Top picks from “Bruiser Bob’s” crappie fishing closet

Bob Mitcham’s man cave has more than fluffy recliners, a big screen TV, and all kinds of fishing and hunting signage, photos and memorabilia.

It also has an ice machine, a refrigerator and — of course — a double fish-cleaning sink. I also noted two pairs of tall boots in the corner, but I won’t speculate what they might be used for in relation to some of the fish stories that get told in there.

But best of all, it has a built-in fishing tackle store right in his closet. No kidding.

What would you expect from “Bruiser Bob,” as some of his crappie crazy friends know him. In fact, he doesn’t even need wallpaper. Bob Mitcham’s walls are lined with fishing rods.

But that isn’t what fishermen headed to D’Arbonne want to learn from him. This is:

“I am pretty set on the type of equipment that I like to use, and there is a reason for all of it,” Mitcham said. “That starts with the top of my head, where I like to wear my Crappieholic cap, because that’s what I am.

“I normally fish with 10- or 11-foot rods, and I primarily vertical fish with one or two poles. I like to feel the tap when the crappie hits the bait. My two favorite rods are the 11-foot B’n’M Ultra Light or the 10-foot Wohalia Steel Eagle. Both are light and have excellent balance, almost like holding a feather.”

One of Bob’s favorite reels is the Daiwa US40 spincast, but the small-diameter reel fished deep tends to twist the line. So he is switching to more use of the Mr. Crappie Solo jigging reel, which is very similar to the B’n’M Uncle Buck’s Ultralight crappie reel.

Either way, he spools up P-Line monofiliment, usually 8-pound test in bright, chartreuse hi-visibility color because it’s a good, dependable line that is easy to see and has good feel.

What are his favorite lures? Mitcham likes plastic tails, preferably Stinger Shad or Bobby Garland, on his jigheads.

As for favorite colors, he fishes a rainbow of colors and can’t even narrow it down to a Top 10. Among his favorites for D’Arbonne are blue thunder, blue thunder with chartreuse, popsicle, electric chicken, monkey milk and Cajun cricket.

He uses 1/16-ounce jigs when fishing deeper than the length of his pole, and turns to 1/32-ounce jigs when fishing shallow. He fishes a lot of natural lead jig heads, but also likes pink and chartreuse. At times, orange has been productive.

Two very important things include how he attaches his bait to the line and what he tips it with.

“I like to use a Mustad Size 2 snap hook to attach the bait to,” he said. “It allows the bait to move naturally. I like the Mustad (snap hooks) because they are bronze, but sometimes they are hard to find. Fast Snap makes a good one, too, but it is silver. It probably doesn’t make any difference, but I like the bronze.”

And then, on every bait he throws for D’Arbonne crappie, he tips the hook with a crappie bite. It doesn’t matter what color, he says, as long as it is chartreuse.

He even has a favorite net to land those crappie when all the other equipment works right. It’s a 5-foot Cummings with a rubber netting so those sharp little jigheads won’t get hung up and delay catching another fish.

About Kinny Haddox 597 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.