John's Journal...


What Tackle & Lures to Use

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: If you want to find buried treasure, you have to search for the places other treasure hunters have overlooked. You must use research others haven't discovered. You must develop a method of searching for and finding the treasure all those who have failed haven't used. "To find the biggest crappie in any lake, you've got to fish the spots no one else knows about with a method no one else uses at a time of year when no one else fishes," says Gaston Jordan of Alexander City, Alabama. Jordan catches the most crappie during the hot summer months by fishing the bottom of any lake in the middle of that lake. A lone soul anchored down in a small boat in a vast expanse of water seems out of place on a large lake as water-skiers and tournament bass fishermen race by on both sides. The men in these big boats must wonder if Jordan has lost his mind. But from May through September, Gaston Jordan finds the big slab crappie that most other anglers don't catch.

Click to enlargeAlthough Jordan prefers to fish the humps with 6-pound-test line, he opts for 8-pound-test because then he can land almost any type of fish that swims in a lake. The places Jordan fishes concentrate most of the game species in a lake. The bait he uses has proven it will catch fish. "I fish a 1/16-ounce, lead-headed, bucktail jig," Jordan explains. "Above the jig, I pinch a piece of 1/16-ounce lead onto the line. However, I don't close the shot lead all the way down on the line. I want the line to slip through the shot lead. By rigging this way, I cast a total of 1/8-ounces, which means I can throw my bait farther than I can when I fish a 1/16-ounce jig."

Jordan puts the shot lead on the line ahead of the jig because the split shot tends to sink faster when it hits the water and falls away from the more buoyant hollow deer-hair jig. By using the split shot ahead of the jig, Jordan can cast his jigs like an 1/8-ounce jig. But the bait will fall slow and hop across the bottom like a 1/16-ounce jig.

"Click to enlargeI believe crappie see the colors black and red best," Jordan says. "I paint the eyes of my jigs black and use red string to wrap natural white deer hair or dyed yellow deer hair to the jig. I've also noticed when baitfish get excited or try to move away from a predator fish, they'll often flare their gills. Prey fish like bass and crappie see the red of the these gills and attack. I've proved -- at least to myself --that I catch more fish, especially crappie, when I wrap deer hair onto my jigs with red string than when I use any other color of wrapping." Sometimes Jordan dyes the deer hair of his jigs chartreuse or pink. I got kidded when I first came out with my pink jig," Jordan remembered. "But the kidding stopped when I took that pink bucktail jig out on the lake and caught crappie with it. I know crappie are extremely color sensitive. I've learned that when they won't take the white or the yellow jigs, they will hit pink. I've caught fish that have weighed as much as 25 pounds on these little jigs, although I do have to admit, that 25-pounder was a carp."

Click to enlargeTo catch more crappie this summer, search the middles of lakes for bottom structure, and try Jordan's tactics. Although these strategies primarily take crappie, don't be surprised if you catch some of the many kinds of fish that live in a lake. Jordan does.

For more information about how to find and catch crappie, order "The Masters' Secrets of Crappie Fishing" by John E. Phillips by calling (800) 627-4295, using PayPal or sending a check or a money order for $13.50, which includes shipping and handling, to 4112 Camp Horner Road Birmingham, AL 35243. You can learn more by visiting

Check back each day this week for more about BIG CRAPPIE NOW ...

Day 1 - Where to Fish for Crappie
Day 2 - More on Where to Fish for Crappie
Day 3 - How to Fish for Crappie
Day 4 - More on How to Fish for Crappie
Day 5 - What Tackle & Lures to Use




Entry 257, Day 5