SLABSAUCE Crappie Attractant |
  • Post Spawn Crappies - by Slabsrus

    As I pulled out of the parking lot from work last Tuesday and headed for one of my favorite Northern Michigan post spawn crappie waters, I was anxious to see if the pattern I have followed for landing good post spawn bluegills and crappies would produce once again. For the past 30 plus years I have developed a pattern for locating and catching big pan fish after they have spawned, and before they have moved to their mid summer hideouts. Arriving at the lake I took a quick look in the shallows near the sandy boat access. A few beds were present but they were empty. A good sign for me.
    With my 2 ultra light rod and reel combos and a small tackle box with jigs and soft plastic baits loaded in my kayak, I slowly worked my way along the sand and gravel shallows searching for pan fish beds that might still be active. Many beds were visible but not one had a fish in it, which told me it was time to check the old pattern. I worked my way threw the submerged stump field toward the river channel which flows through the center of the impoundment. I strategically placed my lures around stumps, lily pads and open water pockets. My first dozen casts came without a bite but I could here bluegills popping some sort of fly from the surface so I knew the fish were there.
    Observing the stumps and water surface around me I noticed a lot of dragonflies hovering just over the surface of the water and on the stumps. I also noticed a lot of aquatic larva coming out of the water and crawling up the stumps. I had been using an orange jig but noticed that the dragon flies were bluish purple so I tied on a small purple jig and tipped it with a brown/green soft plastic tapered earthworm. My first cast was immediately answered with a quick submersion of my bobber and a hook set on a small female bluegill. Several consecutive casts provided the same results. My bait switch was obviously a good choice, it was then just a matter of finding the bigger fish.
    A few quick paddles and I was sitting just 10 feet from a cluster of 4 stumps that sit right on the edge of the main lake creek channel. I gently flipped my jig and bobber combination just beyond the stump cluster and retrieved it until my jig was resting under the bobber right next to the stumps. Almost instantly a couple small water rings were sent off my bobber followed by the its' complete disappearance. A sharp hook set and a raise of the pole high to keep the hooked fish from rapping around a stump. With the fish rushing from side to side and digging deep toward the stumps I could tell it was a nice pan fish. A few short reels and I boated my first big pan fish of the day, a beautiful male sunfish in full colors. At just under 11 inches he was a real dandy and definitely stringer worthy, but if you have read any of my fishing tales before you already know I always release the first keeper. I took a few photos and placed the slab sunfish back into the stump filled waters, hoping it was just the first of many to come.
    My next five casts by that same stump cluster produced 5 good crappies, all of which were on the downwind side of the stumps. 2 more casts came unanswered so I moved to the next stump along the river channel. Three casts, no fish. Move to the next stump, which was actually another cluster of 3 stumps. 7 casts put 7 good fish in the kayak, 4 more crappie and 3 big gills. After a couple more cast with no bites it was time to move again, but this time I skipped over the single stumps and went right to the next stump cluster. Bingo, a serious pattern became obvious.
    Over the following 2 hours I managed to land 57 similar pan fish. Bluegills between 9 and 11 inches, and crappies between 10 and 12 inches came about as fast as I could cast and reel. But it was not that simple, there was a definite pattern that had to be followed. Any variation from the pattern meant small fish or no fish at all.
    Year after year I have caught fish in this same impoundment, and many others like it , using this same pattern. The big fish will move out and line the creek channel until the waters surrounding the creek and main lake areas get to weedy, then they will move into the open waters of the main lake. But it gets a little more detailed than that.
    The big fish were only by stump clusters, they were not around individual stumps, and they were all on the down wind side of the stump clusters. The baits had to be purple with brown/green soft plastic trailer and had to be suspended under a clear bobber no more than 18 inches deep, even though I was fishing in 5 feet of water. My soft plastic trailers come in 2 inch lengths but they had to be trimmed down to 1 inch or less, and had to be presented very softly with little or no motion once the bait had settled under the bobber. A pattern within a pattern.
    Just knowing that the fish would be along the creek channel was only the basic pattern. Paying attention to the little intricacies within that pattern is what really made for a successful outing. So the next time you head for your favorite fishing hole pay attention to the subtle little details that might make the difference in a fishing trip or a successful fishing trip.

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