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Masters' Secrets of Crappie Fishing

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How To Jigpole Fish For Crappie


Red Cotton of West Point, Mississippi, believes jigpole fishing is not only an easier way to catch crappie but also that, "You don't lose as many fish when you're jigpole fishing. As soon as the crappie takes the jig, you usually will pull straight up on the line and hook the crappie in the top of their mouths, which is much tougher than the sides of the mouth where the skin is like tissue paper. When I used minnows, most of the crappie I took were caught in the side of the mouth. I lost more fish then than I do now that I'm fishing with a jig pole."

Cotton prefers either a white or a yellow or a red and white jig and fishes with either six pound test or 10-pound test Tri-Max line and an 11-foot B & M jigpole. Cotton, who jigpole fishes all year long, understands where to locate crappie.

"In the spring of the year, I find crappie around shallow water brush piles in a foot to four feet of water," Cotton mentions. "The fish generally will hold in this depth for three to five weeks. Then the fish will move out from the shallow water often over a 20-foot bottom in 10 to 12 feet of water either on or near a drop-off. In the fall of the year, the fish move back into the shallows. As the weather becomes colder, the fish return to deep water. Basically crappie only hold in two different water depths of the lake I fish throughout most of the year.

"I'm convinced jigpole fishing is effective on crappie because of the crappie's basic, lazy nature. These fish aren't aggressive like bass and won't go out of their ways to attack baits. If you don't put your jig in front of a crappie's nose, it usually won't bite. Jigpole fishing allows me to almost always place the jig to within one to five inches of the crappie's face. Since I've been jigpole fishing for 30 years, I know this way is the most effective to take crappie."

Cotton also likes jigpole fishing because he rarely loses any of his 1/32- or 1/16-ounce jigs, which enables him to, "Almost wear a jig out before I lose it."

One of the secrets to Cotton's jigpole fishing success is that he not only fishes the cover thoroughly but also fishes the cover with three different colors of jigs. Like a competitive bass fisherman, Cotton carries more than one jigpole with him when he's searching for crappie.

"I have three jigpoles with me at all times," Cotton explains. "I tie a white jig on one, a chartreuse jig on another pole and a yellow jig on my third pole. I generally fish with a white jig first around any cover. If I don't get a bite, I'll try chartreuse. If the fish fail to hit that color, I'll go to the yellow jig. If a crappie is on the cover I'm fishing, it usually will take one of those colors."

Using this three pole tactic, Cotton increases his odds for catching more crappie off every spot he fishes.

"I've also learned that often you'll take the biggest crappie around isolated sticks or stumps," Cotton explains. "Many times only one or two crappie will be holding on a stick about as big around as your wrist. But the crappie you catch around this isolated cover most often will be big crappie."

Jigpole fishing ...

* allows you to fish your jig vertically through various water depths in even the thickest cover,
* lets you work the cover more thoroughly than when using a cast-and-retrieve method of fishing and
* spooks fewer crappie because you pull the crappie straight up out of the cover instead of dragging that slab through the cover.

These experts have proven jigpole fishing works for them. This technique will produce papermouths for you.


Masters' Secrets of Crappie Fishing is $13.50

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