As we enter the post-spawn phase of crappie fishing
across the country, many anglers are tempted to lose hope or worse, give up
crappie fishing altogether. While not as exciting or as looked forward to as
the spawn, finding and catching crappie during the post-spawn is not only
possible, but in some cases, more consistent than fishing at other times of the
Here are a few tips and tactics that the B’n’M pros
use when the party is over and it’s time to get back to everyday fishing.
Longlining is a popular multiple rod trolling tactic
for crappie that can produce numbers of fish during the post spawn period when
crappie are prone to scatter out as they migrate back to deep water along
traditional spawning routes.
Long lining is distinguished from “spider rigging”
another popular multi-rod tactic, by the positioning of the rods and the amount
of line in the water. In crappie circles, spider rigging or tightlining is
often referred to a “pushing” while long lining is called “pulling”.
“You still have rod holders all over the boat so it’s
hard to tell which tactic somebody is using until you see where the rods are
and where the anglers are sitting,” said Pro staffer Scott Williams. “In my
long line set up, I run 8 rods across the back and three up each side. I’ll use
a B’n’M Buck’s graphite jig pole, on the sides of the boat with a 14 footer
toward the front, a 12 foot pole in the middle, and a 10 foot pole toward the
back. All 8 of the rods across the transom are Sam’s Super Sensitive graphite
“We cast each
rod out about 40 feet” said Williams. “All of our rods we start with single
1/16 ounce jigs. The depth the jig is fished is controlled by the speed of the
boat when trolling. We start out trolling up around 1.0 mph if the fish are
shallow or suspended shallow in 2 – 3 feet of water and slow down to around .5
mph if the fish are deep, like 15 – 20 feet. If they are that deep, we may add
an additional jig to the line about 2 feet above the jig to help get it down.”
Docks are also great post spawn locations as crappie
gravitate to docks adjacent to deep water. Docks provide food, shade, and
security for spawn-weary fish.
“If I had to pick the most important feature of a boat
dock to fish for crappie, it would have to be how close is it to deep water”
said pro staffer Mike Walters. “If a dock has lights and rod holders all around
it, a lot of guys always assume that’s a great place to find crappie because
more than likely the owner has brushpiles or stakebeds nearby. The truth is, if
the dock isn’t located in the right area, depthwise, all that structure isn’t
going to change a bad location into a good spot.”
Once he’s found a dock he wants to fish, Walters pulls
out B’n’M’s new Sharpshooter 6 dock shooting rod and, with the accuracy of a
Wild West marksman, puts his jig in places most people never see, much less
fish. But he also has a little secret that helps him both slow his presentation
and detect bites when the going is tough.
He uses a grape sized ice float on the line above his
jig. This allows him to fish docks without worrying about the jig getting hung
up in structure under the dock.
“I rig the float like a slip-cork” said Walters.
“Crappie typically aren’t real deep when they move in around boat docks so I’ll
adjust the stop to just a foot or so up the line. The other advantage is that
the cork and jig stay together when cast and then separate once the float hits the
After years of putting out their own brush piles, Ronnie
Capps and Steve Coleman now rely on state of the art technology to locate both
their own piles as well as those put out by other anglers others on long deep
water points that jut out toward deep water and along channels and cut that
lead from deep water back to good spawning cover.
Slow spider rigging using straight live minnows for
bait or jigs tipped with minnows is an extremely effective from early winter/
early spring tactic before crappie move shallow to spawn. Water depths of 15 –
20 feet are the ideal range as crappie stage up on underwater structure.
Ronnie Capps explained that generally speaking, black
crappie are found holding tight to brush piles and stake beds sunk in many
lakes for cover. White crappie tend to relate to deep water brushpiles while
suspending up in the water column over deep water and may hold just below
schools of baitfish. Many anglers don’t target specific schools of crappie,
they just concentrate on finding brush piles with baitfish in the vicinity,
knowing the crappie will follow.
“The great thing about this type of trolling and the
way we use it is it’s not just a deep water tactic,” said Capps. “All you have
to do is lighten up on the weights a little and roll your line in a little and
fish right into shallow water. Crappie will rarely turn up their noses at a
good brush pile so long as it’s in the right depth and along a route they’re