John's Journal...

Fish Black Nights to catch White Crappie This Summer

Day 3: Catching Summertime Crappie at Night

Editor’s Note: The night was muggy. The big, thick, mushroom-shaped clouds allowed the moon only an occasional glimpse of our boat out in the middle of a lake near my home. Large swarms of gnats, mosquitoes and sometimes a mayfly circled the white beam from the Coleman lantern being cast into the dark water below. Often the heat from the lantern toasted the wings of the bugs, which were inhaled by swarms of shad as soon as they hit the surface of the water. We’d been fishing for 3 hours and only caught two or three small, white crappie. “Sometimes the papermouths don’t turn-on until 1:00 am or 2:00 am,” a fishing buddy of mine explained. “But if and when the crappie start biting, we’ll take plenty of good-sized crappie. The fishing will be so fast and furious that we can catch two crappie at a time.” At 2:48:30 am, large numbers of slab-sized crappie began to school-up under the light. We caught the crappie from 2-feet off the bottom to 2 inches from the surface in the 15-foot-deep water. Until the sun came-up, the fishing was non-stop. I held the record for the most crappie caught on one minnow when I put my fifth crappie in the boat and finally retired the bait. Four of us kept 150 crappie that weighed from 1/2- to 2-1/2-pounds each. On most productive crappie lakes, trips like this will occur frequently across the United States throughout the summer months.

Click for Larger ViewOn many lakes throughout the nation at night in the summer, the areas under the bridges may resemble small villages at night and on weekends where from 10 to 100 boats may be lined-up under the bridges with all the fishermen angling for slabs. One of the advantages associated with night fishing in many lakes is your inability to communicate to the fish that crappie is the only species you’re attempting to catch. Click for Larger ViewMany nights you’ll take largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, white bass and an occasional bluegill and catfish while crappie fishing. Many species of fish travel these river ledges and drop-offs. When you concentrate the baitfish with a light, generally you also will draw-in other species of fish besides crappie to that light.

Click for Larger ViewAnother advantage of night fishing for crappie is the fact that many states permit a 2-day limit for anglers who fish all night. Conceivably you can catch one limit of crappie before 12:00 midnight one day as well as another limit of crappie before daylight the next morning. Click for Larger ViewHowever, this type of regulation is a state-by-state call. Check with the conservation officer in your state to learn what the regulations are for night fishing on the lakes you plan to angle.

Tomorrow: How the Crappie Position Themselves at Night

Check back each day this week for more about "Fish Black Nights to catch White Crappie This Summer "

Day 1: The Equipment Needed to Take Starlight Summertime Crappie
Day 2: Where to Fish for Nighttime Summer Crappie
Day 3: Catching Summertime Crappie at Night
Day 4: How the Crappie Position Themselves at Night
Day 5: Warning: Summer’s Nighttime Crappie Fishing Can Be Addictive

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Entry 621, Day 3