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John's Journal... Entry 245, Day 5


Fish Hidden Spots: How To Catch Big Crappie Anytime

Hard-core slab anglers seem to enjoy creating their own big crappie hot spots. "To take big crappie, I like to build brush shelters in places with no other crappie-holding structure," explains Sam Spencer, a retired fisheries biologist in Alabama. "I build these brush shelters along the edges of clay banks or solid rock faces where the crappie have no other type of cover on which they can hold. I've also built brush shelters in the mouths of embayments with nothing but clay or mud banks in them." Spencer has found that by sinking brush in sites where no crappie fisherman will ordinarily fish, he can concentrate fish and often catch some of the biggest crappie in the lake. "When I put brush in areas where the crappie have no cover, the fish will find it in just a couple of hours."

Become Structure Oriented:
Most anglers have a more-difficult time finding and catching deep-water crappie than they do shallow-water crappie. If you look for and locate crappie in deep water, generally you'll find some of the biggest crappie in any lake holding in those deep-water haunts where most crappie fishermen don't fish. Use your depth finder to locate bottom breaks and cover on them. Then vertically fish through the cover for deep-water crappie. In many clear lakes, especially during the summer months, you may find crappie holding in much deeper waters than you've ever imagined. Some anglers have reported catching crappie 50- to 60-feet deep on underwater ledges and drop-offs in clear lakes in the summer and winter months.

Fish Limit Lakes:
You can consistently catch more big crappie by fishing lakes that have more restrictive length and bag limits than most other lakes do. Fifteen or 20 years ago, many fisheries biologists preached the gospel of catching and eating all the crappie you could. Because the crappie had such a tremendous reproductive cycle, fisheries biologists believed that you never could catch all the crappie out of a lake. Today, however, research has tended to indicate that although you may not catch all the crappie out of a lake, you may take all the big crappie from a lake. A heavy harvest on a certain year class may be partially responsible for the boom or bust pattern we've seen in crappie lakes throughout the nation. Today, many state departments of conservation have enacted length and more-restrictive catch limits than we've seen in the past. I've found that the lakes I fish that have a 10-inch-length limit for crappie consistently produce more big fish than the lakes with a 9-inch-length limit or no length limit. These limits allow the younger crappie to survive until they reach the older-age classes, put on heavy body weights and become a more prized catch for the fisherman than the crappie on the lakes with little or no restrictions. These proven tactics will help you pinpoint crappie and fight them to your boat.



Check back each day this week for more about 10 WAYS TO CATCH THE BIGGEST CRAPPIE OF YOUR LIFE ...

Day 1 - Two Tips for Big Crappie
Day 2 - Fish The Floods (Prespawn)
Day 3 - The Spawn
Day 4 - Fish Deep With Tiny Jigs (Postspawn)
Day 5 - Fish Hidden Spots: How To Catch Big Crappie Anytime

John's Journal