Knowing how to fish and catch crappie may seem pretty simple and straightforward, but it can be a little tricky and complicated to get the hang of. Every year, hordes of crappies flock to the shallows to spawn. In the Northern states, this can occur a month or so after ice-out or even during the last of the hard-water season, and in the South, the migration can start as early as February.
Luckily the pros have it figured out and can catch their limit in no time, so let’s go over three of their favorite tactics to help you limit out on crappies on your next fishing trip!
Jig the Cover and Structure
Crappie are predatory fish, so they like to hang around different pieces of cover and structure in order to hunt and stay hidden. Things like weed beds, flooded timber, piles of brush, boat docks, and submerged rocks are perfect spots for attracting schools of crappie to them. Many pro anglers love to target these areas and use things like jigs. When targeting these areas, quickly jig in and out of these places to cover as much ground as possible until you find the school of fish.
When you do find some fish, stay in the target area and slow down the jigging. Jigs are some of the best lures for crappie and they will usually be in groups so focus on the same spot and try to catch them all!
Test Out Deeper Waters
Many anglers will target crappie out in the flats and shallows, but there are many deep water patterns that some anglers might be missing out on. During hotter weather, the fish will vary in depth and can be down in deeper water to escape the warmer temperatures. These deeper depths can be fished very effectively with a slip bobber rig. If there is too much wind and you can’t use the bobber, remove it and tie on weight to get your bait further down in the water.
Search the Shallows with Minnows
When many of the crappies start to move into the tighter cover and begin spawning, it can be a great time to pull out some new tricks and flip some minnows into these small pockets of brush and logs where the fish are hiding. In the wide-open shallows, slowly drift and troll with your minnows and try to find where the schools of fish are hiding out at. If you still can’t seem to entice a bite, try slowing down your fishing and casting.
Catching crappie can be a lot of fun if you know what you are doing. The pros always seem to be able to catch their limit in no time, and if you follow these simple tips, you can do the same on your next fishing trip!
For more great ideas on how to fish and hunt from the experts, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Hunting & Fishing Blog for more great tips & tricks.