Brian Carter on Scoping Crappie in North Texas Timber
By Phillip Gentry
According to B’n’M pro Brian Carter, outdoors enthusiasts in North Texas have two choices of how to spend their time in the Fall: chasing big whitetail deer or chasing big white crappie. Carter said his two top destination picks when it comes to chasing crappie is either Lake Texoma on the Texas/Oklahoma border or Ray Roberts just north of Dallas.
“Texoma has got some monster crappie in it, while Ray Roberts is better known for numbers,” said Carter. “One reason I end up picking Ray Roberts is to fish the standing timber in the north end of the lake. It’s a Live Scoping paradise.”
Carter said that come November, the pleasure boaters are gone, and he frequently has the lake, or at least one of the major coves that are studded with timber, all to himself. By now the water temperatures are hanging in the mid to upper 60’s and the crappie bite around the timber is hot.
Lake Ray Roberts is a local favorite, especially for anglers who like to fish submerged timber on the lake’s north end.
The pro said it’s very easy to get excited about seeing trees in the water everywhere you look, but he has learned over the years the best way to pattern crappie in the submerged forest is to look for deeper creek channels and ditches the lead into and out of the timber and fish the edges where the water drops off.
“There’s not always a pronounced drop off because of siltation,” he said. “I really rely on mapping charts like the Navionics I use to find the best areas in the 23 – 33-foot range along deeper edges and points.”
Carter said it may sound over-simplified, but once he finds the channel and gets into the trees, it is time to drop the transducer from his Panoptics Live Scope unit and go hunt big fish.
“I have my transducer mounted on a homemade pole and I can turn the head in a complete circle while I’m searching. You’d be surprised how much fish behavior you learn watching crappie through the Live Scope,” he said. “It also accurately lets you judge the size of the fish and only target the larger ones.”
Carter said B’n’M offers crappie anglers two great choices when it comes to hauling slab crappie out of standing timber. The first is a new product introduced for 2020 called “The Stick”. It’s a 13-foot remake of B’n’M’s popular series from early 1980’s, The Stick is a 13ft, 2pc rod that provides a super-stiff action that many crappie fishermen desire since the advent of real-time electronics. Complete with exceptionally smooth and durable stainless-steel guides and a 21” Portuguese cork handle with reinforced reel seat, the Stick can handle any size crappie you throw at it.
Carter said Live Scoping in standing timber is probably as addictive as crappie fishing can get.
Carter said he’s a little more partial to the new Mossy Oak edition Brushcutter rod. B'n'M teamed up with Mossy Oak to make this favorite look as good as it works. Featuring Mossy Oak's Agua Blacktip pattern, this respected workhorse looks great and is designed to perform in the harshest of conditions. Made with IM6 graphite for strength and sensitivity, and a comfortable EVA foam handle, the new design also has 20% more backbone that the original.
“It’s a really good-looking rod,” said Carter. “I like the 10-foot model for pitching heavier jigs into the timber on braided line.”
Not to spark any controversy, but Carter’s philosophy is that crappie holding tight to cover are not really line shy. He does not even bother with a leader, just ties 20-pound Power Pro braid straight to the jig eye. He frequently picks the brighter colors like yellow so he can see more precisely where he is putting his bait.
Facing the boat into any prevailing wind to assist with boat control, Carter sets his scoping range to 15 – 16 feet and eases along at less than a mile per hour. He may or may not spot-lock the boat in place with the trolling motor when he sees a fish he wants to target.
The hunt for big crappie is one and B’n’M has got the tackle you need to be successful.
“I pitch a ¼ ounce jig out and hold it about 3 – 4 feet above the fish and see if he’ll come up and get it,” he said. “If not, I’ll drop it down to him and only give him a couple seconds to decide. The bite will happen that quick.”
Carter ties many of his own crappie jigs, preferring hair jigs to anything else. Starting with a ¼ oz head and a sickle hook, which he says is the standard for his area from October through May, he paints the heads pink then wraps hair on the jig.
“I love to experiment with a lot of different hair materials,” said Carter. “My favorite is probably white deer hair- the standard bucktail, but I also like to use squirrel, wild hog, and have even tied some jigs from javelina hair. It’s almost as hard as porcupine quills and it’s hard to tie, but it makes an interesting jig.”
B’n’M not only provides you with the gear and tackle you need to make you a better angler, our seasoned pro staff team are always looking for better ways to catch fish using the most proven methods and gear on the market. Check out our website at bnmpoles.com
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