PDA

View Full Version : Locating larger fish



jolle
07-02-2004, 01:10 PM
We have been crappie fishing for years and pretty much know the game and how to fish on the lakes that we fish.

However, I have found it odd that we have never caught any really big crappie, despite boating thousands of fish. The largest any of us has caught was probably a bit larger than 13". Now, I know there are larger fish in the lakes we fish, as they are caught all the time.

My question is this. Do the large fish actually form their own schools and stay separate from the smaller fish? Lately especially, we have been getting into a bunch of fish, but you have to throw back 3 for every keeper you catch, and those keeper fish are usually around 10-11". We have moved around and tried different tactics such as larger bait and such, but have had little luck finding bigger fish.

Is there a secret? Do big fish separate, or are they mixed in with the little ones and just are very outnumbered?

big "E"
07-02-2004, 02:17 PM
The larger fish deffinately form their own schools.Crappie school by year class.Ive found that when I catch smaller fish I can adjust my depth and find the bigger ones.It seems that the bigger ones are above the small ones more often than not on lake wylie here in south carolina.This info. is taken strictly from night fishing as I dont know much about the daytime.We tightline over the side with floating lights and I guess maybe the bigger ones take first seat at the dinner table.(closer to the light.)

jolle
07-02-2004, 03:22 PM
Schooling by year class seems to make sense, and definitely would explain why you can get into a whole mess of little ones. We generally fish during the daytime, and at this time of year we try to find the schools and then fish vertically with both minnows and jigs and try to find a preference. We're going out tomorrow and will hopefully pick up on some larger fish, although the little ones keep things going when its slow. Thanks for the info.

Moose1am
07-02-2004, 03:44 PM
This is the best kept secret out there. I also can't seem to find the big crappie. When I fished Patoka Lake the last two years all I caught were 8" long crappie. It seemed like that was the only size in the lake. In two years I only caught one nice crappie of any size. I caught that one while I was eating my sandwitch and had laid my fly rod down. Maybe that it my problem. I need to be more patient. My personal feeling is that the larger and older crappie are smarter than I am. LOL.

I have been fishing some small stip pits that are very close to home. I can catch 15 crappie each time out but they are all small. Now there are some large crappie in these pits as they have been caught.

I would think that these crappie run in schools of similar size and age.

I have tried fishing deeper areas near the spots where I caught lots of small crappie and that has not worked for me so far.

I think a lot has to do with the lake itself. Some lakes like Kentucy Lake have larger crappie. Each lake has different characterists that promot different growth rates for crappie.

I think that right now Patoka Lake has so many small crappie that they can't get enough food. The gizzard shad are not providing enough food for the crappie as they grow too fast and soon reach a size that the crappie can't eat. I think that the gizzard shad are proving to be to much competion for the crappie. Also few stripers are left in Patoka Lake for some reason and without the stripers to control the gizzard shad they crappie will suffer.

If anyone has a idea on where the big ones hang out please tell us.



We have been crappie fishing for years and pretty much know the game and how to fish on the lakes that we fish.

However, I have found it odd that we have never caught any really big crappie, despite boating thousands of fish. The largest any of us has caught was probably a bit larger than 13". Now, I know there are larger fish in the lakes we fish, as they are caught all the time.

My question is this. Do the large fish actually form their own schools and stay separate from the smaller fish? Lately especially, we have been getting into a bunch of fish, but you have to throw back 3 for every keeper you catch, and those keeper fish are usually around 10-11". We have moved around and tried different tactics such as larger bait and such, but have had little luck finding bigger fish.

Is there a secret? Do big fish separate, or are they mixed in with the little ones and just are very outnumbered?

jolle
07-02-2004, 04:37 PM
Haha, I knew I wasn't the only one :) Well, I have heard other people complaining of the small fish too around here. But just a month or so back the Crappie USA tournament came through the state and fished two of my favorite lakes, and the fish and weights that won the tournament were amazing. And it wasn't just a fish here and there, most of these guys were loading up the boat with BIG fish.

I guess thats why they are making money off of it and I'm not! LOL

lebruce
07-02-2004, 05:00 PM
The bigger crappies I've caught been deeper then the smaller ones when they're in schools( daytime fishing ).In the summer I usally find them on their own little piece of structure ( stick,stump,ect.) away from all the little ones on a big piece.I think it's so they don't have to compete for the food.I have my own little slot limit on crappies and release all my big crappies so there will be some to catch down the road.It could be on your lakes in the years past to many big ones were keepted and now they have gotten genetically smaller.Just a thought.

sidvicious
07-02-2004, 05:48 PM
my personal opinion, based on observation and experience, is that larger crappie are comparable to larger whitetail buck deer - smarter and more shy. also, they are fewer in number as recruitment studies prove.

consider the math. suppose there are 10 small fish to every large fish. then, factor in the survival instinct of the larger fish. the second factor effectively reduces the number of larger fish by fiction, beyond the actual numbers.

my sense is that the larger fish don't school seperately per se. they are there, IF they are there, same as the small fish. the difference being they are smaller in number as wiser to the hook.

consider this. i fish oxbows. tree structure is everywhere. often, to locate fish, i'll grab my light spinning gear and cast a small jig [no float] as far as i can throw and slowly reel in. when i hit fish, i move to the spot and fish with my pole. the important thing is, rarely, if ever, have i caught a really big fish while casting in this manner. but, when i move on the hole and fish normally, i can get'em if they're there.

if a person knows how to fish and fishes often and still doesn't catch big fish, i'd say that it is more a factor of the population being stunted for a variety of reasons. most likely overpopulation and/or inadequate environmental circumstances.

cheers,

sv-

Tim The Lippa Rippa Mon
07-06-2004, 09:58 AM
Here are the rules for big fish, believe them or not:

1 Bigger baits
2 isolated cover
3 major creek or river bends
4 the densest, most unreachable shore in Spawn
5 the night bite & low light periods (revised, forgot to mention before)
6 Hickory, Walnut, Cypress, and Cedar stumps
7 a color or bait that is not commonly being used
8 scents, nibbles, and pastes
9 SLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Patoka is definitely not suffering from lack of big fish! My 2nd biggest Crappie ever is from that lake, and it was caught just 2 years ago.
<,"}/>{ Rippa

big "E"
07-06-2004, 12:01 PM
Do they act differently at night because of the lights?I noticed you had the nitebite as one of your rules.Thats the only way I fish for crappies.I've noticed I dont have any luck during the daytime, even though I change everything about the presentation.I routinely get skunked during the daytime but tear them up at night. :confused:

Tim The Lippa Rippa Mon
07-06-2004, 01:16 PM
Do they act differently at night because of the lights?I noticed you had the nitebite as one of your rules.Thats the only way I fish for crappies.I've noticed I dont have any luck during the daytime, even though I change everything about the presentation.I routinely get skunked during the daytime but tear them up at night. :confused:


Without a question. Many more of the largest fish feed at night. During the day, they are usually spending their time by defending, and holding in their prime locations. They defend these spots much like a male does his bed during the Spawn period. They will migrate up and down in their particular locations in order to stay comfortable, but normally don't venture too far until dark. They normally don't like to chase their food either, prefering the ambush instead. That is why I stated SLOWW! too. That seems to be about the only way to get them to bite during the day with a "defensive" bite. Sometimes they will attack with a "reaction" bite when the right erratic crank bait gets too close to their domain as well.

Rippa <,"}/>{

big "E"
07-06-2004, 02:59 PM
Thanks for the tips Tim.I know I've just never had any luck during the day.So I usually end up bluegill and shellcracker fishing the day hours.You ever fish Lake Wylie?

Tommy
07-07-2004, 07:37 AM
Hi Gang,

Tim has the recipe for catching larger crappie, but forgot to mention one thing. Water temp. I have found that if the water temp is above 75 at the level of the fish, you can fish for them all you want and might catch one, maybe two. The fish are still there but just will not bit. Try moving to different places, mainly along a creek. Sub surface water temps tend to be cooler along creek channels.
We have also noticed that some smaller fish will hold with the larger fish, but this is on larger structure. Even though they are there the smaller fish seem to bit deeper than the larger ones.
Oh and I hardly ever fish at night anylonger.

big "E"
07-07-2004, 09:00 AM
Hey Tommy , why no night fishing?

fishingpox
07-07-2004, 05:45 PM
Well I also have wondered where the big fish are. I believe yall have sold me on trying night fishing some. The fish have moved deeper and as our good friend Jerry Blake says, " the lake lice are killing me ". I won't see them this Friday night. Thanks everyone for questions and answers. Your continuing to make me think. Rusty

Tommy
07-07-2004, 09:01 PM
Hey Tommy , why no night fishing?

I don't have to. I always catch plenty in the daylight hours. My wife and I went to the lake this afternoon to catch 5 for dinner tonight. Ended up with 7 fairly quick and had 2 over 2 lbs. I posted her with the 2 but the board won't pull up.

I will fish @ night on over in October and November. Just like to sleep at night....lol

labill
07-07-2004, 11:03 PM
Hey Tommy.......Are you still finding yellow crappie in your lake? And I'm wondering if you have heard from your Wildlife and Fisheries contact yet? Dave and I struck out on Claiborne. It's a beautiful lake, but we planned our trip too close to the 4th.

Good luck.....

Louisiana Bill

________________________

A bad day's fishing is better than a good day's work ;)

Tim The Lippa Rippa Mon
07-08-2004, 12:29 AM
Tommy is right. (I forgot to mention that part too) Temps do make a huge difference. Big fish can be caught during the heat of the day, but usually not in great numbers. Most of my bigger fish are usually taken early in the morning, or late in the evening, when the waters are cooler. I still stand by my guns though. Most of your larger Crappie tend to feed near, or after night fall.

<,"}/>{ Rippa

Tommy
07-08-2004, 06:04 AM
Hey Tommy.......Are you still finding yellow crappie in your lake? And I'm wondering if you have heard from your Wildlife and Fisheries contact yet? Dave and I struck out on Claiborne. It's a beautiful lake, but we planned our trip too close to the 4th.

Good luck.....

Louisiana Bill

________________________

A bad day's fishing is better than a good day's work ;)

Tommy
07-08-2004, 06:09 AM
Hi LaBill,

Still finding them yes. I have gotten a reply from the wildlife and fisheries, and the reply was exactly what we figured it to be. Something they are eating. I'm just trying to figure out why this something suddenly appeared almost 18 years from when the lake was opened. I have one in the freezer that I intend to take to mike if they want to analyze one

jolle
07-08-2004, 05:33 PM
Well I got a chance to fish this past Saturday at Truman lake here in MO, and my quest continues for the big fish. We boated probably 50 fish between 2 of us, and only brought home 10. They weren't biting that well to start with, being spotty in both location and time of day. We hit one hotspot that had constant action for about a half hour, but we threw back 5 for each 1 we kept. The last spot we hit before leaving I hooked 2 good fish (12") and lost another. However, it was 3 PM and they were definitely not biting well. I think that spot may have had some bigger fish, but we didn't have time to sit it out as we had a picnic to go to. When they would hit during a hot time, they would hit anything we threw at them, including jigs, minnows, and a combo of both. Other than that, there was no preference, just a fish here and there.

kunes
07-08-2004, 06:30 PM
I don't have to. I always catch plenty in the daylight hours. My wife and I went to the lake this afternoon to catch 5 for dinner tonight. Ended up with 7 fairly quick and had 2 over 2 lbs. I posted her with the 2 but the board won't pull up.

I will fish @ night on over in October and November. Just like to sleep at night....lol
That's funny--I fish at nite because I can. Will try daytime trolling in the colder months when all the recreational boaters are done roiling up the water.