Spring Crappie Tips
In the spring crappie will begin the migration to shallow areas once the water temperatures have warmed up to forty-five to fifty degrees, schooling near the mouths of creeks until the water temperature rises to fifty-five degrees. This migration process is already under way in much of North America, and this is the time that anglers can find them migrating to the shallower spawning areas, using the channels as roadways back and forth until the spawn begins. When water rises to sixty degrees, the male of the species will moving into the spawning areas and begins fanning beds as they wait for the staged females that are still in the deep water waiting.
Once the water temperature is up to sixty-two degrees and warmer conditions are right for shallow, spawning crappie. Female crappie will move from deep structure to the brush and cover near the spawning areas. This is the best time to fish for crappie for the anglers on the bank. The shallow fish can be caught with live minnows, night crawlers and a wide array of crappie jigs and tubes suspended under a bobber, Crappie feed upward so keeping the bait above their head is important.
According to some advice from my friend Joey Monteleone, Host of Wild Side Radio on Nashville’s legendary radio station WSM, and the “Reel Tips” guide on Televisions Tennessee Wild Side, water clarity helps determine color choices of artificial bait to use for staging females. White with silver flake tubes work very well in clear water and as rain and run off begin to cloud the water, anglers prefer chartreuse with red flake tube or grub in these conditions. Experiment with color and lure choices until you find what works. Small crankbaits, such as the Strike King Bitsy Minnow, slowly retrieved through the spawning areas are a sure thing for the males preparing to bed.
When fishing deep drop offs for suspended crappie that have not yet moved shallow, is often done with a small jig and light line without a bobber. Anglers become line watchers to see the strikes before they are ever felt. Highly visible line makes the detection much easier as they watch for the line to begin twitching and moving while the jig is falling. This is usually the proper time for a hook set. If a strike is not detected before the jig reaches the bottom anglers will, jerk the bait up off the bottom and then allow the jig to fall back to the bottom again. Setting the hook as soon as the line moves insures a hook up before the crappie lets go of the jig. This is the reason why crappie anglers prefer to use scent on lures so the fish will hold on a bit longer to guarantee a solid hook set.
According to Ralph Riley, owner of Juiced Up Baits and a Crappie Tournament angler, fish can detect foreign objects that do not have a natural scent and flavor. Covering bait that may have been contaminated with other scent with an amino acid based “food” source will naturally cause the fish to hold the bait longer allowing for a hook set. Juiced Up Bait provides products such as Pan fish blend, Pan fish gel , Fly butter, Blood worm gel, Minnow Blast, and Slab Nabbr’ that are becoming crappie angler favorites due to the fact that crappie will hold on to the bait. To use these products, anglers put a couple drops onto the bait and fish. The bait enhancers come in a 1.25 oz bottle with a brush cap and a dispensing cap so the attractant can be added to your favorite bait or injected into a crappie tube. The results are noticeable soon after the application when presented to your favorite crappie fishing hole.
Once the spring crappie angler is set for a location and has decided on the correct bait and gear, counting down a jig at an average rate of one foot per second when fishing deep cover like stumps trees and brush is helpful give them an idea of how deep they are fishing when a bite is detected. For instance, if an angler counts the jig down to eight feet before beginning a slow retrieve and don’t get a bite, then on the next cast the jig is counted down to ten feet repeating the cadence until he gets a bite. As the jig goes deeper and a bite is detected, the angler knows that the lure has not reached the cover or the bottom. Hook sets for crappie, that are also known as a “paper mouth” is a delicate process, and many are lost due to anglers over doing the hook set. Keep in mind that they are not largemouth bass when setting the hook. In situations such as trolling for crappie, the movement of the boat and the crappies hit and run are usually all it takes to hook up. When you’re out on the water this spring fishing for crappie, give these hooking techniques some though, and see if your bite to catch ratio is improved. If you get stuck in the submerged wood, don’t set back on the hook, move to the wood, point the rod down and gently push, 90% of the time the jig will come out and more importantly the fish are not disturbed.
You can listen to Joey’s Daily Hunting and Fishing advice every weekday morning at 5:25 AM CST on WSM http://www.wsmonline.com/
Visit Juiced Up Baits at http://www.juicedupbaits.com/
Visit the Team Bilbrey site at http://markbilbrey.com
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