Transitioning from late winter to early spring has many anglers wondering when to tight line and when to long line for crappie.
Here at B’n’M, we make fishing rods designed to catch crappie. We design our rods to be sensitive to detect subtle bites but our rods also have a hidden strength. In crappie fishing pursuits, rods need strength to pull slab crappie out of heavy cover. Strength is also an asset when a large crappie inhales a crankbait being pulled behind a boat at 2 mph. At times our rods catch other species of fish, bigger fish. Compared to crappie, these fish are elephants. Though not calculated in the design phase, B’n’M Poles frequently tame elephants.
B’n’M pro staffer Ronnie Capps explains the elements necessary to land big fish with long, light action rods.
By now, you’ve probably heard that B’n’M Poles and some of the folks from Duck Commander have joined resources to design, produce and promote a new series of panfishing poles. Four rods, collectively known as the Duck Commander series, designed by duck hunters who also love to fish for crappie, have made their way into the B’n’M lineup.
One of the first rods that Jay Stone and John Godwin were interested in designing was a handheld jig pole. According to Stone, fall fishing in the lakes and rivers around West Monroe, Louisiana is typically a two pronged approach. He may start out looking for crappie using a standard spider rig set up, trolling from the front of the boat. However, once a school of fish has been located, typically holding en masse around a brush top, the trolling poles get stowed and the jig pole comes out.
Late summer can be a time of feast or famine when it comes to crappie fishing. Across most parts of the country, water temperatures have climbed to their highest levels of the year, making crappie lethargic and sometimes hard to come by. Fortunately, the B’n’M pros have a few tips that can keep you in the fish through the summer and into the fall.
While it’s always better to be safe than sorry, there are times when crappie fishing during inclement weather is unavoidable. “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky at morning, sailors take warning” is a great cliché, unless it’s tournament morning or the morning of that long awaited vacation. Deciding when or whether to fish is a decision each angler must make based on his or her own skills and comfort level. However, if deciding to brave the elements, there are a few tricks of the trade that can help you make the best of that spring or summer front and even be quite successful.
To answer the question – “What’s a BGJP?”, it’s harder to explain what it’s not, that what actually it is. In the world of B’n’M fishing, you can take a poll and ask our pro-staffers if they could have only one model rod in their boat what would it be. The answer is BGJP. You may get a variety of answers on which length these folks would choose, but the label would be the same.
Just because spring has sprung is no reason to put away your crappie fishing poles. Better yet, go ahead and put away your spawn and post spawn gear because it’s time to break out those crank bait trolling rods. Depending on where you fish and who you talk to, many anglers will argue that trolling crank baits for crappie is an effective tactic nearly year round, but few would argue the effectiveness of pulling cranks as crappie begin to settle into their summer pattern.
We polled several of our B’n’M pros to get their tips on how to fish crank baits for crappie now that the spawn and spring have sprung and the summer pattern is directly ahead.
Night fishing for crappie is a rite of passage across much of the country as anglers seek a way to avoid the summer heat and pleasure boat traffic that frequently plagues many waterways during the hot months. No stranger to the ways of the night crappie angler, B’n’M pro-staffer Rod Wall from Ninety Six, South Carolina, has taken this past time and turned it into a science.
When he’s not traveling on national crappie tournament circuits, B’n’M pro-staff member Whitey Outlaw, relaxes by fishing for bream. Outlaw has fished all over the country and has a knack for finding bream beds in even unfamiliar waters. He just follows his nose.
With spring having finally sprung, crappie across the country are rushing into the shallows to complete their annual spawning ritual. Most crappie anglers consider woody shoreline cover to be the ideal spawning habitat and accordingly head for wood to catch crappie this time of year.
Seven time crappie national champion Steve Coleman claims that when the spawn hits, it’s not just wood that will hold crappie but also rocks and boulders. What better place to find rocks and boulders than the miles and miles of rip-rap that comprise many impoundment dams, roadways, and bridge overpasses.
It seems all the rage these days that crappie anglers from the East Coast are wanting to learn how to tight line for crappie while anglers in the Mid-West are scouring for information about long lining for crappie. Long lining for crappie originated around the clear water impoundments of North and South Carolina by anglers who wanted to catch suspended fish that were easily spooked by a passing boat. Pre-spawn and post-spawn black crappie are notorious for their propensity to suspend while white crappie don’t need a reason. Needless to say, long lining has become a terrific way to catch any and all of these fish.
The Charleston, Missouri crappie tournament team of Jim and Barbara Reedy fish all over the country on the Crappie Masters tournament trail. They encounter many different scenarios in their travels but have learned to rely on brushpiles nearly year round. In fact, Jim Reedy credits effectively fishing this type of structure with their achievement of winning the Crappie Masters Team of The Year award in 2009. When the BnM/Vicious team is competing during the late winter prior to the spring spawn, one of the first things they do during their pre-tournament scouting is locate a number of deep water and intermediate depth brushpiles.
With most of the country in the full grip of winter, a lot of anglers are spending most of their time indoors waiting on the groundhog to tell them when they can get back on the water. If you are one of those anglers, you may be missing out on some good fishing by waiting till spring rather than hitting the water now. One of the best places to find winter crappie may seem so obvious, it gets over looked. Areas where man-made rocks, otherwise known as rip-rap, has been installed along the banks of your local waterway typically hold crappie right under the angler’s nose.
Shivering in the cold under the concrete bridge that blocked any warmth from the sun, it seemed to take forever for the tiny jig to finally reach the bottom of the lake some 26 feet below the bottom of Tom Mundy’s Triton aluminum boat. Clicking the reel on his fist-sized spinning reel, the crappie pro slowly began taking line back in. He had advised to keep a sharp eye on the tip of his rod as he slowly reeled the line back in.
“The trick to this whole thing is being able to tell when you have a bite” he grinned.
Crappie anglers who spend time chasing their favorite quarry on flood control impoundments understand that the water levels on these reservoirs are never the same on a year round basis. Whether due to spring rains, periods of drought, or manipulation by authorities, the water levels in a reservoir can be over flowing in the spring and nearly empty in the winter.
B’n’M Sweeps Major National Crappie Circuits
The last week-end in October brought a tremendous change in the weather to the Cadiz, KY area where the stage was set to compete for the 2012 Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes. Of the 171 teams that converged on southwest Kentucky, only a few were aware of the dramatic changes the week-end would bring and even less were prepared for it. In the end, the B’n’M team of Wade Hendren from Ripley, TN and Roy Logan of Troy, TN proved to have the mettle to stand up to the challenge.
In a contest that was literally dominated by B’n’M anglers, when the smoke cleared at the end of the 2012 Crappie Masters National Championship, the B’n’M pro-staff team of Charlie and Travis Bunting were the last men standing in the top spot.
Now that September has rolled over into October, it’s time to put away all the summer things like beach chairs and pool toys and break out the fall gear like football stadium chairs and that big finger that claims your team is number 1. When you get around to the boat, most anglers will be rolling up those crankbaiting rods that filled the livewell with crappie so many times this summer and digging that hot pink crankbait out of the carpet, but hang on. It may be a little cold to hang out at the pool or on the beach but who said it’s too cold to catch crappie on crankbaits.
There may not be an older or more respected “name” in the world of crappie fishing than Sam Heaton. Heaton made his mark in crappie fishing circles as a tournament angler and noted Lake Weiss, Alabama guide in the lake’s heyday when it earned its reputation as “Crappie Capital Of The World”.
Widely known as a leader in the crappie and panfish fishing rod industry, last week West Point, Mississippi-based B’n’M Poles unveiled their newest line of exclusive catfishing rods. B’n’M’s Silver Cat series is the company's first move into the catfishing world and from preliminary tests, it looks like B’n’M has a winner right off the bat.
Like the Israelites of the Bible, crappie anglers often struggle because we ignore the simplest rules for life. Though far from biblical, the pros at B’n’M banded together to create this list of ten absolute truths that have played a fundamental role in their success as professionals.
It’s that time of year again, the time when the mercury shoots through the roof and it’s just too hot to fish. If that’s your attitude, you’re missing out on some of the hottest and best crappie fishing of the year. Take it from veteran B’n’M pro-staffer Kent Driscoll, it’s never too hot to crappie fish, if you go about it the right way. For Driscoll, that means trolling crankbaits.
One of the most frequent complaints expressed by crappie anglers new to the sport is frustration over handling a fishing pole that in some cases may be longer than the boat the angler is fishing from.
There is no doubt that learning to master the long rod takes some time and experience, however, there is also no denying the ability of a 12, 14, even 16 foot long rod, in doubling or tripling the effectiveness of crappie anglers in both the numbers and size of crappie caught.
In the world of tournament crappie fishing, there are a number of different types of anglers. Some are bold, outspoken almost to the point of bragging, and immediately capture the attention of the crowd when they come to the podium to weigh their fish. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the quiet guys. They smile, they’re cordial, and they don’t say a lot. However, when they step up to the podium to weigh their fish, everyone gets quiet. Even the more outspoken anglers tend to be close lipped and get a little tighter grip on their wallets in fear of losing their tournament money.
The term “drop-shotting” was originally coined by bass anglers as a tight line tactic to target suspended fish, particularly fish that were suspended right off the bottom. The tactic was made popular by in Japan as a finesse tactic but since making its way to popularity in the United States, has bled over into the world of crappie fishing. Crappie anglers already knew a thing or two about tight line vertical fishing, so it was only natural that drop-shotting would also become a popular crappie tactic.
How many anglers haven’t heard of the mass media project sponsored by Takemefishing.org that promotes adult anglers getting children involved in the sport of fishing? Here at B’n’M, we couldn’t agree more. In fact, we’ve even designed a couple of rods made easier for children to master. We also believe that the plentiful numbers and aggressive nature of crappie and other panfish make them a great “first fish” and “frequent fish” target for young anglers
Long ago, crappie anglers took to the water with only a single pole with the intent of catching crappie. The single pole was used to cast, jig, swing, dip, poke, or do whatever it took to catch crappie. Years later, anglers began using multiple rods to troll for crappie. Trolling took on new names like spider-rigging, pushing, slow trolling, and pulling. Regardless of which tactic you used, you had to choose a side, you were either a single pole angler or a troller.
Ronnie Capps, one of the anglers who made slow, vertical trolling a way of life for many anglers, now claims you don’t have to choose. You can have the best of both worlds.
You know, there are TWO species of crappie. With crappie season in full swing across the country, all crappie tend to get lumped together into one species and most anglers don’t fish any differently, or even care what the differences are. Ignoring the differences between these two species can be a big mistake and cost you in terms of fish at the end of the day. We’ll start with the biological differences, and then have some of B’n’M’s pro-staffers explain the differences they find between the two species where it counts, on the water.
For St. Matthews, SC native Whitey Outlaw, late spring is a time when he can take some time off from competitive crappie fishing to do a little recreational crappie fishing. That means the veteran B’n’M pro-staffer can come off the road from the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail and come home to the Santee-Cooper Lakes just in time to find some big white crappie moving up on their spawning grounds. In Outlaw’s eyes, there’s no place like home.
After two days of competing in the Southern Crappie Tournament Trail’s State Championship tournament held on South Carolina’s Lake Greenwood last week-end, the newest members of the B’n’M pro-staff, father and son anglers Rod and Braxton Wall, soundly emerged as the tournament champions. When asked what their secret was for leading both days of the tournament, compiling a 14 fish weight of 24.05 pounds, Rod Wall said they owed the win to making use of modern technology.