Today: Friday 17 August 2018
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    Crappie Kingdom 15 Jun 2017

    Crappie Kingdom




    Post spawn conditions can create difficulty determining what method to use to catch these recovering fish.  Once the eggs are laid, the female fish will pull off the banks and seek out an area to recover.  That area must provide food to replenish their stressed body.  The area of the lake for recovery will vary from open deep water to standing timber or other pieces of structure that will provide the needs of the fish.  Once the male has hatched the nest, it will also pull off the spawning areas and recover as well.  Not all the fish will spawn and move at the same time.  Different parts of the lake will have a different time table for the spawn.  The main lake areas will usually be the last areas for the spawn to occur. There are several methods that can be employed to catch these fish.

    Dippin’ for crappies takes place in areas where usually standing timber is present.  The trees that are visible above the surface as well as those that are just under the surface will offer the opportunity to dip.  Generally a long rod of 10 to 12 feet is used.  The long rod allows you to reach out to the structure but maintain a distance that will not spook the fish.  Many times the fish will be suspended in the tree and will spook easily if they are shallow.  A pre-determined length of line can be let out and manipulated by the offhand. The rod is held in one hand and the offhand can pull the line up or let it down alongside the structure.  Watching the line is all important.  If it stops part way down the depth surrounding the tree, it has either landed on a limb or a fish has picked it up on the fall.  Minnows, jigs, or a combination of both can be used to entice a bite.  Be sure to fish the entire circumference of the tree because any current can determine which side of the tree the fish will be present.  When the bite occurs, the rod is lifted high and the fish is either dipped with a long handled net or the fish is swung into the boat.

    Draggin’ minnows, jigs, or combinations of both can produce fish as well.  This method works especially well in areas where there are late spawning fish.   I prefer to use a roadrunner with a curly tail grub and drag it along slowly bumping it off the bottom.  It is important to watch your electronics and look for suspended fish as well.  The bait has to be above the fish in order to get the bite.  Slow is the key.  The movement of the boat must be slow in order to keep the bait in the strike zone.  The bite can be aggressive, a subtle pull, or tension feel on the rod. 

    Pulling crank baits or “Crankin” can be effective also.  Once the fish have pulled off the bank, many of them will retreat to the middle of deep spawning coves.  I particularly like to pull these baits in areas where beds or structures are located.  Speed is important for pulling crank baits.  We have determined that 1.6 mph is about right.  Good trolling motors and batteries are essential to maintain the desired speed for a long period of time.  I also use line counter reels that dictate how far the bait is behind the boat.  A good distant to start is 80-100 ft.  Adjustments can be made to shorten or lengthen the distance.  Flicker Shads, Rebels, Bandits, Bombers, and Bass Pro XPS lures are a few of the crank baits that will catch fish.  My favorite colors are Hot Pink, Black and Chartreuse, and Crawdad colors.  Don’t know why they hit the Crawdad color because I’ve never seen a crawdad in their bellies but it works.

    Jiggin’ beds or areas of structure that the fish will retreat to for a summer pattern will enable you to pick up some early spawned fish that have moved on to the structure.  The fish can be suspended on deep or shallow cover.  I prefer looking at the deep cover with suspended fish but will not pass up the shallow beds.  Chartreuse or combinations of chartreuse are my favorite colors.  I also tip them with crappie nibbles.

    The bite can be tough due to a lot of variables but fish can be found if you cover all the bases.  Don’t get frustrated and give up.  Good luck and good fishing.


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