By Jim Newcomb
After months of waiting, it is finally here, Early pre-spawn Crappie season. the excitement of Crappie Season cannot be explained. The adrenalin rush you experience is like no other. The idea of finding that school of Crappie and catching that beautiful luscious white flakey dinner just revs one up beyond words.
It seems like I deal with some muddy waters this early in the year, with the wind still blowing pretty good. it seems to me that those muddy waters just attract those Crappie in, especially if there is some brush to hide in.
You have to really watch your presentation when fishing for Crappie in Muddy waters. Crappie in semi-muddy to muddy waters tend to hold tight to the brush and cover. I fish a White and red or pink jig in the muddy water. Depending on the shade of the mud, heavy to slight, is what will determine your shade or "degree of pink or red jig. the muddier the water, the more florescent the color of pink I am going to use. Chartreuse is also a color of jig that works good in muddy water. A friend of mine from Missouri taught me how to flip my line around boulders, stumps, or docks when the water is churned up and on the muddy side. This method works very well and produces enough Crappie for a mess.
Using a small 1/32-ounce jigs at various depths of water usually produces excellent results. This will work all the way to the late pre-spawn time and into the spawn when dealing with muddy water.
If you are fishing for Crappie in muddy water, then you will always Focus on ledges, timber, brush and docks for success.
When fishing high water, you can have all sorts of new options opened to you for Crappie fishing, but fishermen must re-think where those fish will be. A lot is going to depend on where that high water has taken place at what period of the spawn or pre-spawn.
if it is early in the season and the waters are still cold, you will more than likely find Crappie still hanging out in the deeper waters.
If you happen to be fishing flooded timbers, you are better off fishing the vertical lines along the edges looking for deep pockets and brushy area with good cover. Using a vertical jigging method in these types holes works very well. During the spawn you will want to work up to the heavy cover the best you can and do some vertical jigging in the openings of the cover.
If the lake water is up, as it is a lot of times in early Crappie season, I will make a point to search out areas with flooded docks and such. This can turn out to be a very good area.
Some people like to troll with a lot of line out on their reels, that is not something I do a lot of. I find concentrating my efforts fishing the brush piles and flooded timber is much more rewarding. When Crappie start spawning, it is time for the fisherman to change Tactics. during the spawn the fish will head to the shallows to claim that bedding sight.
Yes Crappie change patterns when they start spawning, but not all of them do. Some of them will linger in the deeper water and spawn right in that deeper water.
I fish almost exclusively on artificial lures for Crappie, but I know when to start fishing for Crappie with live bait. That good old shinny minnow, you just can't beat it. Live bait does seem to be more preferable when the water transcends from cold to cool.
I also like to use live bait in those areas that tend to have drops, ledges and humps, you know, the areas where you know Crappie are holding. My friend and I will use live bait over brush piles and sunken debris that we know are holding Crappie in them.
I have always considered Suspended fish as a live-bait target. A key to success with live bait and tight-lining is to keep adjusting the bait to fish at different depths. If Crappie are suspended you need to fish the entire water column effectively to find the right depth on a given day.
When you are fishing the late pre-spawn into the spawn, then you need to be fishing that artificial lure, primarily jigs with soft plastic bodies, it seems to work every time for me.
Some of the best places to fish artificial lures are shallow water main-lake flats, and around anyplace where different types of shoreline substrate meet, you might also try bridge pilings, docks, and dead tree groves. These are ideal places to work jigs vertically and quickly cover different depths. Using jigs under snap-on floats or slip floats, and working ultra-shallow water during the spawn are perfect uses of artificial lures.
Crappie attack jigs dropped into their staging areas and you don't have to re-bait, this can be the time to literally catch them as fast as you can drop a jig into the water.
Crappie fishing during the early spring is the prime time of the year for great fishing, but you have to make choices and contend with challenges. Armed with these keys, you can make 2011 your best Crappie fishing year ever.
Jim "Duckie" Newcomb, president of ShellShocked Outdoors, http://www.shellshockedoutdoors.com, he is an outdoors man with 45 years of personal experience in hunting, fishing and the great outdoors. He is an accomplished and respected waterfowl hunter along with guiding upland bird hunting adventures. He has trained thousands of gun dogs throughout his career. He is the host of an outdoor radio show and a respected outdoors writer and editor. His company does a lot of product testing for manufacturers of outdoor products.
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