John's Journal...

Catch Fat February Crappie

Day 4: Use Concrete Solutions for February Crappie

Editor’s Note: Crappie fishing in February can be highly productive with plenty of fast action and big fish. Or, you may encounter fishing situations as slow as pouring maple syrup out of a cold pot on a frosty morning. Where you find the crappie makes the difference in the type of February fishing you do. Locating concrete structures will pay-off in crappie for a fish fry.

Click for Larger ViewSome anglers believe that crappie season begins with the announcement of spring when the woods appear as though they are covered with snow from the white blossoms of the dogwoods. But anglers in warm hunting boots and snowmobile suits worn over heavy jeans, wool shirts and thermal underwear can catch crappie too. Once deer season ends, anglers can catch a mess of fresh crappie for the skillet in February.

Click for Larger ViewJoe Alexander, an avid crappie angler, had fished several downed treetops and a good line of standing timber. Although he had taken about 15 crappie, none of them were bigger than a three-finger size. As he moved from one portion of the river to the other, he passed under a railroad trestle, with its columns facing the sun. Alexander decided to test the water to see if he could find any crappie in the region. Alexander set his corks at different depths and began to drop-fish next to the piling. Quick as his quill cork straightened up on the water, it sank. Alexander set the hook, and the pole arched like a question mark. The fish fought so hard that at first he thought he might have caught a largemouth or a white bass holding close to the structure. But as the pole flexed its muscle, the bamboo responded, and the crappie came to the surface. The fish weighed over a pound. After re-baiting quickly, Alexander’s cork never stood up in the water but sank as soon as he had a taut line. Alexander boated 15 crappie in about 4 feet of water before the action waned. He fished a few other pilings in the shade but quickly decided that the pilings that faced the sun on that particular day produced the most crappie.

Click for Larger ViewAlexander knew he could pattern crappie just like bass. Once you locate the type of structure the crappie like to hold on, then if you can find that same kind of structure in another area, you reasonably can assume that crappie will hold on that structure similar to the way they’ve held on the structure you’ve originally fished. Alexander left the trestle, went upriver and found a highway bridge where the pilings faced the sun. Once more he took crappie in about 5 feet of water. He made two more stops that day and caught slabs off all the concrete structure that faced the sun. At lunchtime, he returned to the first trestle, caught 10 more crappie and began to run the concrete pattern again. In the afternoon, he seemed to catch more crappie on the opposite side of the pilings than he had in the morning. Apparently, the fish had followed the sun. As the concrete heated-up, the water warmed-up. The fish chose the warmer water over the colder water every time.

Understand Why Concrete Attracts Crappie:

Click for Larger ViewIn cold weather, large concrete structures like bridge abutments, wingwalls of locks and dams and railroad trestles absorb heat and then transfer that heat into the water to supply a comfortable environment for early-season crappie. Crappie move to creek channels, river channels and ledges to feed and find a warmer environment at those places when the water’s still cool. Most bridges and trestles have at least one concrete column just on the edge of an old creek or river channel that they cross. Naturally, as crappie migrate up and down that creek or river channel, they find the warm water the concrete piling has caused and locate the baitfish holding on that piling for warmth and food. The fish will tend to congregate on these particular pilings. The pilings closest to the creek channel will home the best crappie fishing during February.

Tomorrow: Catch Concrete Crappie in February

Check back each day this week for more about "Catch Fat February Crappie "

Day 1: Some Key Places to Catch February Fish
Day 2: More Productive Places to Catch February Crappie
Day 3: Tactics to Find February Crappie
Day 4: Use Concrete Solutions for February Crappie
Day 5: Catch Concrete Crappie in February

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Entry 653, Day 4