Crappie fishing is one of my favorite activities. Not only are they fun to catch, but they are also delicious to eat. There are very few dinners I enjoy more than freshly caught crappies that have been fried.
In the springtime, crappies will invade the shallow, near shore waters by the thousands. This is the best time of the year to target them because they are in the shallow water and they are in very large schools. Spring crappie fishing is very rewarding.
When searching for a place to catch crappies in the spring you need to first look for structure. Crappies prefer to relate to wood. Wood can take the form of a fallen tree that has sunken into the water. In reservoirs, you will find large areas of flooded timber. The flooded timber will form an underwater forest, of sorts. If the body of water that you fish has no timber, search for them on rock piles, along rip rap shorelines. If you are still wondering where to find them, look in shallow flats, canals, or in bays.
If the water you are fishing is clear to slightly stained, you should drive around the area you are searching slowly in your boat with your Polaroid sunglasses on. Scan the water and look for the shadows of crappies. Once you see one stop your boat and begin fishing. If you see one fish, there are many more in the area.
The first thing that you have to remember is that crappies are always looking up for their food. If you are targeting shallow water you will want to make your presentations even shallower. A good place to start is half way down the water column. What this means is that you should set your bobbers so that they will cause your bait to sit half way down in the water column, for instance, if the water is 6 feet deep, ensure that your bobber is set so that your bait sits three feet down.
Use a small bobber on light line. I like to use line that is 4 - 6 pound test. Use small , gold wire hooks for best results. The light, wire hooks will bend if you get them snagged on wood. Sometimes they will even come out with slow and steady pressure. This is a plus because you are going to lose plenty of hooks while fishing in the wood.
Use a small, split shot type sinker to make your bait sink down to where the fish are.
The old stand by bait is minnows. Most bait shops call "crappie sized" minnows crappie minnows. This is how well they work for catching crappies. I like to say that, "I never met a crappie that wouldn't bite on a crappie minnow." But here is how I also feel. When the crappies are biting very well, putting on minnows will simply slow you down. I like to use jigs when I find myself in this situation.
My favorite jig to use for crappies is the mini mite made by cubby lures. This is my favorite panfish lure by far. One of the things I like about the mini mite is that you don't have to do anything with it. Simply cast it out and let it sit. If you want to pull your bobber around to impart some action to the jig, that is fine, but you certainly don't have to do it. I have caught so many crappies by simply allowing a mini mite to hang underneath a bobber. Crappies just seem to love these things no matter how you fish with them.
These jigs come in a variety of colors. I like the ones that most people would consider to be crazy. I prefer to use the very bright colors such as hot pink or orange. I also do not like to use the big ones. I prefer the little ones even though they are so small that they sink slowly and are difficult to cast. Make sure that you are purchasing the 1/32 ounce jigs.
They can be fished in a variety of ways. You can use the do nothing approach of placing it under a bobber, or tightline it by structure such as standing timber. Many anglers like to cast it and reel it in. I have caught fish using each of these.
Springtime is the best time of the year to fish for crappies. I love to catch crappies and frying them up is just the icing on the cake. It is kind of the perfect ending to a perfect day spent fishing.