John’s Note: When I learned how Kevin Caudle of Gum Pond, Alabama was using a new lighting system to catch stripers on deep, clear Lewis Smith Lake in north Alabama, I decided that those same techniques should work to catch deep-water crappie at different times of the year. To test this idea, I contacted Dan Dannenmueller, one of the nation’s top competitive crappie fishermen and the owner of the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Tournament (www.crappiemasters.net) and the online free magazines www.crappienow.com and www.catfishnow.com. I asked Caudle to bring his lighting system and go with Dannenmueller and me on the Alabama River in central Alabama at night to see if this new lighting system would bring deep-water crappie up to within catchable range for crappie fishermen at night. Dannenmueller had gone out early that afternoon and found some spots that were holding deep-water crappie. For the next couple of days, I’ll show you what we learned about how to catch crappie at night with deep-water and shallow-water flexible, non-floating, submersible lights that were inexpensive, almost indestructible and deadly efficient.
As most crappie fishermen who fish tight lines (without corks) know, the key to catching crappie in either the daytime or nighttime is to see the bite. During daylight hours, you can see your line move sideways, or you can watch the end of your pole to see your pole tip twitch. When Dannenmueller, Caudle and I were fishing the Alabama River, Dannenmueller used 16-foot B’n’M (www.bnmpoles.com) poles. With the range of the light beside the boat up to 5-1/2 to 6 feet away from the boat, these 16 foot B’n’M poles held our baits just on the outer edges of the light and far past the point at which an angler could see the tip of his pole. Detecting a strike could be very difficult at night, if your poles were in rod holders. To solve this problem, Caudle suggested that Dannenmueller use a predator hunting lamp that’s easily and comfortably strapped to your head and puts out a bright green light similar to the green light in the water. Although this light was originally designed for predator hunters to be able to spot and take fur-bearing predators at night, Dannenmueller found that this green light enabled him to see the tips of his poles, while using a light that wouldn’t spook the crappie.
“Because I was spider rigging with four poles on the front of the boat, I needed to constantly be able to see my lines and the tips of my poles,” Dannenmueller explains. “This green head light allowed me to see both as well as the bank 50-yards away.” According to Caudle, “This light was originally designed for predator hunting, and I’ve used it to spot coyotes out to 300 yards and more. However, I also like to strap a predator light to my head when I striper fish to see how to bait up live shad, and I thought Dan would enjoy trying this light out for crappie fishing.”
You can watch this video, “Dan Dannenmueller – Why He Uses Green Lights to Crappie Fish at Night,” and the video, “Dan Dannenmueller on the Effect of Fuzzy Green Lights for Catching Crappie at Night.”
For more information on the Bait Snake Fishin Light from Enlightened Outdoors, go to www.baitsnake.com.
To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, “Reelfoot Lake: How to Fish for Crappie, Bass, Bluegills and Catfish & Hunt for Ducks,” “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” by clicking on each, or go to www.barnesandnoble.com to see Nook books.
To receive and download for free “The Crappie Catchers’ Cookbook,” by John and Denise Phillips that offers free recipes, go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books.