John's Journal...

Catch Crappie at Any Time of the Year

Day 4: Tactics for Catching Spawning Crappie

Editor’s Note: You can catch plenty of big slab crappie all year if you know where to fish for them and what baits to use. Then when your taste buds tingle for those tasty, just-popped-out-of-the-oven or frying-pan fillets of crappie, you won't have to wait until the spring spawn to catch them. Let's take a look at the kinds of places where you can find and take crappie throughout the year.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe easiest crappie to catch during the spawn are the ones on the bank. But since everyone fishes for these, to catch the really-big crappie when they spawn, you must use different tactics from everyone else. These three basic methods will catch the very-big spawning crappie.

* Invisible Tactics for the Spawn:

During the spring of the year when the fish bed in shallow water, most anglers will fish for crappie around some type of visible cover like trees, stumps, grass, bushes or logs. I’ll drop-fish down the bank with either minnows or jigs in areas where I don't see visible cover in the water and most other crappie fisherman won't fish. The crappie holding on this invisible cover often will bite more aggressively than the crappie holding on the cover where everyone else fishes.

* Gorilla Techniques for the Spawn:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewMost crappie fishermen won't drop their lines into areas where they think they'll get hung. They think if they do hook crappie in that cover, they can't pull them out of those spots. However, if you'll use 20-pound test line, a powerful pole and a wire hook, you can drop your minnow or your jig in cover so thick that you only need a hole big enough through which your bait can drop. The 20-pound test line on a stiff pole will allow you to pull even the biggest crappie out of the cover to straighten-out your hook, if it gets hung. Then you can continue to fish.

*Sissy Strategies for the Spawn:

When you encounter finicky-biting crappie, oftentimes you can down-size your line and solicit more strikes. If the gorilla tactics don't work, go back to that same thick cover, and use 4-pound-test line. Or, fish with 2- or 4-pound-test line in cover no one can see or in areas other anglers already have fished heavily.

AmazonTo learn more about crappie and how to fish for them from the masters of the sport, click here for “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” a new eBook from Amazon’s Kindle by John E. Phillips. Also, you can learn more about crappie fishing from the Reelfoot Lake pros by purchasing the Kindle eBook, "Reelfoot Lake: How to Fish for Crappie, Bass, Bluegills and Catfish & Hunt for Ducks” by John E. Phillips. Or, go to, type in the names of the books, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, Smartphone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: How to Catch Post-Spawn Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about "Catch Crappie at Any Time of the Year"

Day 1: Catch Summertime Crappie
Day 2: Places to Catch Crappie at All Times of the Year
Day 3: Catching Crappie During the Pre-Spawn
Day 4: Tactics for Catching Spawning Crappie
Day 5: How to Catch Post-Spawn Crappie

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Entry 719, Day 4