John's Journal...

Fish Bass Baits for Cold-Weather Crappie

Where Charlie Ingram Finds Cool-Weather Crappie

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Forget those jigs and minnows to crappie fish this month. You can catch more and bigger crappie when you bass fish for crappie in cold months than when you use traditional methods. Yes, you can catch and release 100 crappie per day using jigs and minnows, but you won’t catch slab-sized crappie. I took my first Click to enlargecourse in bass fishing for crappie when I fished with Charlie Ingram of Eufaula, Alabama, a bass-fishing guide who explained, “Like many other dedicated bass anglers, I fish for bass in cold weather in brush piles, standing timber, river ledges and creek channels.”

You can locate wintertime crappie in the same kinds of places where you pinpoint wintertime bass – suspended in standing timber, on the edges of creek and river channels and in thick cover. “Crappie will be in 12 to 15 feet of water over 30 to 40 feet of water, concentrating tight in standing timber,” Ingram says. “I get right on top of the fish and bounce the spoon up and down.”
Crappie, just like bass, move up and down vertical drops and hold on the breaks (ledges). Many times in cold weather, they’ll swim up the lip of the drop to feed and then travel back down to deeper water to hold in the warmer water, like bass. Some of the most-productive Click to enlargeplaces to find crappie include trees or brush tops that bass anglers have sunk on the edges of these river and creek channels. Click to enlarge

“The jigging spoon, when fished through this thick cover, is much like fishing a pig and jig through a brush top on the surface when you’re bass fishing,” Ingram explains. “The angler can fish every part of the cover – the outer edges, one side of the brush or right through the heart of the structure. If the cover’s thick with only a few, small holes in it, a crappie fisherman can work that 3/4-ounce jigging spoon through those holes and take crappie, something he can’t do with a jig or a minnow.” Ingram’s a target fisherman who finds a spot on his depth sounder where he thinks crappie will hold. He’ll thoroughly fish that structure until the crappie quit biting. Then he’ll hunt another target to fish.

As Ingram comments, “I don’t wait on wintertime crappie to come to me. I go after them. Too, I take large numbers of crappie on cover, although I never spot the fish on my depth finder. Usually, I’ll hit eight or 10 places on lakes during 8 hours of crappie fishing in the cool weather and find the crappie swimming in 12 to 18 feet of water. No matter how bad the weather gets, I always can catch enough crappie using the jigging spoon to have a fish fry for two or three families besides my own.”

Tomorrow: How to Use the Jigging Spoon Technique with Charlie Ingram

Check back each day this week for more about "Fish Bass Baits for Cold-Weather Crappie"

Day 1: What Kind of Tackle Works – Jigging Spoons with Charlie Ingram
Day 2: Where Charlie Ingram Finds Cool-Weather Crappie
Day 3: How to Use the Jigging-Spoon Technique with Charlie Ingram
Day 4: Why Pony-Up to Cold-Weather Crappie with Danny Wiles
Day 5: How to Spinner Bait Crappie Up with Phillip Criss


Entry 497, Day 2