John’s Note: Crappie don’t die after the spawn. But most of the time, you’ll have a difficult time finding them and seldom in shallow water. Some of the best crappie fishermen in the South have shared their secrets with us for catching crappie in weather so hot, eggs almost can fry on the sidewalk.
* “Understand that the speed of your jig determines crappie-fishing success,” Roger Gant of Corinth, Mississippi (731-689-5666), longtime crappie guide on the border of Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama, explains. “If crappie bite aggressively, troll the jigs at a faster speed. When crappie act finicky, slow down the speed at which you troll. But always maintain the same water depth where you’re trolling your jigs. The trolling speed often determines the number of crappie you’ll catch in a day of fishing.
* “Tie two different-colored jigs on the same line when you troll. In general, crappie can’t distinguish between green, pink or orange jigs. But, under certain water and weather conditions, the crappie will be able to detect one of those colors better than the other colors. Fish usually will bite the colors they can see the best. For instance, the crappie in Pickwick Lake take chartreuse and lime-colored jigs best. However, if you move west of Pickwick Lake into Mississippi where the water becomes more stained, the crappie seem to prefer orange and pink. Determine which color of jigs the crappie will bite best where you fish.
* “Learn to read a depth finder to confirm the location of crappie and tell how the crappie are relating to the structure. If crappie are holding above the structure, I know how deep to let my jigs down, so the fish will take them. With crappie holding tight to the structure, I know I need to troll slower and let the jigs pass just barely above the structure.
* “Use fish attractants, which contain oil of anise to cover human scent and also will cause fish to bite. I’m not sure whether or not crappie can smell human odor as effectively as white-tailed deer can, but I do know I catch more fish when I use a fish attractant.
* “Put your rod tip in the water. Anytime you set your hook on a crappie, you’ll tear its mouth. Once the water temperatures increase in the summer, the crappie become much-more active at the surface after they’re hooked – often shaking their heads to throw the jigs, especially if they get their heads out of the water. Putting your rod tip under the water when the crappie comes to the surface keeps its head in the water.
To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, “Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter,” “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” “Catch Cold Water Crappie Now” and “Catch Crappie All Year: Fishing a Single Pole, Using No Boat and Farming Crappie.” Click here to get these books. To receive for free the “Crappie Catchers’ Cookbook,” by John and Denise Phillips that offers free recipes, click here.