3.6 and 3.7. The marina was closed, so he placed the big crappie in his livewell at the end of his pier to keep it swimming until he could make his way to the certified scales this morning.
He admitted to being a little worried about the fish overnight, since otters have wreaked havoc on some of the baskets, eating through nets to get to the fish inside.
“I told a friend last night, ‘I have him in my livewell, but I think I”m going to take him out of there and sleep with him tonight,” Hosea said with a chuckle.
The big fish ultimately measured 17 ½ inches long, with a 15 ½-inch girth. If certified by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, it will become the new No. 2-ranked white crappie in the state — only Tim Ricca’s 3.80-pounder that was caught in Lake Verret is bigger.
Hosea, who admittedly despises spider-rigging, said he fishes with two poles in his hands, and really enjoys when a big crappie hooks up.
“I love to feel that thump,” he said. “That’s the thrill right there — it’s the thump. I like to hold the pole, and I like the feeling when he hits it.”
When the taxidermist is done, the 3.52-pounder will eventually join a 2.6-pound crappie that Hosea already has on his wall from Lake Fork in Texas.
“I thought that was a monster,” he said. “But now I’ve caught so many over 2.6 it’s unreal. I told my brother — the only goal we have now is to break the state record.”