John's Journal...


Jig Fishing

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Kent Driscoll of Cordova, Tennessee, has enjoyed fishing for crappie for 30 years. He's fished in crappie tournaments and finishing third in 2000 and fourth in 2002 at the North American Crappie Classic. Each spring and summer, Driscoll fishes the Crappie USA Circuit, Crappiemasters and the new Crappie Angler's Association, using a wide variety of tactics that produce crappie all year long. For the next two weeks, we'll learn how Driscoll finds and catches crappie.

Question: When you're jig fishing, what size jig and what
pound Mossy Oak Fishing Line are you using, and how are you
presenting the jig to the crappie?

Driscoll: I like to use 10-pound-test line because when I'm wade fishing, I'm usually going to catch bigger crappie than when I'm open-water fishing, and those crappie will be in thick cover. I'll need the line to help muscle the crappie out of the cover. Most of the time, I'll use Mossy Oak's high-vis line to help me see the bite. I prefer a 3/32-ounce teaser jig with a tube body on the jig head. During the early spring, I prefer either red or an orange head on my jig or possibly chartreuse. The body of my jig will be chartreuse, about 90 percent of the time. My all-time Click to enlargefavorite color is a chartreuse/red sparkle body or a chartreuse/orange body with sparkle in it or a chartreuse/black with sparkle. I do use pink-and-white and white-and-yellow colored jigs from time to time. Ninety percent of the time, I'll tip my jig with a large-sized minnow.

I believe that the bigger the bait is that you're using, the bigger the crappie will be that you catch. A live bait gives off smell and vibrations, which help a crappie in stained water to find the bait. I believe that a crappie feels threatened when a live bait invades its spawning area, and this reason is why crappie will strike that big minnow on the back of my jig.

Question: How do you fish that jig and minnow in and around that brush?

Driscoll: Most of the time, I'll use a 10-foot Sam Heaton B'n'M super-sensitive crappie pole and fish 10-pound-test high-vis Mossy Oak Fishing Line. As I approach the brush, I'll have the pole in my right hand and about a foot and a half of Mossy Oak Fishing Line coming from the pole in my left hand, much like a fly fisherman holds his line out away from his fly rod. When I reach the brush I want to fish, I pull the jig and minnow up to the very tip of the pole with my line. Then I slip the tip of the rod into the brush so that I can drop the minnow and jig in the hole in the brush that I want to fish. By wading, I can get my rod tip up under the brush in places that a boat fisherman never can fish. Once I get my jig and minnow above the hole I want to fish, I begin to ease the bait down into the water so that it doesn't make a splash.

Click to enlargeQuestion: Okay, Kent, once you've got the minnow and the jig in the hole in the bush that you want to fish, what do you do next?

Driscoll: I very slowly begin to feed out line so that the minnow and jig begin to sneak into the hole very slowly. Most of the time the strike will come within the first 6 to 8 inches after the minnow and the jig begin to drop into the hole. I've also learned that usually the bigger crappie are going to be back up in the brush as far as they can get.

Question: Once the crappie takes the bait in that deep brush, how do you get the fish out of the deep brush?

Driscoll: When I feel the bite, I snap my wrist up to set the hook. Now I'm not making a hard hook set - just a quick, firm hook set. Once I've got the crappie on the jig, I pull the line with my left hand and try and get the crappie up to within 3 inches of the tip of the pole. Then I start backing the rod with the crappie on it out of the brush.

Click to enlargeOnce I get the crappie clear of the brush, I use a dip net with an elastic bungee cord on it like trout fishermen use. As soon as the crappie comes out of the brush, I want to put that net under the crappie and get the fish in the net before it has a chance to break free. One of the problems with wade fishing for crappie is even though you'll catch a lot of fish, you'll also often lose a lot of fish. The crappie are hard to control when you start to pull them out of the brush, and you may only have a foot of line from the pole to the crappie. Because I'm putting that jig in as rough an environment as there is on any lake, and I'm pulling that crappie often that will weigh 2 pounds or more out of that bush, I've got to have a line I can depend on, like the Mossy Oak high-vis line.

To learn more about Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to For more information on B'n'M crappie poles, visit


Check back each day this week for more about KENT DRISCOLL - EXTRAORDINARY CRAPPIE FISHERMAN

Day 1: The Importance of Line to Crappie-Fishing Success
Day 2: What's The Best Length of Time to Leave Line on a Spool
Day 3: Why Driscoll Gets Wet to Catch Crappie
Day 4: Jig Fishing
Day 5: Cranking Up for Crappie



Entry 292, Day 4