If you think you might like to watch a bobber slide under the surface and move slowly away, or if you love to feel that "thunk" of a fish on the end of your line, you might be a candidate for some great days with crappie. Crappie fishing can be as simple as a cane pole and bucket of minnows or as involved as specialized boats and custom built rods. Either way crappie are fun for everyone, easily accessible and very tasty!
These delicious fish go by several informal names, crappie, white perch, paper-mouths, sac-a-lait and they even come in black crappie and white crappie versions.
So where should we look for crappie? Crappie can be found in almost every kind of fresh water we have here in Texas so they are plentiful and usually relatively easy to find in all the lakes that surround the Dallas metro-plex. Don't overlook the streams that feed our local lakes either. Many crappie hunters go "crappie stomping" in the streams that feed our lakes. They are frequently found in farm ponds in large numbers too! There are more ways to catch crappie than there are names for them. Let's get ready to go catch a few.
It always helps to know at least a little about our quarry if we want to be successful. Here are a few of "rules of thumb" about crappie. If there were one fish that could and would wear sunglasses it would be crappie. They don't really hate sunlight, but successful crappie fishers do usually fish for them as if crappie were vampire-like in their dread of bright light.
The sunlight of early morning and late evening doesn't put a lot of glare on the water and this translates to being easy on crappie eyes. They will usually be more shallow in our waters early and late than later in the day. Get an early or late start if you are fishing from shore.
Look for large shaded areas on your favorite fishing hole. Bridges across lakes give crappie shade in the summer months and are usually great places for us to start. Marinas with covered boat slips are some of the best areas to wet a line. Fish slowly and very closely to the pilings of both the bridges and boat slips and you're likely to get bitten by crappie. Fish the shade and you are very probably close to crappie. If you're fishing standing timber, fish the shaded side of the tree or stump first, but don't avoid the sunny side either, just fish the shade first.
The second rule of thumb is crappie almost always bite up. Their eyes are located more toward the top of their head so it's just easier for them to look and eat, in an upward direction. If you're fishing with a bobber and it just simply lays over on it's side, set the hook , a crappie just lifted your bait up and took the weight off your bobber! If you're fishing without a bobber and notice your line go slack, set the hook, once again, a fish has lifted your bait without you feeling it.
A third generalized rule is that crappie won't try to jerk the rod out of your hand. They bite lightly for the most part. Sometimes you may just see your line move slightly to one side. That's a crappie trying to ease off with your bait. Set the hook! If you're fishing with jigs and no bobber, and you feel a little 'thunk' like a small fish, or someone taping your rod tip once, set the hook! Always fish with line that is in good shape. If your line is curled up, old, or brittle you will miss more bites than you might think. As we've seen, crappie bite with finesse, curled up lines act as shock absorbers and do not transmit that light bite up the line, through your rod and into your hand so the bite goes unnoticed.
Most of the time crappie like to play hide-and seek with us. They love cover. Cover is basically described as anything that you can get hung up on. Tree limbs, bushes, rocks, 1938 Fords, anything that can hide them from us or bigger fish. I've heard it said by professional crappie fishers that if you're not losing the occasional bait, you're fishing in the wrong places.
Now for some general info on what to use. Most good carpenters have more than one tool in their box. Don't go crappie fishing with a hammer. That is to say, heavy duty bass rods are overkill to detect the delicate bite of a crappie. Use a rod that was designed for crappie fishing. Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx line of rods is specifically designed to detect crappie bites, set the hook properly and lift your scrappy fish out of his hiding place. These relatively limber rods come in a variety of lengths designed for your preferred fishing spots. Whether you need a long rod, a mid-length or longer rod, come in to Bass Pro Shops of Garland and ask the pros.
What baits do we need to use? If you're a minnow dipper, then you're probably just about set. A good minnow bucket with aerator will help keep your two inch or smaller minnows frisky. You can fish minnows either with or without a bobber with great success.
Jigs are by far the preferred baits for most crappie chasers. Bass Pro shops has a huge selection of jigs and jig hooks. There are tube type crappie jigs like the "Squirmin' Squirt", solid body jigs, like the Bass Pro Shops "Triple Ripple", these are excellent choices. There are also crappie jigs with small spinners, some with paddle tails and some that glow in the dark. Actually there are so many that you might really, really want to come in to Bass Pro Shops of Garland to see them all! Oh yeah! before I forget, you'll also need to pick up either a cooler or stringer to keep all your crappie in!
Tight Lines and Bent Rods to You!