“In Your Face” Approach Leads to Victory for Capps and Coleman at Crappie USA Event


Battling wind and tough fishing conditions, the duo of Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman used pinpoint accuracy to win the Crappie USA Classic held on Kentucky Lake near Paris Landing in Tennessee.

“The presentation was key,” exclaimed Capps. “We put the bait right on the fish’s face and held it still without any boat movement.”

It was a presentation not everyone was able to employ. On one occasion, Capps and Coleman saw a boat in an area of stumps and brush piles the partners felt held a lot of fish. But after a short while, that boat left leaving the “honey hole” wide open for Capps and Coleman.

Capps feels that he was able to get more precise boat control than some of the competitors because of the touch and feel he gets with his Minn Kota 80-pound thrust Fortrex trolling motor. Boat positioning was everything to get the right bait presentation they needed to be successful.

“You really can’t use the technique we were using in 16 to 22 foot of water unless you can hold your boat on a dime,” said Capps. “If you can’t hold the boat, you can’t catch those fish. The bait has to be right on top of them. You want to be on that trolling motor the whole time.”

Part of that precise bait presentation included being able to mark the exact spot where the fish were located. In order to do that, Capps and Coleman made sure the length of the buoy ropes were the exact same depth as the water column they were fishing in. That way the buoy would stay vertical and not drift off the spot, even in the wind.

“I would try to place the buoy just upwind from the target and then position the boat just below the buoy,” said Capps. “This would allow us to put the bait right in front of the fish and hold it anywhere from one to two minutes.”

Capps added that the water temperature was still rather warm at 69 degrees, so the fish were not in much of a biting mood. That is why they had to keep the bait in place for such a long period of time. However, those warmer temperatures also meant the fish were holding in a tight school.”

“It was kind of like messing with a wasp nest, if you could get one of them to bite the whole bunch would go into a frenzy,” chuckled Capps.

Case in point, Capps and Coleman nabbed 14 crappies off the same spot where the other anglers had little success. By the end of the tournament, the team from Tiptonville, Tennessee, was able to weigh in a two-day total of 20.89 pounds to take first place. For the victory, they were awarded a fully rigged Ranger V 118-C boat and $1,000 in bonus money.

Capps and Coleman have been fishing together for almost 40 years, and using techniques like they did on Kentucky Lakes has established them as one of the teams to beat in every event they enter.

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