John's Journal...

Fish Bass Baits for Cold-Weather Crappie

How to Use the Jigging-Spoon Technique with Charlie Ingram

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 firstcourse in bClick to enlargeass 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.”

Most bass anglers fish the jigging spoon during the winter months by lowering the spoon to the bottom, ripping it up off the bottom and allowing it to fall back to the bottom. The bass will hit the spoon on the fall. But Ingram lets the spoon down until it touches structure and then slowly lifts and lowers Click to enlargehis rod tip about 4 inches. “I tickle every limb in a brush top and work every part of the water, from the surface to the bottom and back up to the surface,” Ingram emphasizes. “I move my jiggingspoon underwater the way I put a coffee spoon into a cup and take it out – slowly and gently.”
A crappie’s body metabolism slows-down in cold weather. If that jigging spoon moves slowly, any species of fish will find it easier to take. Too, don’t set the hook ona crappie as you do when bass fishing. Remember, a crappie has a tender mouth. “If you set the hook hard, you’ll rip its lips off. If you’ll just tighten the line up,Click to enlarge you can land the crappie. Too, slow-down your retrieve as the crappie gets near the surface. When the crappie comes to the top of the water, lift, and swing it into the boat, rather than jerking the fish into the boat as you will a bass.”

Ingram carefully feels his jigging spoon from the time it enters the water until he brings it back into the boat. By not setting the hook when he feels a tap on the line, Ingram simply can jiggle the spoon and shake it free, if the spoon bumps the cover. If that bump signifies a crappie, a hybrid or a catfish, Ingram already will have the fish hooked. “This style of cool-weather crappie fishing pays big dividends,” Ingram says. “While I was crappie fishing one winter with a jigging spoon, I even caught an 8-1/2-pound largemouth.” Spooning-up crappie fishermen usually will catch, according to Ingram, “Three or four bass in a day. Even if your bass buddies come by your boat, they’ll never know what you’re up to because you’re using a bass rod and reel, 14-pound-test line and a bass jigging spoon. You can pull in to the dock, show off the live bass you’ve caught, release the bass and go home with a box full of crappie they haven’t seen.”

Tomorrow: Why Pony-Up to Cool-Weather Crappie with Danny Wiles

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 3