20 Questions with a Crappie Pro Series 3 Tom Hankins

20 Questions with a Crappie Pro Series 3

Tom Hankins

Name: Thomas “ Tom “ Hankins
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Years Pro: 7
Tournament Partner: Ron Bilbrey
Home Lake: Lake Monroe Indiana
Favorite Lake: D’Arbonne
Boat & Outboard: G3 Eagle Talon with a 150 Yamaha four stroke
Sponsors: Crappie Crazy, BnM Poles, Cumberland Crappie Custom Rod Holders, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, EGO nets, Rod Sox

Accomplishments/Awards: Won the Inaugural American Crappie Trail tournament on Grenada Lake MS. March 2017
Tied for 5th place in Angler of the year points in the American Crappie Trail 2017
Won two Crappie USA Super Events. Lake Cumberland 2013 and Lake of Egypt 2016
Several top ten finishes in Crappie USA tournaments.
Two time Indiana Slab Masters Classic Champion
Two time BnM points champ for the Indiana Slab Masters.
Multiple wins with multiple top five finishes in the Indiana Slab Masters tournaments.

10 Questions Non-Crappie Fishing Related:
1. What is your favorite hobby/activity other than Crappie Fishing? “Spending time with my family.”

2. What is your favorite meal? “Corned beef and cabbage.”

3. What kind of music do you like? Who is your favorite singer or band? “Country music, Hank Williams Jr.”

4. Name your favorite vacation getaway and why? “Anywhere with my wife is always my favorite vacation place.”

5. When you were a child, what did you have dreams of becoming for a profession as an adult? “I always dreamed of being a professional fisherman.”

6. Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names? “My wife has a Yorkie, “ Daisy”.

7. Name for us he most influential person in your life, past or present and why? “My father was and still is the most influential person in my life. I admire him in so many ways. He always took the time to teach me about everything he knows in life.He also taught me how to hunt and fish. He would let me use his expensive bass boat whenever I wanted as long as I filled it with gas when I brought it back home.”

8. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? “Handle with care.”

9. Do you prefer watching the sunrise or the sunset? “Sunrise.”

10. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? “Watch my oldest sister die from cancer.”

10 Crappie Fishing Related Questions:
1. What is your favorite Crappie Fishing Technique and why? “Spider rigging is probably my favorite because it allows me to have more hooks in the water. However I love to single pole jig as well.”

2. Here is a scenario; You have been fishing for 2 hours and only have 2 Crappie in the boat. What do you do to find and catch more fish? “I pay attention to the water color, temp and depth of where I caught the first two fish then I look at the map on the depth finder and try to find a similar spot before I ever move locations. Once I find the spot on the map I move to it and start searching with side imaging looking for structure and fish.”

3. What is your go-to lure or bait, color and why? “A black and Chartreuse tube is probably the most effective search bait with a single pole.”

4 . How do you approach a new body of water that you have never fished before and what are you looking for? “Before I ever get to a new lake I have already looked at it using Google Earth and the lake maps on the depth finder. I look for flats with a creek channel nearby or even a flat with a secondary creek channel. When I get to the lake I already have those areas marked on the depth finder so I can run straight to them and start searching with the side imaging.”

5. Do you pre-fish before your tournaments? If so, please explain your approach. Do you thoroughly cover water catching as many crappie in the area or contact fish and keep moving not to pressure an area? “Yes we will spend as much time as we can prefishing because there is nothing better than time on the water. Once again I will research the lake using Google earth and my lake maps before I ever leave my house. We look for water that isn’t CLEAR but somewhat colored. That seems to hold the better fish. Once we locate some fish we will catch a few in the area unless we catch a couple of tournament quality fish. If that happens we will take our lines out of the water and learn everything we can about that area before leaving to find another area with tournament quality fish. The term tournament quality depends on what that lake is capable of producing. Example: In Indiana I find 12 to 13” fish I would consider those tournament quality but in Mississippi we need to find those 15+” fish.”

6. Name the most important tool/equipment in your boat or tackle that you could not fish without. “Depth finders are the one item we could not be without!!!”

7. In cold weather conditions, what is your approach to catching Crappie? “SLOW down!”

8. Please name the gear you fish with; (Poles, Reels, Line, Electronics, etc.) “BnM prostaff trolling rods and Sam’s Super Sensitive jigging rods. Pfluegar President reels, 10lb slime line and Lowrance Gen 3s.”

9. Do you have a Pre-Tournament Routine? If so please explain. “Our routine is put all new rigs on our trolling rods, Organize the boat so we only have what we need in the boat for the day and get a good nights sleep.”

10. To date, what is your proudest moment in your Crappie Fishing Career? “Winning the Inaugural American Crappie Trail Tournament on Grenada Lake Ms. Won it single pole with a jig using a 16’ BnM prostaff trolling rod in 18” of water.”

BONUS TIP: Please give one TIP that will help us catch Crappie. “Keep it simple… Always make sure you are presenting your bait in a natural way.”

Special Statement from Tom: “I always want to thank my Wife for allowing me to pursue my dreams.”

Tom Hankins

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