Crappie time.

Crappie time.

Now…let’s get on with this weeks tips.

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Many people have trouble catching crappie on
jigs, especially when the fish get sulky.

This will sound over-simplified, but the
difference between going home empty, or
filling a fish basket up is simply proper
techniques for the prevailing conditions.

During the spawn, anyone can catch crappie,
on just about anything, but in Post-Spawn
mode, crappie tend to be moody and
uncoopertive.

Many times, they will suspend at a certain
depth, without regard to cover, and refuse
anything unless it just about swims into
their mouth on it’s own. Here are some
tricks that will boost your harvest next
time.

First, let’s talk about equipment. If you
are going to be a serious year-around
crappie angler, there are a few thing you
MUST have. You’ll need a boat, of some kind.

It needn’t be a $14,000 Tournament boat. Any
dinghy, skiff, canoe, kayak, inflatable,
Jon Boat, or even a Float Tube will work in
many instances.

I use a Kayak, Canoe and Float-Tube, myself.

You’ll need a depth-finder, but the portable
units work fine. Next, the main rods you
will need are crappie poles in 10′, and 12′
lengths. They can be true poles, or have
reel seats. B & N makes several great modles.

You need a ultra light reel and 4 lb. test
Trilene. I use nothing else for crappie.

As to jig selection, you can fill a tackle
box up quickly (and you no doubt will) with
the plethora of different heads and bodies
available, but to start with, I’d keep it
simple.

Nothing outfishes the plain-old 1/16th oz.
marabou jig. They come in all colors, and
combinations, and are dirt-cheap. Next, I’d
have a good supply of small tube jigs.

And, a good assortment of twister tails
rounds out the well-equiped arsenal.

The best colors are Chartuese and Yellow,
with white being a good second choice early
in the season. In murky waters, use lighter
and brighter colors. At night, use all-black.

Top all this off with a good brand of scent,
like Smelly Jelly, or Berkley Baitmate, in
Minnow and Shad flavors.

Now, what to do with all this gear? Here
are the proper techniques to use in
different situations.

Still-Fish-For some reason, a lot of people
think that a jig is not effective unless
it’s moving. This is definitly a false
assumption.

When crappie are moody, they get ultralazy,
and will refuse anything moving fast enough
to have to make them expend any energy to
get it.

Sometimes people fish right in the middle
of a large school of crappie, and never get
a hit, because they are moving the jig.

After locating a school with your depth-
finder, watch them for a minute. If they
are stationary, chances are they are moody.

Now is the time for still fishing a jig.

They will ususally suspend near the
thermocline, which can be anywhere from 10-
20′ deep in most places. Take your 12′ rod,
tie a jig on the end of the line, then hold
the pole straight up and down.

Let line out until the jig is even with the
butt of the pole. This is all the line you
need out. Now, drop the jig straight down,
and just let it set. Every few minutes, you
can slowly move the jig around a little.

Soon, a crappie wil slam the jig.

Down-Jigging – After a cold front moves
through, the barometric pressure will go up,
and the crappie will be uncoopertive.

They will usually go to the bottom in 10′-15′
of water, with their noses tight in cover.
Hover your jig about 1′ off the bottom for
several seconds, then, suddenly and sharply,
drop your rod tip 2-3 inches, to make the
jig drop sharply.

The sudden drop often triggers strikes from
fish that were too lazy to hit even a
stationary jig.

Slow -Rise -When down-jigging doesn’t work,
allow you jig to suspend 2-3 inches off the
bottom for a few seconds, then slooooowly
raise your rod tip up abpout a foot.

Hold it there for around 15 seconds, then
sloooowly allow it to drop back down. Be
ready to set the hook at anytime. Crappie
will usually hit the jig on the rise, or
fall.

Finger-Popping-in situations where the
fish are a bit more aggressive, you can
trigger strikes by grasping the line above
the reel between the thumb and forefinger,
With yoiu free fingers, repeadedly ‘flick’
the line, making the jig ‘dance’
underwater. Any crappie watching the jig
can’t resist nailing it.

High-Hopping-when crappie get inactive
immediatly after spawning, here is a trick
to entice them a bit. Drop your line to
within 2 inches of the bottom, and set it
set for a few seconds.

The sharp[y pull up 2-3 feet, and let the
jig fall back down. This can trigger some
Vicious strikes.

Studying your quarry helps a lot. Learn
about crappie habits, and use these
techniques and you will seldom get
‘skunked’.

Happy Fishing.

 Fishing Ohio
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