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Thread: Big Baits Big Crappie - by Brad Wiegmann

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    Default Big Baits Big Crappie - by Brad Wiegmann


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    Stop it. Stop right now. Put away your small crappie lures and get out the big ones!


    “All the years I have been guiding,” Beaver Lake crappie guide Payton Usrey continued, “I think every time this time of year everything starts moving up the river arms. They are coming from miles away to get up into the river arms from the big end of the lake. All of a sudden big fish just appear from nowhere and these are fish that aren't in this area any other time.”


    Usrey noted that the quality of big crappie are at a peak for fishing during this late February into March time period. “Beaver Lake where I guide has a good population of 10- or 11-inch crappie, which is normal for most of the year, and starts having a good population of 13- to 14-inch crappie moving up the river arms in late February into March,” said Usrey.


    He uses two different techniques to catch the big crappie during that time of year. First, Usrey will go spider rigging for them especially if his clients aren’t skilled at one pole fishing or have a lot of experience fishing. Typically, Usrey will be fishing in open water during this time for the larger crappie. “I will fish open water, on the flats, maybe over brush piles and in the back of big creek arms to target the big crappie when spider rigging,” said Usrey.


    Creeping along at .3 or less, Usrey likes moving somewhat fast when spider rigging. Usrey likes his lures or minnows to be slightly angled backwards compared to straight down from the rod tips. “I like to be moving forward because I think a crappie likes to chase a bait before biting it,” said Usrey.


    Generally, Usrey will focus on one small area when spider rigging. He likes to keep the bow of the boat into the wind and that determines how he fishes the area. If the fish are biting in one area and 300 hundred yards away not biting, we’ll move til we get in the right area. Live Scope also assists with locating schools or isolated big crappie that time of year.


    When spider rigging Usrey uses 16-foot B’n’M Poles graphite jigging poles in the bow of his boat. His homemade double rig is a single #2 minnow hook with a minnow rigged on it 12-inches above a ½-ounce sinker than a 1/16-ounce jighead paired with a Bobby Garland Minnow Mind’R tipped with a minnow 12-inches below the weight made from 8 pound test monofilament. If the crappie are not biting a certain color pattern he will change them up or change to the color patterns they are biting on.


    “Crappie will come up and look or bite the bottom lure/minnow rig or swim up to the minnow on the top hook,” Usrey continued, “Plus sometimes when you go through a school we catch 2 at a time that way.”


    The second technique is what Usrey referred to as chasing the chickens. “The other way we fish for the big crappie is chasing roaming fish using a single pole to pitch or cast to them,” Usrey went on, “My uncle refers to it as chasing the chickens.” Now if you haven’t chased chickens in an open field imagine that they are running fast in every direction with no boundaries to contain them.


    This time period Usrey breaks out the big baits. “I will start using 2- to 4-inch baits, however, most of the time I’m using a 2¼- or 3-inch bait,” Usrey continued, “With a ⅛- or ¼-inch jighead. My favorite is a ¼-ounce jighead. A bigger, bulkier bait just seems to work better that time of year. The bigger bait and jighead also lets you cover water faster and gets down to them which is good because they have a tendency to be moving quickly that time of year.”


    Typically the water temperature in Ozark highland reservoirs will be 48- to mid 50-degrees that time of year. Usrey revealed that most of the bigger crappie already have reproduction on their mind. On Beaver Lake, Usrey believes that 90 percent of the big crappie that are moving up are white crappie. If someone catches a black crappie it’s typically a big one 1 ½- to 2-pounds or even catch a big hybrid noted Usrey.


    When fishing for roamers, Usrey noted he looks like a bass fisherman with lots of different rod and reel combinations. Normally Usrey will have a 18 foot B’n’M Poles Black Diamond, 14 foot B’n’M Diamond Series jig pole, 6 foot B’n’M Poles Sharp Shooter Pole and 75th Anniversary rod and reel combo. Each pole will have from 6- t0 10-pound test rigged up on it.


    Lure wise when fishing for roamers Usrey uses pink, chartreuse or silver colored jigheads paired up with one of the Bobby Garland Slab Hunt’R Minnow and Baby Shad Swim’R in monkey milk or one with chartreuse color in it or shad pattern. “If they don’t bite any of those color patterns,” Usrey went on, “Then it’s going to be a tough day out on the water during that period of time. Crappie want big baits and they are opportunistic wanting a big meal. Get it in their face and they will eat it”


    Bigger soft plastic crappie baits and even bass baits that have a shad profile are ones Ursey will fish with for the bigger crappie.
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    Good article. Guess it's time for me to put my micro baits up. Thanks for sharing.

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    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing
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    Good read and good thing I'm stocked up on big and little bait. lol Thanks for posting.

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    Default Big Baits Big Crappie - by Brad Wiegmann

    Good read. When you tip a 2” inch jig with a 2” inch minnow you have a big bite bait also.


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    Big baits late winter and early spawn tend to work well on all the crappie , this is actually caused by the almost zero small prey items available at this time of year .
    Nice read
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    NIMROD is offline Crappie.com Legend - Kids Corner Moderator
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    Bigger baits work better most of the year down here. I used 1/4 oz jig heads and 2.5'' tubes a lot . Now using livescope and hand ties still prefer 1/4 oz. People years ago thought Crappie meant using tiny baits.
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    Eagle 1 is offline Crappie.com Legend and Mississippi Moderator
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    I start every trip with a 2.5 be from slabeye or muddy water on a1/16 or 1/8. Work my way down to crappie magnet on a 1/32 . Then to hair if need be . In our muddy /dingy water flood control in the spring you asre missing the boat not using 2.5 inch jigs . try them .

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