Fred Washburn of Carterville taught me a number of years ago that fishing a jig below a bobber for early season crappie is always leathal. On warm days during February or March, Fred would head to Lake of Egypt and fish this combination over the submerged weedbeds. He prefers an overcast day which seems to bring the crappie into the submerged weeds like a magnet. He will position his boat up wind and let the boat slowly drift down the shoreline. Occassionaly he will turn the trolling motor on the position the nose of the boat for a better series of casts.
He will tie a jig on anywhere from a foot to four feet below the bobber. The depth that he will fish the jig depends upon the location of the crappie. Fred will cast towards the shoreline and slowly reel the bobber towards him. He will either twitch the bobber or if their is any wave action, he will use this to his advantage to impart action to the jig below.
Some anglers will use a light spinning rod or a long, graphite rod to cast a 1/64 ounce jig below a very light weight Thill float such as the Mini Stealth. These slab anglers will use four pound Berkley TriMax for these tough to catch fish which are going to barely touch the jig. Try fishing this combination over brushpiles or stake beds. This is an excellent method to use during post-spawn crappie and even for those touchy late summer or early fall fish.
Several years ago Shelbyville Crappie Guide, Walt Watts, told me about a new method of flipping his jig for slabs. "You have to come up here and see how easy this method is," said Watts. "I can put that ol' jig anywhere I want and the crappie can't resist. Any angler can flip a jig under limbs and drop the lure into the heart of the meanest brush pile and pull out crappie."
Equipment is critical to this technique. I use a B&M Buck's Crappie Classic rod which is extremely light and very sensitive. You can cast all day without the rod wearing out your wrist. Line is very important to the system. I prefer 6 pound test TriMax because the line won't coil up in cold weather. You don't need a fancy spinning or spincasting reel. I find that Zebco Crappie Classic or Zebco Classic 444 Triggerspin to be ideal for flippin'.
The advantage of this system is that you can cast a variety of jigs. For example is you want the jig to fall slowly through the strike zone at 6-8 feet, then use count-down method and the light jig will slowly fall into the crappie's strike zone and stay there for a few precious seconds. This is very important when the water is cold and the crappie are very sluggish.
Basically the flippin' technique is very simple. 1) If I am using a spinning reel I open the bail or with spincast I push the release button, which releases the line. 2) I measure out enough line so that the jig and line is even with my wrist. 3) I close the bail or engage the gears on the spincast reel. 4) I raise the rod tip and take in line with my left hand. I do this by grasping the line between the reel and the bottom rod guide and swing the line away from the rod. 5) I keep the bail closed and swing the jig near my body. As the jig travels toward the brush, I release the line in my left hand. 6) I regulate the exact location where the jig falls with my rod hand. I can put the jig on a quarter by raising or lowering the rod.
The jig slowly swims back to the boat. If no crappie has jumped on the jig, then I instantly have the jig back in the water. The jig will always swim back to the boat with a taunt line. The slightest strike by a crappie will be felt. I insure maximum sensitivity by keeping my index finger on my at the base of the rod and the remainder of the hand on the rod handle. The left hand is still holding the line which will instantly telegraph a light strike. Since you are fishing closer to the crappie, you will be able to see line "ticks" better. Crappie will hit a jig very lightly during cold weather conditions and if you feel the strike it is too late. However, the instant you see the line "tick" you should flip your rod upward and the crappie will be there.
Many lakes are blessed or cursed with water weeds. One of the culprits is coontail. I talked with crappie angler one day on an area lake and he was smiling from ear to ear with a stringer of crappie that made most anglers envious. He told me that he looks for patches of coontail rather than large beds of it. This angler likes to locate small areas that has sprigs 2 to 3 feet in diameter. Using a small float and a small minnow or light weight jig, he would fish around these patchy beds very quietly.
On other lakes I have watched anglers use 10- to 12-foot crappie rods to their advantage. Even fly rods or eight or more feet will suffice. Dabble the jig and bobber all around each patch of coontail you can find. Don't get in a hurry but slowly work these areas out. A clear light line is essential to this technique which uses only one hook. Sure you are going to hang up, especially if you are using a minnow.
Other tips are available.
Never before seen photos of crappie feeding underwater and how they stimulate other crappie to feed. New research on catching crappie during a cold front. A new study reveals best way to hook a minnow for more action which will entice a crappie to strike. Catch suspended crappie schools during the hot summer months. Minnow scales falling through the water will stimulate a crappie school to become a feeding machine. New research on fishing jigs will take the luck out of fishing. NEW!
This is the first crappie book that has been written and fully illustrated with on-the-lake graph recordings of crappie movements during the spring, fall, and winter. Anglers will find a new system of crappie fishing which uses the latest in crappie research and fishing tips from professional anglers and guides! Special chapters on how to catch pre-spawn crappie, tough summer fishing, and where to find them in the fall and winter. 8th Edition -- 30,000 copies sold!
This is the first Bluegill book ever published! You will see and learn how bluegill feed underwater, where and how deep they spawn, where they go in the summer, and many important fishing tips and techniques. Special chapters on how to find and catch spawning bluegill, tough summer fishing made easy, fishing live bait and its care, bobber research, chemical fish attractors, cleaning your catch, and many more tips written for the bank fisherman and the small boat owner. 6th edition -- 20,000 copies sold!
Learn how to take care of your catch the instant it is caught. Proper ways of filleting, freezing, storing, and thawing crappie are explained in detail and illustrated with photos. Share the secrets of frying some of the tastiest crappie from tested recipes that have been collected from all over the United States. Special chapters on baking, broiling, grilling, microwaving, crappie soup and chowder, creole, pickled and smoked crappie, hush puppies, baked beans, and a special slaw. 1st edition
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