pan fishing

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How To Catch Crappie

Even though they are one of the most popular pan fish, many fishermen do not know how to catch crappie.  Sometimes it seems to be too easy to catch these fish; while other times it seems it is impossible to even find a crappie.  In the spring, crappies school in shallow bays and even kids with cane poles can fill stringer after stringer.  When the fish are suspended in
open water, even the most experienced fishermen can have trouble finding and catching these fish.

Crappies are not as curious as sunfish and will shy away from an unusual disturbance.  This is especially true in clear water.  Because crappies act this way should have a bearing on the techniques used to catch them.  By avoiding unnecessary noise and movements, keeping your distance, and using the lightest fishing line for the conditions will help to catch this sometimes elusive fish.

How To Catch Crappie When They Are Spawning

When crappies are spawning an almost stealth approach should be used.  The fish will scatter off their beds from even the slightest of disturbances.  When fishing for spawning crappies you should never anchor your boat in the spawning area.

Crappies very rarely will leave their beds when they are spawning.  In order to catch spawning crappies the bait must be placed very near to the fish.  Crappies will hover near cover motionlessly and wait for baitfish to pass to catch crappie

Using small minnows and light spinning gear cast a baitfish hooked below a small float or bobber past the spawning area and slowly retrieve it back into the fish. If possible, dangle the bait in front of the fish using a long fishing rod.

How To Catch Crappie In Different Types Of Cover

Most lakes and reservoirs will have some kind timber or brush cover scattered through them. Baitfish will move into this cover to feed. Following the baitfish into the cover is how to catch crappie. Schools of crappies will feed on the baitfish. This cover will also offer shade and protection to the crappies.

Depending on the time of year, crappies will be in water anywhere from less than 6 feet to up to 35 feet. Use 10 to 20 pound monofilament fishing line and light-wire hooks. Small jigs with a float or bobber are used to keep the bait just above the cover to keep it from snagging.

Crappies will also seek out weedlines to search for food, especially on overcast days or at twilight. They will also use weeds in bright sunlight, for shade and cover. Because crappies rarely use dense weedbeds, light tackle can be used.

Crappies will use man-made structure more than other pan fish. Structures such as piers, docks, bridges, old roadbeds, and fencelines will hold fish at one time or another during the year. Small jigs and spoons cast past one of these structures and
retrieved with an erratic motion can trigger strikes. Man-made brush piles seem to be the best crappie attractor.  Still-fishing
over the top of brush piles with a minnow and a bobber is a good method to catch fish. Using a small jig just above the piles without snagging will also produce fish.

How To Catch Crappie Through The Ice

People often wonder how to catch crappie in the winter. During the winter months crappies can be found in water ranging in depth from 3 feet to more than 30 feet. It is this difference in depths that makes catching these fish a challenge. One way to try to locate fish is to adjust the depth of your bait continually until fish are found. If you are lucky enough to have a portable fish finder, this makes the chore of finding crappies easier.crappie jigs

Perhaps the most popular way to fish for crappies in the winter is dangling a minnow beneath a bobber. If fishing is slow, using larval baits can be effective.  These include waxworms, grubs, and even maggots. Some anglers will use minnow-like jigging lures or small spoons. These work well when fishing is fast.

There are many techniques and different kinds of gear to help catch crappies. I have only barely touched the surface. Hopefully, this little bit of information will help to show you how to catch crappie.

Ice Fishing Gear