John’s Note: Crappie Pro Kyle Schoenherr guides on Rend Lake, Kinkaid Lake and Lake of Egypt in southern Illinois. Rend Lake is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake like Grenada Lake in Mississippi and has shallow, stained water. Kinkaid Lake and Lake of Egypt are both deep, clear lakes.
Most of the lakes I guide on, my customers like to fish with single poles and watch the bobber dive for the bottom and feel the bite on the pole.
Most of my clients aren’t tournament crappie fishermen. If a person wants to buy his or her own crappie-fishing tackle, I suggest he get a 12-foot pole, which will allow him to fish farther away from the boat in shallow water and get a deeper hook set in deep water. If I had to pick one pole to crappie fish, it would be the B’n’M’s BGJP (Buck’s Graphite Jig Pole) (www.bnmpoles.com). This pole lets a crappie fisherman fish many different ways. Then I recommend a Shakespeare Sigma series (www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk) ultra light reel or centrepin reel. The pole will cost about $30 to $40 and the reel about $19. When fishing jigs, I prefer 15-pound-test line with the diameter of 4-pound-test diameter braided line, when fishing in heavy cover. If the jig gets hung, you can reach down, take hold of that braided line and give it a steady pull to straighten out the hook on your jig.
I use both tube jigs and minnows with a Roadrunner (www.ttiblakemore.com) head. We use Midsouth (www.midsouthtackle.com) glow colors, in chartreuse, pink and white pearl glow colored jigs. I think crappie can see the glow colors better than they can the solid colors, especially in muddy or deep water. I like either the 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jigs.
One of the things I like about Rend Lake is that there’s buckbrush all the way around the lake, often in 6 to 10 inches of water. One of the problems, I have with anglers who never have fished with me is they want to pull the jigs all the way to ends of their poles, stick the poles in the buckbrush and then drop the jigs. If you use that type of presentation, you can’t set the hook. The buckbrush will stop the upward motion of the pole.
I suggest that my clients start with their jigs above the buckbrush, let their jigs down through the brush into the water, hold the excess line in their left hands and their poles in their right hands, the jigs to drop through the brush and then lower them to the bottom.
I don’t want the jigs to fall to the bottom..
Then, pull the jigs up a little off the bottom, and lower them again. By holding the jig above the brush and letting it fall through the brush above the water and to the bottom, anytime the jig is in the water; you can pull it straight up, get a good hook set and usually pull the crappie out of the brush. Even if the buckbrush is 6 foot out of the water, I still want to hold my pole and jig above the brush and get a vertical fall on the jig. Then, I have plenty of room to pull the pole up and set the hook hard.
If we get a crappie hung in the brush, I have a 4-foot-long aluminum frog-gig handle. I take a large catfish hook and attach the catfish hook to the end of the frog gigging pole. I can reach in with my pole, put the catfish hook in the crappie’s mouth and pull the crappie out of the brush without pulling it off the hook. Another advantage to my catfish hook gaff is if my client gets his jig hung on a limb, I can put that catfish hook around the limb, turn it to the left or to the right and break off the limb his jig is hung on, and he can pull his jig and the limb it’s attached to back to the boat and get his jig unhooked.
Go to Kyle Schoenherr’s website: www.allseasonscrappiefishing.com to learn more.
For more crappie fishing tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter,” “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” “Catch Cold Water Crappie Now,” and “Reelfoot Lake: How to Fish for Crappie, Bass, Bluegills and Catfish & Hunt for Ducks.” Click here to get these books.
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About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.