Editor’s Note: In late spring and summer, you can catch crappie in many unorthodox ways, including fishing with knitting thread, fake hair or fur, jugging, goldfish, chumming and egging to name a few tactics. This week we’ll look at fishing strategies you can use for crappie that you’ve probably never considered.
When we think about goldfish, immediately children come to our minds, since they enjoy watching goldfish in an aquarium, a bowl or a water pond at home. But some crappie fishermen buy goldfish to fish for crappie. They believe they catch bigger crappie on goldfish than they do on minnows. They’ve also found that the goldfish seem to live longer than minnows do. Too, crappie will bite goldfish more readily than some other baits, perhaps because of their high visibility, especially in stained water.
Today some crappie fishermen use quart bleach bottles to catch crappie like other anglers jug for catfish. By tying monofilament on the necks of the jugs, they suspend either goldfish or live minnows on hooks or 1/24- or 1/32-ounce crappie jigs on the lines. Net they allow the jugs to blow across the mouths of creeks, river ledges and shallow-water coves where the crappie may spawn during the spring. When the crappie take the jigs, they tip-up the jugs. Then the angler brings in the crappie. But check the regulations of the state where you plan to fish before using this method.
Using Wig Hair or Fake Fur:
Other crappie enthusiasts have discovered that crappie like a 1/8- or a 1/16-ounce homemade jig with the skirt of the jig fashioned from either craft fur or wig hair. They’ve found that artificial wig hair and fake fur will cause the skirts on the jigs to pulse (flare open and close) as the anglers reel in the jigs. When a crappie fisherman moves a jig forward, the hair or fur falls back against the hook. But if the angler slows down or stops the jig, the hair or fur will fluff up in the water. Crappie, particularly post-spawn crappie in deep, clear lakes that often spook easily, love this soft presentation.
When you sit over a bush or a brush top and try to either jig or minnow fish, you often will cause clear-water crappie to bury up deep in the bushes and not bite. Even trolling over the top of the crappie may spook the fish and make them hold tight to the cover. However, if you back your boat 15 to 20 yards away from the area you want to fish, cast the bait made of either fake hair or fur to the target, and allow it to fall vertically, the crappie will move out of the brush and take the bait. Some crappie anglers have documented that pastel-colored jigs draw more strikes than bright colors in clear water, proving once again that blondes have more fun. The wig hair jigs in the dirty-blonde color seem to attract more bites, perhaps because baitfish in clear water often have seen that color before.
To receive and download for free “The Crappie Catchers’ Cookbook,” by John and Denise Phillips, go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books.