A One-Two Punch For Cold Water Crappie
Phillip Gentry
Pro staffer Tom Mundy displays what his One-Two Punch approach to winter time crappie fishing can produce.
The extreme sensitivity of the Slabtail Series rods designed by Tom Mundy is one of the keys to detecting bites from cold water crappie.
The tip on the Slabtail rod wiggles when slowly reeling in the line. Any time the wiggling stops, it’s time to set the hook.
Mundy claims big stringers like this one can be the result of finesse tactics that mimic ice fishing on southern waters.

Southern crappie anglers are fortunate. The waters don’t freeze over and crappie anglers can get out and ply their trades without drilling holes to fish through. Just because the surface waters aren’t frozen doesn’t necessarily mean that southern crappie act all that differently from their northern cousins. So, that begs the question: Is there something to learn from guys who do fish hardwater for crappie this time of year?

While he may not be very well versed on catching crappie through the ice, B’n’M pro-staffer Tom Mundy understands the concept very well. Mundy is the owner of Laurens, South Carolina-based Fish Stalker Lures and came about his understanding of the habits of deep, cold water crappie through trial and error. Unlike most anglers, Mundy theorized that a particular rod, bait or tactic would work better than what was currently on the market, so he devised the tactic, made the bait himself, and designed a specialty rod to fish it for B’n’M Poles.

Before he ever wets a line when seeking winter crappie, Mundy wants to know for certain what location crappie are holding in and why they are there. Once he’s found them, he’s going to look into travel corridors and food supplies. With all these things in place, he’ll catch fish.


“The first place I’m going to look for crappie locations is out in front of boat docks” said Mundy. “Not just any dock; I want a dock that’s on a steep bank and I want a dock that looks like a fisherman lives there. A steep bank on land usually means there’s a good drop-off in front of a dock-maybe even a creek channel or ditch. A dock that’s owned by a fisherman will mean there’s brushpiles around it.”


Mundy has two primary tactics that he uses to catch winter crappie. The first is a double rod presentation. If the one-two punch doesn’t work. He goes to a single rod, vertical approach.


“Lining up two brushpiles is critical” explains Mundy. “In most situations you’ll find one or two separate piles of brush with some clear space in between. That’s ideal for the two rod presentation but you either need to mark the brushpile with a marker or line it up with an object on the far shore because you have to back off the pile to fish it correctly.”


Mundy uses two of his signature B’n’M Slabtail Jig rods lined with 4 pound test mono. The first rod has a Fish Stalker Slabtail jig on a  1/32 jighead tied to it. The second has a 1/64 weight jig head with the slabtail. Mundy alternates casting the jigs to the brush-but there’s a method.


“I’ll cast the 1/32 either to one side or in the gap between piles” explains Mundy. “I just let it fall. When the line sinks about half way to the boat, I cast the lighter jig straight across the brushpile and put that rod between my legs. Meanwhile I start slowly reeling the 1/32 through the gap. When I get that jig in, I cast it on the other side of the pile and pick up the lighter jig and ease it across the top of the brush. The jigs are so small that hanging up is rarely a problem-they both tend to just float around the brush. Even if the line lays across the brush I can lift up on the rod and keep it swimming.”


Mundy explains that with either of his Slabtail Series rods he’s looking for the bite rather than feeling it. Once he has a rhythm going, any slight twitch, pause, or stopping of the line means the jig’s been inhaled and he reaches down and, with a quick flip of the wrist, sets the hook.


“Some days they don’t want it moving at all and that’s when we go to tactic number 2” said Mundy.


Number 2 is a purely vertical tactic where he relocates the boat dead over the top of the structure and drops a tiny 1/64 ounce Slabtail jig to the bottom on 4 pound test. He compares it to ice fishing without ice. Once the tiny jig hits the bottom some 24 feet below, Mundy engages the reel and slowly turns the handle.


Mundy got the idea for the design of the Slabtail Series rods from watching an ice fishing video and the tremendous sensitivity that ice rods had for light biting fish. The rod tip is so sensitive that it’s impossible to keep the tip still.


“The extreme sensitivity of the Slabtail Series rod makes all the difference in detecting bites” he said. “The rod tip is so sensitive that the reeling of the handle makes it quiver. When it stops quivering, you set the hook.”


These two tactics give new meaning to the term finesse.


“The combination of deep brush, tiny baits and an “in your face” presentation is more than crappie can stand, even in the dead of winter,” said Mundy. But don’t try this with just any rod, without the extreme sensitivity of the Slabtail Series rod, you’ll wind up just sitting out in the cold. ”


For more information on the Slabtail Series rod visit our website at www.bnmpoles.com.