Crappie assassins are made, not born

“I fish four days a week, sometimes five,” Murphy Royer said. “Monday and Tuesday, I fish. Wednesday I clean fish and do chores. Thursday and Friday, I fish, and Saturday I clean fish and do chores.

“But when my grandson Ayden Royer is in town, I will fish on weekend days, too.”

The 65-year-old has been fishing that pace for three years.

“I love it so much. It’s just a passion — it’s a challenge,” Royer said. “Unless you get on a pattern, it’s different every time.”

While Royer fished some for crappies as a youngster, he became serious in 1975 when he began fishing with brother-in-law Chester Trahan.

“He was good at it,” Royer said. “He learned from his parents. Every weekend we fished out of his boat for 1 ½ years. Then I got my own boat and started fishing alone a lot.

“I averaged fishing every other weekend because I had to work a lot of weekends,” Royer said. “That’s why I couldn’t wait to retire — so I could fish 24/7.”

He started tying his own jigs in 1989. Before that he used Slater Jigs, and before that he used live shiners.

“Shiners die on you. You have to rebait too much,” Royer groaned. “If you can use one jig to catch 300 fish, why use shiners?

“I did that once on Saline Lake. The jig was beat-up when I was done, but it lasted.”

Royer fishes most frequently in Lake Henderson and the Atchafalaya Basin. He also fishes often in Miller’s Lake, Spring Bayou, Saline-Larto, Black Lake-Clear Lake, French Fork and Old River.

He also has a long list of “once-in-a-while lakes.”

He used to be a regular tournament fisherman and admitted to loving it. But he gave it up because of pre-fishing.

“I can’t fish a tournament without pre-fishing,” Royer said.

He mostly fishes solo.

“I love being on the water alone,” Royer said. “I’m not unfriendly— just few people can fish as often as I do.

“The way my boat is set up, it’s just as easy to position it for fishing with two people as one.”

On non-fishing days, Royer often hangs out at Superior Repair Services, a Lafayette trolling motor repair shop. He cooks there (he’s a Cajun, yeah) once a month, and lots of fishermen come by to eat.

Royer has it bad.

“I even dream about catching sac-a-lait,” he admitted with a guilty smirk. “I missed one at Black Lake; it was right there at the boat, and the nut holding the reel spool came loose and the line started backing off. I tried grabbing the line, but it had already spit the hook. It was over 3 pounds. I dreamed about that for a long time; it would have been my first 3-pounder.

“Even when I first started fishing, I would dream about that cork going under.”

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.