Jeremie Reeves of Gilbert has only been to Bussey Brake Reservoir north of Bastrop one time for about 45 minutes and he’s seen three crappie on his forward-facing sonar. The first was about a pound and he caught it. The second was about a pound and a half and he caught it. The third was, as he says, “Whoa, that’s the one I’m looking for.”
It was a 3.76 pound white crappie sitting by a stump in about 10 feet of water and yes, he caught it, too. It was weighed on certified scales and was witnessed by an LDWF biologist and it is the second-biggest white crappie ever caught in the state.
“I’ve been catching some huge crappie in a lake up in Arkansas and I was headed there,” he said of his Feb. 18 trip. “But a friend told me I should go to Bussey and I decided to try it. It was my first trip there and I decided I was going to look for some 10 foot water where the fish might be staging pre-spawn. It didn’t take me long to find a spot and I caught those two smaller fish. Then I saw the big one. I dropped down on her and she swam off the stump, but didn’t bite for some reason. The wind blew me past the stump and I tried again and she nailed it.”
The big slab hit a hand-tied 1/16th ounce chartreuse and orange hair jig with a silver lead head that Reeves tied himself, which made it even sweeter.
He weighed it on his scales and it weighed 3 pounds, 12 ounces. He and his son had just looked at the records a week or so earlier and he knew he was close. He found out about the certified scales at the boat dock, took her in and weighed her, took pictures and turned her back into the lake to produce more big crappie.
“That’s just the right thing to do” he said. “Everybody likes to eat crappie and there’s nothing wrong with that, but these great big old ones, they need to go back and help make the lake better.”
Reeves almost didn’t go to Bussey, but he said the Good Lord must have kept tugging at him to go. So he did. And he expected big things.
“When I left the house that morning, I told my wife I was going to go to Bussey and catch the state record,” he said. They both laughed. But he almost did. And you can be sure, he’ll give Bussey another try when he gets his corn crop planted and puts in a little time on his other favorite sport, turkey hunting.
Bussey now lays claim to four of the top five white crappie in the state records maintained by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association. Tim Ricca caught the record 3.80 white crappie on Lake Verret in May, 2010. Reeves takes over the second spot followed by three more fish from Bussey, a 3.65 caught by Shane Hodge in February 2022; a 3.60 caught by Anthony Griffith in February 2021 and a 3.57 caught by Stephen Adams in February 2022.
Even though Bussey is an old fishing hole, the six-year closure of the lake for renovations has made it basically a “new” lake. Because of that, it’s still a work in progress and anglers are encouraged to release the big fish being caught so they can continue to populate the lake for years to come. The limit on crappie is 25 per fisherman per day with a 10-inch minimum length. The limit on bass is five and anglers may keep one bass more than 16 inches long; otherwise the maximum length is 16 inches.
Because of the number of large fish being caught here, pressure on the lake is high and anglers are encouraged to arrive early, be patient and be considerate of other anglers.
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