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Hoosier Crappie
01-23-2014, 12:58 PM
Hope everyone is doing great this cold day. In central IN we just got up to above zero! Brrr

Ok, maybe this will be something that helps each of us!

What provenstrategy/tip/trick helps you catch crappie?

Wished I had a real good one. Something I do is use two different baits about two feet apart to efficiently search the water column for crappie and what bait they like.

Please no hi-jacking with jokes/comedy- there's another forum for that stuff!
Can hardly wait to read everyones' contributions!

CatFan
01-23-2014, 01:32 PM
Fish smaller spots. Not just around a brush pile, but in it, on the shady side, over it or wherever the fish are holding that day. When I'm fishing something like a brushpile or a ledge, I make an effort to fish small spots around the size of a basketball. Crappie can be finicky, and even 3 or 4 inches away from the magic spot can cut way down on what you catch. Up your boat control and casting so you are putting your bait not just next to something, but right next to it and on the side you want.


I outfished a guy 10-1 or worse one time. The fish were on the shady side of standing trees, and you almost had to have the bait touching the tree to get bit. He was flinging it out there close to the tree, but I was putting it on the tree.

Also, wash your hands with soap after you put sunscreen or bug spray on or handle gas or oil. Seen this burn a lot of folks over the years. The real tip though is to carry the disposable nitrile gloves in the boat so if you have to put sunscreen or bug spray on or mess with gas or oil on the water you don't get the smell on your hands. No need to wash because you don't get it on your hands to start with.

Scrapper
01-23-2014, 04:06 PM
:popcorn

Great post Hossier. Anxious to see all the responses also.

CrappiePappy
01-23-2014, 04:28 PM
Horizontal cover is better than vertical cover, as it provides more shade over a greater expanse of the same depth of water.
Shade is a key factor in finding "where" Crappie are likely to be.
Shade can be from the interruption of light by a solid obstacle, or simply the depth at which light penetration has stopped.

... cp :kewl

Slow Retrieve
01-23-2014, 04:30 PM
This is just the kind of thread a beginner as myself can really learn something from. Don't hold back guys I need all the tips I can get. :)

Micropterus salmoides
01-23-2014, 04:52 PM
Patience.

Wade2131
01-23-2014, 05:12 PM
I always start off with two items... a lake map (or hot-spot digital map in my Lowrance) and current water temps. These two items really help my eliminate unproductive water and target the areas that hopefully hold crappie. :) Great topics......

deathb4disco
01-23-2014, 05:51 PM
Don't obsess over tackle. Rod, reel, line, etc. are just tools and are entirely a matter of personal preference.

Fish are caught by what's between your ears.

Phishman
01-23-2014, 06:07 PM
Start shallow in the morning then move deeper. When using jigs try to use a scent on it like juiced up baits or crappie nibblets or tippin with a minnow. Go slow as possible. Don't give up, keep tryin new things just in the last three years I've learned a lot. Learn different techniques such as pushing or pulling or one pole jigging. Find out what works best for the body of water you fish. Learn water temps and what the crappie should be doing in them that has helped me a lot.

Ranger690
01-23-2014, 07:58 PM
Use 20 lb braid and #6 light wire gold hook. Toss a minnow into stuff no one else will. The braid will straighten the hook and get it back for you.

slabbacks
01-24-2014, 06:31 AM
Don't take long on a spot just because you took fish there last week or yesterday. If you work it and nothing to show or a dink..hit your next spot. Keep track, if three brush piles didn't produce change you game plan. Go deeper or shallower depending on the time of day and the sun and work other structure man made or natural. This time of year go slow, a bottom bounce rig or a float and fly may be best to let it set in front of them for a few. one last thing is find the bait fish in those areas, the crappie won't be far.

Good luck

usafret99
01-24-2014, 09:20 AM
Keep a book and write down info from each fishing trip. If long lining don't stay in one area to long looking for fish. For example this year I was trying one cove for 45 minutes, nothing went to another one that was only 3 hundred yards away and it was packed with crappie. I always use dark color jigs in the morning and slowly change to lighter as the day goes on. For years I never realized I could troll in shallow water. Now I troll in as low as 2 feet of water. Just put on smaller jig and go faster. Last year I caught several limits in 2 to 3 feet of water and in 15 previous years of trolling I never went below 8 ft.

usafret99
01-24-2014, 09:23 AM
Don't obsess over tackle. Rod, reel, line, etc. are just tools and are entirely a matter of personal preference.

Fish are caught by what's between your ears.

Agree with this one for sure. When I first started while in the Air Force I couldn't afford good toys. Bought the cheapest of everything and caught plenty of fish.

eagle 1
01-24-2014, 11:49 AM
If fish don't appear on you depth finder , think shallow . I had a tendency to move before fishing the top 3 ft. of water . Fish are shallow a lot more times than you would expect .this holds true in all depths .

captankangaroo
01-24-2014, 12:22 PM
Don`t be afraid to try something new. No matter if it isn`t what most do on a area that say, jigging only works here. You may find tightline`n is better, or roadrunners catch better then plan jigs. Bottom line is you never know what is going to work one day to the next. So be ready to change up if what your doing`s not working. I never leave home without my jiging, trolling, minnow rigs. Good mind set helps allways know in your mind that big slab is whating for you on the next cast!

nabob
01-24-2014, 12:57 PM
Beware crappie fisherman will tie alot of hooks. Don"t be afraid to get hung up every once in a while.

KAG
01-24-2014, 01:34 PM
Pick your fishing partners carefully....makes for a more enjoyable drama free day :biggrin

kycreek
01-24-2014, 02:28 PM
Beware crappie fisherman will tie alot of hooks. Don"t be afraid to get hung up every once in a while.

If you aren't getting hung up, then you're fishing the wrong places.

wannabe fisherman
01-24-2014, 03:00 PM
go where the fish are biting :Rofl

Hoosier Crappie
01-25-2014, 11:35 AM
Definitely true! One of my fishin buds is a smoker and when fishing with him results go down. I think it's from the smoke/cigarette "taste" left on his hands then transferred to the baits that turns them off.
Fish smaller spots. Not just around a brush pile, but in it, on the shady side, over it or wherever the fish are holding that day. When I'm fishing something like a brushpile or a ledge, I make an effort to fish small spots around the size of a basketball. Crappie can be finicky, and even 3 or 4 inches away from the magic spot can cut way down on what you catch. Up your boat control and casting so you are putting your bait not just next to something, but right next to it and on the side you want.


I outfished a guy 10-1 or worse one time. The fish were on the shady side of standing trees, and you almost had to have the bait touching the tree to get bit. He was flinging it out there close to the tree, but I was putting it on the tree.

Also, wash your hands with soap after you put sunscreen or bug spray on or handle gas or oil. Seen this burn a lot of folks over the years. The real tip though is to carry the disposable nitrile gloves in the boat so if you have to put sunscreen or bug spray on or mess with gas or oil on the water you don't get the smell on your hands. No need to wash because you don't get it on your hands to start with.

jeepguyjames
01-25-2014, 11:47 AM
12 ft rod, Weedless jig heads , 10 lb braid, get way in the snaggy thick nasty stuff and horse em out .... Fish stuff that looks unfishable

Hoosier Crappie
01-25-2014, 11:49 AM
Although I never attempted this (so not proven by me)...

I remember hearing how a fellow said he used to follow crappie all day....

is to release a caught crappie back in the water hooked in the mouth with attached line and bobber (so you can see the bobber move across the water surface as it swims around). The crappie goes back to the others and you can continue to fish them as they change locations.

It's a pretty simple strategy. Often I wondered if it was considered illegal. In the past I've read over fishing regs in a few states and nothing is mentioned, so I'd have to conclude it's legal.

Cane Pole
01-25-2014, 11:51 AM
Definitely true! One of my fishin buds is a smoker and when fishing with him results go down. I think it's from the smoke/cigarette "taste" left on his hands then transferred to the baits that turns them off.

Maybe your friend ought change cig brand. My wife smokes and has no problem catching her share. I also agree with Disco about the tackle.

Hoosier Crappie
01-25-2014, 11:56 AM
You're probably right! LOL these IN crappies are too finicky.


Maybe your friend ought change cig brand. My wife smokes and has no problem catching her share. I also agree with Disco about the tackle.

skeetbum
01-25-2014, 06:54 PM
Gathered together and put to use, these and more are what I call my "bag of tricks". Time on the water and a good memory builds this bag to where you will produce SOMETHING every time you go. They may be small or the wrong species but you can stay busy. My number one rule is "when it stops being fun, it's time for the house". Enjoy yourself, pay attention and pass along what you already know and before long you'll be the one teaching us.

ehall
01-25-2014, 07:24 PM
#1- Once again another awesome thread started here on CDC. After ice out, I usually start out with a jig under a bobber because i love to cast to them up shallow. If they are aggressive and feeding it is usually evident after a short while. If this does not pan out I will throw on a twister tail, cast shallow and pull back to me, maintaining contact with the bottom seems key. Bonus walleye normally will be caught with this practice. This is on the lakes i fish in Illinois. Also i have a fishing buddy who smokes the entire time we fish and he absolutely throws me a beating on how quickly he catches fish! Never has been an issue, that i am aware of. I have to agree with the having fun, if you cant have fun on the water fishing, something needs to be changed!

Hoosier Crappie
01-25-2014, 08:10 PM
Gathered together and put to use, these and more are what I call my "bag of tricks". Time on the water and a good memory builds this bag to where you will produce SOMETHING every time you go. They may be small or the wrong species but you can stay busy. My number one rule is "when it stops being fun, it's time for the house". Enjoy yourself, pay attention and pass along what you already know and before long you'll be the one teaching us.

I really like your philosophical strategy. I think most of us share your same beliefs. What I wanted by beginning this thread are more of the "physical" tactics, tips, etc. (nuts & bolts- the mechanics) to employ to increase success that each of us as anglers can use whether we're on the bank, boat, or wherever. Each situation has its own considerations, and that's why I feel this thread is important as it will give possible strategies to try.

In other words, not looking for "you catch more fish when your line is wet vs. out of the water", "learn from your mistakes", etc. To me these are like what a soothsayer might say or a self-help book. Although these are important mindsets to have.

Appreciate all the contributions to our thread!

Hoosier Crappie
01-25-2014, 08:26 PM
Horizontal cover is better than vertical cover, as it provides more shade over a greater expanse of the same depth of water.
Shade is a key factor in finding "where" Crappie are likely to be.
Shade can be from the interruption of light by a solid obstacle, or simply the depth at which light penetration has stopped.

... cp :kewl

CP,

You've been a CDC mainstay for years. When I first began reading the posts over a decade ago, you have so much to share.

Agreed about the shade- excellent point! When I first pursued fishing more than going to catch "whatever is biting", I learned about their physiology and one aspect is their eyes. They use their eyes to sight feed (crappie do) and survive their "world". What most overlook is the fact they have no eyelids to regulate sunlight as we and other members of this world do. With this they have to manipulate their environment whether structure shade, weather induced shade, surface water "chop", or water column "shade". When targeting crappie, I consider this too!

In this thread I hope we learn something we never knew or to re-learn something we have forgotten.

Thanks to all contributions!

Keep 'em coming!

CrappieWhisperer
01-26-2014, 01:20 AM
I'm always trying to learn about my favorite hobby. One of the best ways I've found over the years is to watch the older folks when I'm out fishing. Sometimes I've spent hours watching the old timers fish without wetting a hook myself. Most of the folks are more than willing to give great advice too. Now I'm one of the older folks and others ask me from time to time. I share as much as I can and try to repay the favor that others have done for me.
1. Use flourescent line, it's easier to see and it lets you watch your line constantly. Crappie will oftentimes pick up your bait and swim upwards causing slack in your line... Set the hook!
2. Use weedless jigheads. The less you get hung up and have to disturb the brushpile the more fish you'll have in the livewell. I don't miss any more bites with a weedless jig than a regular jig and I spend my time fishing not retieing.
3. Sometimes its a jig day and sometimes its a minnow day. You can be proud and only fish with one or the other if you want, but crappie are like people, they like different things on different days.
4. Sometimes crappie like you to deadstick a jig not moving it at all, and other days they want you to shake it in front of them until you irritate them into biting. Some days it's better to position the boat right over the brushpile and other days it's better to put the boat 10 yards away and cast over the pile and bring it back through. Sometimes they want the jig still, sometimes they want it moving.
5. In general a good starting point to finding the depth that crappie are on any given day is to set your jig depth somewhere around 10ft. I don't know why, but my dad starts there on any given day and he has taught me it works. Crappie like to suspend in the 10ft range.
6. You might not need them all the time, but Crappie nibblets will definately increase your catch when it's a tough bite..
7. I've learned it's easier to adjust my jig to an exact depth by using a baitcast reel on my jigging rod. Say you have a 10ft rod, and you pull your jig to the end of the rod and that measures 10ft, then you measure how long it is from the reel to the first eyelet up the rod from your reel. Then if each pull of the line up to that first eyelet is 2ft you can make 3 pulls and know you have 16ft of line out. You can set your drag lose enough to pull the line out without having to trip the bail.
8. When casting over a brushpile or to the bank, I usually start out by letting the jig go the bottom and then making a slight jig upwards and then reeling as slowly as possible. More often than not I see people reellng too fast. If you reel slow enough the jig will hug the bottom and catch more fish. If you get bites on the fall of the initial cast, try to count down to that depth and reel as slow as you can as before.
9. Fishing with sickle jig hooks have shown me that these hooks will hook a crappie in the tough roof area of the mouth 90% of the time. This results in fewer fish being lost. They can't throw the hook as easy.
10. Build your own brushpiles, it will increase your catch and you'll enjoy it even more. It seems to make other fishermen easier to get along with too if they know you are putting in the same effort they are to make the lake a better fishery.