Today: Thursday 13 December 2018
  • Ranger Alluminum
    Crappie Kingdom 15 Oct 2017

    Crappie Kingdom

     

    FALL: FOLLOW THE BAITFISH

     

    Changes are on the horizon and you must change with them. Cool nights and shorter days causes the lake water temperature to fall.  As the water temperature cools off, the crappie will have a tendency to go deeper.  The deeper structure will begin to attract bait fish and the crappie will follow the food source.  This process is not an overnight sensation.  It may take a few days or weeks depending upon how quickly the lake cools and how cool it gets.  I have found that once the water temperature drops below 70 degrees, the fish will start showing up more consistently on and around the deeper structure.  I will continue to fish some shallow structure as well since the transition is a process and some fish will remain on the shallow beds as long as there is ample food source.  One important key to fishing this transition is to stay in contact with the fish.  What I mean by this is that you have to be on the water and determine the patterns as they evolve.  You cannot sit at home and think that after a week of cool weather that the fish are going to be in the same location they were when you were there in 80 degree weather.  As I said earlier, the cooler water temps will cause the bait fish to move to deeper water and the crappie will follow.  Your success will depend on how well you can follow the bait fish.

    Patterns can be established by checking locations where fish were abundant during the summer months.  Do not make the mistake of thinking the fish are “just not biting” when in fact they are not there.  It doesn’t take long to figure out that the fish are not there.  Start looking for shad around deeper cover.  Utilize your electronics as well.  Look at the picture and see if fish are present.  Today’s technology of down scanning and side imaging have taken the guess work out of looking for fishing spots.  Learn to use them to your advantage.

    The fish that were hanging around 10-15 ft. beds will move into beds that are 18-24 ft.  The technique used to catch these fish is primarily vertical jigging.  If fish are suspended above the cover, pitch and drift technique will work as well.  A good proportion of the fish will tend to hug the bottom so vertical jigging is much more effective.  Be sure to check the outer edges of the deeper structure.  Many times the fish will hang off away from the structure and “ambush” baitfish moving in and out of the brush.  The same holds true to fishing deep in the structure.  The fish will hold tight to the structure and wait for bait to pass by.  Some beds that are in 24’ and deeper will also begin to attract and hold fish.  Check those beds as well.  Try not to leave any “stones” unturned.

    The deeper bed fishing is a slow methodical technique.  I will continue to use the 1/16th oz. jig until I have to fish below 30’.  It takes a longer time for the jig to fall and the depth requires you to work the jig slow.  As I have said in the past, when you think you are working the jig slow, slow it down some more.  Be on the lookout for the slightest nudge or flick of the line.  The bite can be very subtle and go undetected.  That is the biggest problem with a lot of fishermen.  They cannot see the bite and therefore miss many fish.  Watch the tip of the rod as well.  You have to multi-task doing all these at once.  You can teach yourself to be more aware by practicing on the water.  It takes time and patience but in due time will pay dividends.  Look for the shad on these deeper beds and fish in them.  Your graph will tell you where they are and that is the so called “sweet spot”.  The fall transition can be kind of tricky, but once it’s figured out, it can be very productive. 

    I can have a great fishing experience dreaming in my easy chair but I won’t catch anything.  You gotta be on the water to catch ‘em.  Good luck and good fishing.

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