Playing The Odds with David Jones

Playing The Odds with David Jones

March 04, 2024

Playing The Odds with David Jones

Phillip Gentry


While Spring is beginning to awaken across the southern parts of the country, B’n’M pro-staffer David Jones from Columbia, Kentucky said the crappie that reside in his home waters at Green River Lake in central Kentucky are still solidly in their winter patterns, at least for the next few weeks.

“Our water temps are still in the mid 40’s but they’re starting to move in the right direction,” said Jones, who operates Green River Lake Crappie Trips, a fishing guide service. “You might see a few singles moving closer in, but right now the best bet is to concentrate on the river channel breaks and look for the big schools of fish.”

Jones describes Green River Lake as a freezer lake, meaning it’s not known for trophy fish, but is a great destination for anglers looking to catch large numbers of eating sized crappie.

Jones describes Green River Lake as a “freezer lake” with plenty of keeper size fish available to the vising angler.

“Our minimum size limit is 9 inches, and the limit is 20 per person and it’s pretty common to get a limit on nearly every trip we take,” said Jones. “It’s mostly a white crappie fishery but we’re starting to see a few more black crappie show up.”

Once Jones comes off the road from a string of boat show appearances and fishing seminar engagements during the months of January and February, he’ll start out fishing the big water using a time-tested method of slow vertical trolling, aka spider rigging, to catch fish with his clients.

“The water depths are around 12 feet deep on the tops of the channel breaks and maybe 20 or so feet in the channel,” he said. “We have a 3 pole-per-man limit, so I try to put one side of the boat in the channel and the other on the top. The weather and other conditions will dictate if the fish are in the channel, on the edge, up on the high side, or suspended somewhere close by.”

Jones’ spider rigging setup employs three 12-foot B’n’M Duck Commander trolling rods rigged with Capps & Coleman double hook rigs. Jones modifies the rig on two of the three poles by substituting Crappie Magnet Eyehole jigs for the hooks and combines a Crappie Magnet jig body with each jig head. He plays the percentages by using Crappie Magnet Slab Bites on one pole, minnow-tipped jigs on the second pole, and straight live bait on the third. Bumping the ½ ounce rigs along on 4-pound Gamma monofilament line, he lets the fish dictate which bait they prefer that day.

Jones uses the B’n’M Duck Commander trolling rod to help his clients score on pre-season crappie.

“I fish a lot differently on tournament days with my forward-facing sonar, but even when we’re spider rigging with clients, I’m watching the Scope, looking for concentrations of fish,” he said. “With the 12-foot poles, my clients can still slip up on the fish without spooking them and the 12 footers are a lot easier to handle on a day-long fishing trip.”

Jones will tightline until the water temperatures exceed 55 degrees. At that point he will convert from pushing baits to pulling baits via long line trolling. The switch usually takes place somewhere around the end of March but is very dependent on the weather and how fast the water warms up. Another clue is that the tightly bunched schools of crappie will start to loosen up and move out to open water flats along the channels to stage before eventually making their push into the shallows when spawning season arrives.

Jones said look for crappie to enter the spring pre-spawn pattern once water temperatures reach the magic 55-degree mark.

“By then, I’ll be breaking out the planer boards and really spreading those baits out to increase the odds of connecting with single fish on the move in,” he said.

Using his systematic approaches from winter pattern to spring pre-spawn and spawning patterns, Jones said anglers shouldn’t overlook the magnificent crappie fishing that Green River Lake has to offer.


B’n’M pro-staffer David Jones can be reached by phone at (270) 634-2675 or through his website at


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