Crappies are in abundance during the winter months and it is the perfect time to try to catch some. Because the crappies huddle together in groups you can catch dozens in a very quick period of time with very little effort. For this reason there are limits to how many you can catch, but you are well within your right to hit that limit and use some different methods to guarantee you get every fish you can. To help you reach your full quota of crappies as easily as possible there are a few great ways to improve your odds and not have to spend days or weeks in the freezing cold.
Find The Perfect Spot:
To figure out where the best place to catch crappies is you need to consider the habits of the fish in question. Crappies start to group together once the water temperature gets into the low fifties and look for cover. So you should strategize and plan to set up near docks, brush, trees and stumps. But the colder the water, the deeper the crappies will go into the water. So consider the temperature of the water and remember that the crappies will be under cover in shallower water when the water is in the fifties or forties, but if the temperature is below that you will need to look in deeper waters to find them.
Cast At An Angle:
Casting at an angle will help you to increase your chances of catching crappie because it will help you get the line in the water without scarring away the fish.
Use A Vertical Jig:
When the water is murky it can be difficult to locate the crappies. To help you find the fish it is recommended that you use a vertical jig. Jigging up and down with a ten to twelve foot fishing rod will keep the fish calmer and not scare them off. You should jig at various depths to prevent getting caught on something in the water and focus your efforts on the actual fishing.
Because crappies group together it is important to take your time and really be thorough with the area you are in. If you spend time on one part of the spot you should move over to a slightly different point and try your luck there. Try every depth and every angle of that spot before moving on because once you find that sweet spot you will get bite after bite.
Look For Patterns:
If you find a great spot where you are getting a lot of bites you should take not of the area and try to look for reasons why it is so popular. Is it by a brush pile? What depth is it? What is the weather like? When you find good spots you should write down as much information as possible and then look for similarities in different spots. You should also try that same spot next time you go fishing so you can see if it is a hotspot for crappies.
Patience Is Key:
Crappies look for different types of meals in the winter than they do in the warmer months. To preserve their energy in the freezing water it is crucial for crappies to go for a sure thing meal. To optimize your chances of catching a lot of crappies you should forgo the fast moving bait and instead hold your line still to entice the crappies to it. But it is important to remember that you could be sitting in the same spot for up to two minutes for every cast so patience is key.
Go In The Afternoon:
The water temperature will be at its highest in the afternoon. So when you fish for crappies in the winter it is ideal to skip the morning and wait until the afternoon to go fishing. Crappies take the warm weather as an opportunities to go closer to shore and find food. This means you can greatly increase your opportunity to catch crappies on a large scale.
Slow Down The Presentation:
Because crappies are more interested in slow meals in winter it is important to adjust your rig to accommodate this. The water will slow things down on it’s own but it is important to make the bait as close to motionless as possible so the crappies will risk their limited energy to go for it.
Lightening the weight of your jig will make it sink slower than a heavy one and a small jig will suffice. A heavier line will also help you to slow everything down because of the added resistance in the water and bobbers are another great addition to your rig to make it more appetizing to crappies.
Follow The Shad:
Crappies will follow shad fish. If you want to catch larger sized crappies you will have better luck if you look for the shad as well and consider the places both fish will enjoy the most.
Try Out Different Bait:
If you aren’t getting any luck or just want to catch more crappies, trying a new bait can be another small change that can make a big difference. Crappies are much more picky in winter so look into trying something new and ask around for what other bait has worked in the area online, with other fishers on the water or in bait shops.