Editor’s Note: Jordan Newsome of Iron Station, North Carolina, has crappie tournament fished for eight years but has been crappie fishing since he was a child. He fishes the Crappie USA Tournament Circuit (https://www.crappieusa.com/), the Central Carolina Crappie Trail
(https://www.crappie.com/crappie/north-carolina/423350-central-carolina-crappie-trail), the Yadkin River Crappie Trail (https://www.facebook.com/yadkinrivercrappietrail) and the Fish the Carolinas Crappie Trail (https://www.fishthecarolinas.org/). Newsome has become an expert on using the latest technology – the Garmin LiveScope – to catch crappie.
Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips: Jordan, how did you become interested in fishing with this latest technology – Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope – to find and catch big crappie?
Jordan Newsome: As a tournament crappie angler, I’ve realized you have to spend a few years competing before you gain enough experience to fish against the best crappie fishermen. I started out long-line trolling. But, when the LiveScope technology was introduced to the crappie world 3-years ago, I found myself losing to competitors who were using it. I realized quickly I’d either have to learn to embrace the LiveScope technology, or realize I’d get beat by it. On all the crappie tournament circuits I fish, I believe only one angler’s won a tournament not using LiveScope. Once I started using LiveScope, the technique of trying to catch single, large crappie became very addictive.
Since then, I’ve won several tournaments and come in second place in numbers of tournaments. I guess the best finish I’ve had is when I won the Classic held by the Carolina Crappie Association, which today is named the Fish the Carolinas Crappie Trail.
Phillips: How many fishermen will usually be in the crappie tournaments you fish?
Newsome: The tournaments I fish are usually two-man team tournaments, with about 25-30 boats in each tournament. Of course, national tournaments will have more boats and participants than area, regional and state tournaments. Any tournament I fish – I estimate 91% of the participants will be fishing with LiveScope.
Phillips: What is the Garmin LiveScope?
Newsome: Most fishermen are familiar with 2D sonar that shoots a cone angle straight down under your boat and enables you to see the bottom, its structure and the crappie – if there are any holding in that structure. LiveScope shoots a transducer cone that shows what’s in front of and under the boat and all the way around the boat underwater. So, instead of just looking under the boat, you can look below the boat and all the way around the boat to spot baitfish, crappie and other fish – 360 degrees all the way around the boat. I’ve mounted my LiveScope on the shaft of my trolling motor, although there are several ways to mount a LiveScope transducer. As I turn my trolling motor shaft to the left, the right, the front and the back of my boat, I can scan everything underwater up to 60-feet away from the boat. The LiveScope will scan out to about 100-feet away from the boat. But I’ve found that, at least for me, I get a better, clearer signal that shows the structure and the fish when I use 60 feet as the maximum distance I want to see from my boat.
To learn more about crappie fishing in the fall and winter, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter,” available in Kindle, print and Audible at https://www.amazon.com. At this writing, some states are still having deer seasons which run through February 10th and others last even longer. To learn more about hunting for deer, check out John E. Phillips’ “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” now available as of January 1, 2022, in Audible, as well as paperback and Kindle at https://www.amazon.com. You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on the books, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the book for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.
Tomorrow: How to Find and Catch the Biggest Crappie