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  • Driftmaster Best Advice Contest - 9 of 9 Runner Ups

    So, you want to learn to crappie fish do ya?
    Well, you’ve come to the right place. Grab a cup a joe and pull up a chair. I promise it’ll be painless. I won’t bog your mind with 1000 different baits and a hundred different places to go. I won’t tell you about the $200,000 dollars you need to spend on equipment and I certainly won’t tell you how “the pros” do it. Telling you how I catch fish (specifically crappie) won’t help you anymore than someone else letting out their little secrets. Instead, allow me to tell you how I got to this point. The journey is the secret to success. Sure, a secret bait tip, presentation, or new rig might put a few in the boat but… you need a starting point.


    Crappie fishing for me was an excuse to target a specific species in a specific body of water. Anybody can head to a lake and catch a fish. It takes a fisherman to head to the lake, point to a log and say “I’m going to catch a crappie there”.

    When I first started, I read everything I could. I took advice from everyone I found and, although it helped broaden my understanding, it didn’t put any more fish in the boat. I was overwhelmed with the amount of tackle and other products on the market and in my tackle bag. I would fish a body of water with this “new super bait” and not catch anything. I’d target lake after lake, crappie after crappie, and not catch a thing. I read fisheries reports on bodies of water to ensure that crappies were present. I have no problem targeting salmon, steelhead, walleye, trout, and anything else. Why is this so hard?


    The day the lightbulb turned on:
    I decided one day to “just go fishing”. I hit a lake I had targeted previously for crappies. This time, I just wanted to fish. I stopped at the bait shop and purchased one dozen minnows. I never buy minnows, but I was just going fishing. I found an opening in the weeds, set my anchor, loaded a single gold hook with a wiggly little minnow under a float and cast it towards a weed edge. I put another rod over the side of the boat with a small jig and minnow and kicked back to enjoy the day. I noticed my float start to move ever so slowly and I set the hook. I was rewarded with a decent crappie. “Lucky”, I thought as I rebaited and sent the rig flying. Soon enough, my rod over the boat was bobbing up and down… another crappie. We have all heard of people “getting into them”… was that the case here?


    On the ride home I pondered what happened. Was it the bait? Did I just get lucky and find a school? I started thinking back to all of my other unsuccessful trips. Was I fishing too deep? The next day I decided to head back to the same lake. This time, I went to another area. I didn’t want luck to strike again if that is what it truly was. I found another weed pocket and soon produced the same results. I moved around to several similar areas and filled my limit in pretty short order.


    The “eureka moment” again came on the ride home. Maybe all this time I wasn’t fishing in the right spot. I didn’t catch crappies because, simply put, they were not there! Minnows gave me the tool necessary to find the fish. Truly find where they were at on this body of water. Once I found them I was later able to successfully target them with all the other specialty baits and tactics on the market.

    I began to deploy what I had found on this lake to other bodies of water. Gone were the days when I showed up at the lake without a plan. I would look over maps, aerial photos, and contours long before I ever arrived. I was able to deploy the same tactics and principles on every body of water I fished. Taking it a step further, I began to play with times of day, color and clarity of the water, water temperature, and times of the year. Soon I was able to hit any single body of water at any given time of year and have a pretty good idea of what bait to use, what color, and what location to start looking for them.



    Basically put, not all fish, in all bodies of water ever see, eat, or enjoy the same things that other fish do in other bodies of water. A shad style bait in the south might be dynamite however, crappie in the north might never hit one simply because it isn’t the forage they are used to. I have lakes that I catch a large percentage of my fish on live bait (minnows) whereas others love a “Big Bite” orange and chartreuse twister tail. I have other bodies of water where the fish won’t touch that twister tail but love a parrot colored bait by the same company. It has to do with the water clarity, color and temperate



    To summarize:

    First, pick a body of water that you are sure crappie reside in. Do not overwhelm yourself with 100 different tactics and 1000 different baits. Limit yourself to one thing that has worked time and time again for anglers all over the world. Live bait! Minnows are one of the crappies main forage. Start with that until you gain an understanding of where the fish are, what they like, and what will produce more bites. Second, keep your offering simple. Nothing beats a gold Aberdeen hook under a slip float. Third, find some structure. This might be in the form of a dock extending over deep water, a downed tree coming from the bank, a stump or deadhead, brush pile, or weed flat. Fish as close as you can to that structure. If you don’t catch anything in short order, change your depth. If you still receive no action, move on. Not all fish are active at the same time.

    By keeping it simple you will train yourself on how to accurately locate fish. You will put a ton of useful knowledge in your memory bank that can later be utilized to customize your fishing style to the time of day, weather, temperature, moon phase, and so on.

    I know golf pro’s that cannot hit a ball in the fairway to save their life yet they can teach the perfect swing to a student or coach a PGA professional to his first major win. Conversely, there are magazine writers that put articles out about how to catch crappies yet have varying success with the tactics they write about.

    If you go with a buddy on some of his favorite lakes, pay attention to how he is fishing, the depth he is fishing, and the specific structure he is targeting. Understanding “where” the fish are is as important as understanding “why” they are there.


    wicklunrh, please PM me (Slab) your mailing address and shirt size and you'll receive your runner up prize package of Crappie.com goodies and Bobby Garland goodies. Thank you Driftmaster and Bobby Garland for your ongoing support of Crappie.com. Crappie.com sponsors and members are the best.

    This article is part of a series of articles, which were submitted to a Crappie.com "Best Fishing Advice" contest. You can see more "Best Fishing Advice" information here:
    http://www.crappie.com/crappie/list....dvice-Articles


    This article was originally published in forum thread: Driftmaster Best Advice Contest #1522- Ends end of Aug, 2015 - win 8 Crappie Stalkers started by Slab View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. SlabSlider's Avatar
      SlabSlider -
      Nice!
    1. Speckanator's Avatar
      Speckanator -
      Good advice
    1. brucec's Avatar
      brucec -
      Good stuff!!
    1. brucec's Avatar
      brucec -
      Good stuff!
    1. elkhunter's Avatar
      elkhunter -
      Great read. Thanks for sharing.
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      good picks
    1. RetiredRR's Avatar
      RetiredRR -
      You have a plan.
    1. "D"'s Avatar
      "D" -
      Thanks Rick.
    1. scrat's Avatar
      scrat -
      Wow! Lots of good advice. Thanks for sharing.
    1. Bick2020's Avatar
      Bick2020 -
      Thanks for the great advice, and will try soon.
    1. Bick2020's Avatar
      Bick2020 -
      A mind is like a parachute, and will not work unless open. Very good advice.
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