Fun & Games

Trivia Games


Contact Us




John's Journal... Entry 245, Day 1


Two Tips for Big Crappie

Take Slabs Among The Treetops:
I'd endured a miserable day crappie fishing and had only caught three fish all day. Late in the afternoon while on the main section of the lake, I noticed a large tree lying in the water. Obviously the site had potential as a crappie hot spot. As I fished all the way around that fallen tree, I took three, 8-inch long crappie. Looking to the center of that treetop, I saw a narrow opening about 4-inches wide between two branches. I had to tie my boat against the tree, lean out over a tree limb and swing my pole as far as I possibly could to try and hit the hole in the middle of the treetop. I knew if I caught a fish in that spot I'd have a very difficult time retrieving the crappie.

But just as my quill cork touched the surface of the water, it started descending and never stopped. I set the hook and fought a big slab to the surface. However, because of the extremely-tight and narrow place I fished, I had to hold the crappie's head out of the water until the fish turned sideways to allow me to pull it through the two limbs blocking the hole. The crappie weighed 1-3/4 pounds. After quickly rebaiting, I performed the same gymnastic trick I had used to initially get my bait into that small hole in the center of the treetop. I finally completed my limit of 50 crappie, all weighing more than 1-1/2-pounds each, out of that same little spot. I remembered the words of one of my crappie mentors, John Holley of Linden, Alabama, who had told me, "If you're going to catch big crappie, you can't fish where everybody else fishes. You've got to be willing to get hung, break hooks, bust poles and fight bushes to take monster-sized crappie. Average anglers catch average-sized crappie. Big crappie are reserved for those willing to fight for them."

Fight The Weather (Prespawn):
During the early years of professional crappie fishing, I always heard two names at the top of the leader board---Alan Padgett and the late Bobby Martin, both from Georgia. Even on the worst, windiest, rainiest, coldest days, these two anglers consistently came to the scales with some of the biggest crappie taken in any tournament. For years they kept their fishing strategies secret. But finally they told me how the regularly took big crappie, even on bad-weather days. "I believe you catch some of the biggest crappie in any lake in deep water on main river points," Padgett says. "Bass fishermen know that you can catch plenty of bass on main river points, too."

On many lakes throughout the nation, one to 10 bass tournaments will be held on any given weekend. To try to develop a honey hole to catch big bass, often tournament bass anglers will build brush shelters out on the ends of the main river points. Most crappie fishermen, especially on bad, cold, windy rough days, will retreat to the creeks and coves to fish visible cover out of the wind and weather. The main river points will experience the least amount of crappie-fishing pressure in most lakes where you must contend with boat traffic, heavy winds and often blowing rains. However, most anglers try to fish to find the biggest crappie at these spots. Although some crappie fishermen have their doubts about the importance of color in catching crappie, Padgett and Martin believe that on certain days, big crappie will hit specific-colored jigs while little crappie will prefer a different-colored jig. "If we're catching little crappie, we change the color of our jigs and often then will begin taking bigger fish."

Tomorrow: Fish The Floods (Prespawn)



Check back each day this week for more about 10 WAYS TO CATCH THE BIGGEST CRAPPIE OF YOUR LIFE ...

Day 1 - Two Tips for Big Crappie
Day 2 - Fish The Floods (Prespawn)
Day 3 - The Spawn
Day 4 - Fish Deep With Tiny Jigs (Postspawn)
Day 5 - Fish Hidden Spots: How To Catch Big Crappie Anytime

John's Journal