On any given late spring or summer evening, on lakes throughout the Carolinas, the “midnight shift” of crappie fishermen head for the water. They arrive as the sun starts sinking, and by dusk, they’re rigged and ready with powerful, submersible lights, plenty of bait and multiple crappie rigs to attract and catch crappies.

This faction of hard-core, nocturnal crappie fishermen generally refer to themselves as “nightstalkers.” Among the best, and certainly one of the most experienced, is Robert “Rango” Plemmons from Rock Hill, S.C. 

Plemmons has honed his crappie fishing for a half-century, over the past 48 years focused primarily on nighttime fishing for crappie using lights. Much of his fishing is on his home lake, Lake Wylie, on the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, but he’s fished many lakes in the Carolinas, and his method has proven productive everywhere he’s fished.

“I’ve fished all over the Carolinas and beyond,” Plemmons said. “Nightstalking is the name we’ve taken, because we simply enjoy fishing at night. We’ve even held tournaments between North Carolina and South Carolina anglers, as well as competing with nightstalking teams from Georgia.” 

Plemmons, 70, said his passion for nightstalking came from his love for catching crappie and the serenity of the nighttime hours. He also enjoys the opportunity to fish with others who share the same fishing passion.

In 2004, Plemmons began fishing with O.T. Phonephet of Gastonia, N.C.; they’ve developed a crappie-catching partnership bordering on legendary. Rodger Taylor, a catfish guide on Lake Wylie, said when local anglers discovered where Plemmons and Phonephet were launching their boat on any given