What was scheduled as a meet-and-greet, bass-fishing outing on Lake Russell turned into a perch-jerking event this past Saturday for several members of the Upstate SC Kayak Fishing Club, including Bryan Starks of Simpsonville, who landed a crappie that weighed nearly 3 ½ pounds.

“The morning was rainy and had turned off cold, but several of the members said they had heard the crappie were biting, so my dad and I packed our crappie rods,” said Starks. “Most of the club members were trolling jigs trying to catch crappie.”

Starks was trolling a jig-and-minnow combination from his Hobie Outback kayak in Latimer Creek around standing timber when one of his four rods he was longline trolling bent over. Much to his delight, the biggest crappie he had ever seen was hooked on the jig.

“I was using a Stump’s Jigs & Flies hand-tied jig with a minnow on a hook tied in-line, kind of like a stacker rig, above the jig. The jig was 1/16-ounce, pink/silver/blue. I was longlining in water around 26 feet deep with a lot of submerged timber. The jig was maybe 6 to 8 feet deep.”

During the lunch break, Starks was curious what the big crappie would weigh and had another club member, Ronnie McKee, weigh it on his hand-held, digital scales. The fish weighed 3 pounds, 7 ounces.

With no livewell on his kayak, Starks fished the rest of the afternoon, towing the crappie on a stringer behind his kayak. At the end of the day, he took the fish to Sportman’s One Stop in Iva to enter it in the store’s big-crappie contest. The fish weighed 3 pounds at that point.

“I really don’t crappie fish much, so this was an awesome fish for me,” said Starks. “I didn’t even have the jigs until I bought them the morning of the outing.”