Useful Tips to Help You in Crappie Fishing
By Mike Rustler, Author of The Mega Guide to Crappie Fishing
There’s nothing more frustrating than a fishing trip that ends empty-handed. Now you can avoid that and become a crappie ace with a few great tips.
Crappie fishing is one of the most appealing varieties of sport angling; it’s ideal for both adults and kids, you can get good catches all year round and while lots of gear can help it’s not essential.
You do want to make the most of your fishing time though, so knowing the right locations, baits and techniques is vital. To get you started quickly here are some top tips for attracting strikes and landing those crappie.
Be aware that crappies move around in response to water conditions and temperature. As well as looking for the warm water they’re most comfortable in they also follow their prey, like small fish or insects.
Think about how a crappie is going to move. Big fish like pike or salmon just go straight where they want to go, ignoring any countercurrents.
For the smaller crappie it’s different. Swimming into a current is tiring for them, so they’ll tend to move through slow water where they can.
Often that means they’ll stay near the bank, so if there’s moving water further out you have a good chance of finding crappie close in. Watch the surface to get an idea where it’s moving fastest. Crappies will get out of those places as fast as they can, so try the still patches nearby.
Where water depth is close to constant crappies tend to avoid the open water and look for shade and shelter. If there are trees overhanging the water you’re likely to find them hiding out under them, so drift a live bait close in and see what you get. Anything that has roots in the water also creates a likely lair. Crappies like to hang out around stones stones, too, so rocky shores, supporting walls and bridge piers are all good places to try.
If the weather’s been cool and you’re not finding any crappie, try changing your depth. Move the float up and fit a sinker to get your hook deeper – they often move away from cool surface water into the depths where heat is retained. If it’s warm look for them near the surface, either in the shallows or close to the top of open water.
If you’re fishing from a boat there’s a great technique that gives really good results for crappie – a spider rig. This is a multi-rod setup that lets you troll a wider track, puts more hooks in the water and also lets you zero in on the techniques that work best in the current water conditions. With multiple rods you can test out different lure and bait combinations on each one and see which one gets the most strikes.
Start with a mix of lights, jigs and baits, and you’ll soon see which is more effective. Use different line lengths to keep the hooks well apart, and don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple depths either – if your deep lures are seeing all the action you’ll know to adjust the others. If you’re new to crappie fishing this is an outstanding way to quickly hone your technique.
You can spend a lifetime learning how to catch crappie, because there’s always something new to try. A few basics will get you off to a good start though. Follow the tips above and you’ll be catching them in no time.
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