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Spring is crappie fishing time

Posted: March 15, 2014 - 11:23am

Spring arrives in Arkansas, officially, this week, and you can count on the crappie fishermen getting into action.

Here is an assortment of crappie tips collected from anglers over the years:

Whether you call it a bobber, cork or float, it offers two major advantages in spring fishing, whether you are fishing with jigs or minnows. It allows you to control and track depths, making it easy to identify the productive zone and keep baits in it, and allows you to move the lure or bait slowly, even stopping it along the way, which can be essential for getting crappie to strike.

Crappie anglers debate about fishing with live minnows or using artificial jigs. Sometimes combining the two is effective in crappie work. Just hook a small minnow on to the jig.

Use light line for crappie. The lighter the line the easier it is to feel the bite. Many crappie fishermen favor 4-pound or 6-pound test line.

Fish for crappie around drop-offs. Crappie tend to hang at the same depth, so fish at the same depth while trolling or jigging this kind of structure.

Go after big crappie with small crank baits or spinner type lures, You may not catch many but they will be big. Use a variety of colors to find out what works best that particular day.

Check out structure for crappie. Underwater tree limbs and stumps can also produce good crappie. Bridge abutments can produce crappie. During the day fish the shady side first then work your way around the abutment. Rocky drop-offs and rock piles that descend down from shore to deeper water can be very productive.

Anglers enjoy going after spring crappie because they tend to migrate to shallower water and this alone cuts down on your search time. Instead of holding on hidden cover, crappie will tend to move to shallow treetops and stump fields, riprap banks and docks, many of which are visible, often in the backs of creeks or coves and usually fairly close to a lake’s banks. Besides being shallow, spring crappie tend to stack up, so where you hook into one big fish, the chances are extremely good that you are going to catch a bunch of them.

Keep a marker buoy handy any time you troll and toss it out any time you get more than one strike in a small area. If you find a real hotspot don’t anchor right over it especially if the water is shallow. Try to anchor a good cast away from the area so the fish won’t feel invaded or spooked.

Try bumping the bottom. Get the bait or lure down to the bottom, perhaps with the help of a weight on a swivel just below the hook. Then raise the bait until you get a hit from a crappie. Jig fishermen often start with lighter jigs, like 1-32nd ounce, the change to 1-16th ounce and even 1-8th ounce until then get action from crappie.

Pay attention to the water color, as crappie will hold much shallower when the water is murky or stained than when the water is clear.

Crappie have tender mouths and can tear easily sp always fish with sharp hooks. When you set the hook, be careful not to jerk too hard. Do it gently with a sharp twitch and don’t set the hook like you are fishing for bass.

Spring crappie tend to migrate to shallower water, and this alone cuts down on your search time. Instead of holding in hidden cover, crappie will tend to move to shallow treetops and stump fields, riprap banks and docks and often are in the backs of creeks or coves and usually fairly close to a lake’s banks. Spring crappie tend to stack up, so where you hook into one big fish, the chances are extremely good that you are going to catch a bunch of them.

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