Bridges produce consistently good crappie action, if you know how to fish them. Learn the approaches of several top anglers.
We drive over them in our cars. We ride under them in our boats, often on the way from one fishing hole to another. Many anglers hardly give them a second thought. But when it comes to crappie fishing, maybe bridges should be an angler’s first thought.
Fishing around bridges takes a lot of the guesswork out of finding crappie, says Oklahoma fishing guide Mike Taylor. Many of his favorite waters, including Lake Eufaula, are home to multiple bridges. He rarely drops a crappie jig in the water anywhere else before pulling up to a bridge area and looking with his electronics. He’s looking for baitfish and crappie.
Whether you target walleyes, panfish or some other species, it’s important to be equipped with the right lures when you hit the ice.
If you’re an ice fisherman, few things are more agonizing than the wait for safe ice. You’ve been wearing out your weather app, hoping to start seeing crazily low lows in the 10-day, all the while dreaming and scheming about where you’ll hit the ice first and how your hard-water season will progress.
Wishing won’t ready the ice sooner, though, so you might as well make the best use of the wait time. One way to do that is to prepare your ice gear, getting all in good order and making certain you have the tackle needed when you finally get out on the ice. With such planning in mind, we’ve put a great selection ice fishing lures on sale throughout November. Everything on our Ice Fishing Lures page will be automatically discounted 15 percent in the cart through Nov. 30.
Also to aid your preparation, we’ll look at some of the lures that are important to have ready if you want to start your ice season right!
Building glow into your crappie fishing strategies can help you catch more fish, especially when the bite is tough.
“Anyone can catch a crappie when they are biting, but when the crappie are not aggressive or the bite tapers off, that’s when using a Mo’ Glo lure or Mo’ Glo Slab Jam will get you bites,” said Mississippi crappie guide Brad Chappell.
Chappell relies on Bobby Garland’s Mo’ Glo lures, which glow in the dark, when fishing deep, early in the morning or late afternoon.
When long lining, Chappell will typically rig a 1/24- to 1/8-ounce Crappie Pro Mo’ Glo Jighead. The weight of the jighead depends on what depth he is targeting.
Crappie dock shooting expert Terry Blankenship pins fall as prime time for shooting. We asked him for the details about his favorite way to catch crappie.
“I’m sorry we picked such a busy lake day,” Terry Blankenship said with a wry grin as he made a U-turn on the ramp in preparation to back his boat down. There wasn’t another vehicle at the facility, nor a boat in sight, where we were launching on Missouri’s famed crappie water, Lake of the Ozarks.
“That’s the other thing I love about fishing this time of year, I pretty much have the lake to myself during the week,” Blankenship said.
The “other thing” reference wrapped up a discussion we’d had during our 20-minute drive from his home. Blankenship had been telling me why he likes fall best for dock shooting. “From now all the way up to the end of December, this is THE prime time to be dock shooting, and it’s absolutely the most exciting way to crappie fish I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
Learn about how crappie baits can be altered or accessorized to enhance opportunities to catch fish.
We fish: therefore, we are… tinkerers. We simply can’t resist the urge to make our crappie baits, well, “crappier.”
Some of our creations would make Dr. Frankenstein proud, while others would humble Rembrandt. Whatever the transformation, the only judge of its beauty lies in the beholder that waits at the opposite end of the line. And any crappie can have a mood that changes at the drop of a bait. The irony of it all is that a failed fishing outing can be just as inspirational in driving our quick return as one that filled the livewell quickly.
Savvy anglers know they can catch summertime crappie in the shallows with the right presentation. Read on and learn when to use which type of presentation.
When the summer heat is on, many crappie anglers head for deep water because they believe crappie go deep to seek the comfort of cooler water. While several anglers try vertical jigging techniques for deep crappie, four panfish experts head in the opposite direction to catch summertime crappie.
“That goes against some people’s beliefs that crappie go deep during the summertime, but they don’t because they are going to go where the baitfish are, and that is really the biggest key,” Lake of the Ozarks guide Terry Blankenship said. “They are just going to follow the bait.”
Blankenship and other veteran crappie anglers believe the presence of baitfish keep many crappie in the shallows, even in the scorching heat of summer.
Paying attention to prevalent forage and selecting bait styles and colors to match findings can yield big dividends when you are crappie fishing.
“Itty Bit?” Gary Dollahon asked, with a tone that suggested he already knew the answer.
“Of course,” I replied.
Dollahon, who is brand manager for Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, had put us on some bridge crappie at Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula, and an Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R was carrying the crappie-catching load for me. I was fishing a tandem rig, with a regular sized Baby Shad Swim’R in front and an Itty Bit trailing, and virtually every fish was hitting the diminutive offering. I didn’t count, but I’m guessing I caught 25 of 30 crappie during a couple of hours of bridge fishing, and all except one were on the Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R.
We saw schools of tiny minnows around every bridge pillar and around other cover throughout that day, so while I can’t get inside the fish’s heads, it makes sense that the 1 ¼-inch bait had greater appeal because it more accurately matched the forage fish the crappie had been eating.
Learn the favored teaching approaches of the author, who is long-time fishing guide, plus perspectives from a professional crappie angler and a fishing industry veteran.
If you want to hook a kid on crappie fishing, you only must do two things: Keep it simple and catch crappie. Sounds easy enough, but where do you begin?
Over the years, as a guide on Beaver Lake, I have guided hundreds of young anglers out fishing with their parents. The key to having a successful day out on the water with young anglers is to keep moving and finding actively feeding fish.