I would never say that I have the best equipment or the only equipment that catches crappie. I do, however, have some things that I know work and give me dependable service.

Even with the move by many crappie fishermen - especially tournament fishermen and crappie guides - toward long-lining jigs and pulling crankbaits, catching crappie with one jig and one jig pole is still a mainstay for lots of fishermen.

My favorite jig pole has been my favorite for well over 10 years. B'nM Pole Company, based out of West Point, sells a pole they call their Ultimate Jig Pole. I love fishing with these graphite poles - especially the 8-foot models. At the same time, let me warn you that the longer lengths in the Ultimate are too heavy for my liking. The 10-footer I have rarely gets picked up. It's just too danged heavy.

The short Ultimate pole just makes sense to me, and it feels good in my hand. I truly believe that because this pole is shorter, my reaction time is faster. For me, this shorter rod makes sense because it places my jig within the sonar shadow cast by my Garmin (the best ever for the money, in my humble opinion) fish-finder transducer, which is mounted on my trolling motor. I'm fishing what I see on my screen. Plus, the pecks I get with this shorter pole are more distinct than the pecks I feel with longer poles.

One of the latest jig poles from B'nM is the new Ultralites with the Touch System handle. If I'm fishing in shallow water, I pick up my 10-foot B'nM Ultralite. As advertised, this new model does have more sensitivity than other jig poles in similar lengths.

And I want to give another popular brand, the Wally Marshall line, some props here, too. I do love my Wally Marshall Trolling Poles. I have several 12- and 14-footers in both the Universal (that's the original) and the Pro Troller versions that I use in my Tite-Lok rod racks for slow-trolling minnows in open water. I grade the Tite-Loks only as acceptable, because I've seen other brands I like better. After years of hard use, I've never broken one of these quality rods other than the one I broke when I backed my boat into a fishing pier. My fault - not Wally Marhsall's.

I use ultra-light spinning reels exclusively on my drift rods and jig poles. I do not like those little plastic jobbers that many crappie fishermen use. Shimano is my brand of choice, with the Mitchell brand coming in a close second.

I've tried every brand of fishing line out there, I think, and my current favorite is the Mr. Crappie camo monofilament. It has great knot and tensile strength for its diameter. I personally like the 8-pound-test the best, but I find myself following the lead of more successful tournament fishermen and downsizing my 8-pound-test to 6-pound.

I'm going to give that 6-pound line a real test this next tournament season. The first 2-pounder that breaks me off will be the end of that experiment for me, I'm sure.

With the evolution of crappie-tournament fishing toward pulling crankbaits and jigs, I find that I'm now carrying several tackle boxes dedicated to tackle I didn't use to carry crappie fishing. I do love to pull crankbaits in the summer and fall. I have two personal favorite brands of cranks - the Mississippi-based Bandits and Cabela's Grave Diggers. Both are quality lures. The Grave Diggers are less expensive and, in my opinion, have better paint patterns.

For jig skirts, I prefer solid-body to hollow-body ones. I really like the Bobby Garland Baby Shad. I prefer its longer tail to the more popular Bass Assassin Tiny Shad. My secret "go-to" bait when things get tough is still a soft-plastic baby crawdad available through H&H Lure Co.

I'm not so proud of my Motor Guide Digital Tour Series trolling motor. It's been in the shop one too many times, and my fishing partners, who rarely run the trolling motor in my boat, claim my cable-steer Motor Guide works them too hard.

My biggest complaint with the Digital Tour Series Motor Guide is that it caused radio interference on my Lowrance fish finders. Why do you think I have Garmin fish finders on my boat?

As I write this column, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my brand-new electric-steer Minn Kota Terrova trolling motor with Auto Pilot and Co-Pilot features. Watch out long-liners, I'm gearing up for you. I understand that Minn Kota has made great quality improvements since buying the old OMC/Evinrude/Johnson line of trolling motors several years ago. They claim to be the leaders in the industry. We'll see. I sure hope so, given the price of one of these new units.

Of course a fisherman's most expensive piece of fishing gear is his ride. There are lots of really good boat brands out there. I've owned Bass Cats for the last several years, and they are well-built boats. I'm rough on all my equipment - especially my boats and motors. And my Bass Cats have proven to take my abuse again and again. Trust me. If I can't tear up one of these tanks, you can't either.

And my 1997 GMC pickup is the best ever. Love it, can't part with it. My truck and I have been to the lake hundreds of times catching 'em as big as they grow. One of my good buddies suggested that I trade it in for some of that Obama "clunker cash." Yeah, right!