Editor’s Note: Roger Gant of Corinth, Mississippi, has fished Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee River for more than 40 years. Some fishermen haven’t recognized Pickwick Lake, located on the Alabama/Tennessee/Mississippi border, as a crappie lake. However, Gant guides on Pickwick Lake more than 200 days a year and consistently catches good limits of slab crappie.
* Learn to read a depth finder, and understand what you see on the bottom to have crappie-fishing success. The depth finder confirms the location of crappie, which means I can fish with much more confidence. The depth finder also tells me how the crappie relate to the structure. If the crappie are holding above the structure, I know how deep to let my jigs down, so that the fish will take them. If the crappie are holding in the structure, I know that I’ll have to troll slower and let the jigs pass just barely above the structure.
* Use Baitmate (http://baitmate.com/), a fish attractant, to cover human scent. I don’t know whether the crappie can smell human odor as effectively as the white-tailed deer or not. But, I feel I catch more fish when the crappie don’t smell me. I know that Baitmate has oil of anise in it. I know that anise oil can and does cause fish to bite. So, I use Baitmate, and I believe it helps me catch more crappie.
* Put your rod tip in the water to help keep the crappie’s head under the water. Then the fish won’t get off the hook, when you fish for wintertime crappie and bring the crappie to the net. Anytime you set the hook on the crappie, you will tear its mouth some. With the water temperatures increasing in the summer, the crappie become much more active and are much more likely to shake their heads and throw the jigs, especially if they get their heads out of the water. By putting your rod tip under the water when the fish come to the surface, you’ll keep the crappie’s head in the water, and it will be less likely to shake the jig out of its mouth.
* Use a rubber dip net. Jigs don’t hang up in a rubber dip net like they do in the basket of a dip net made from plastic or braided line. If you don’t want to waste a third of your day getting your jigs out of a dip net, then purchase and use a dip net with a rubber basket.
To learn more about crappie fishing with Roger Gant, call him at 731-689-5666 or 662-287-2017, or go to http://visitmississippi.org/events-and-points-of-interest/super-pro-guide-service-26669.
To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, and print and Audible books by going to https://johninthewild.com/books/#crappie or to www.barnesandnoble.com for Nook books. To receive and download for free “The Crappie Catchers’ Cookbook,” by John and Denise Phillips, go to https://johninthewild.com/free-books.