By the time March rolls around, crappie fishermen across the southeast are chomping at the bit for waves of slabs to invade the shallows. And even though tight-line and long-line trolling techniques are proven winners, guides like Brad Taylor are adding another wrinkle, using planer boards to spread baits out even farther from the boat and access territory otherwise out of reach.
The cast was a foot right of perfect, and the Boat Monkey float settled in the center of the concentric rings forming around its landing. A sea gull swooped down to check it out, only to turn away perhaps repulsed by the orange bobber —which suddenly was gone, jerked completely out of sight below the surf.
This winter has been a butt-kicker, but Pete Ponds isn’t worried. For one thing, the bass pro from Madison has plenty of warm clothing, and he’s thinking that recent weather patterns will produce more opportunities to catch fish during the seasonal transition period known as the prespawn.
May is widely considered to be the best month for chasing bream, but die-hard panfisher anglers know that redear sunfish — aka chinquapin, shellcracker or just redear — move into their prespawn and spawning patterns much sooner than bluegill and other sunfish species that fall under the general colloquialism of “bream.”
Every spring, an eons-old phenomenon takes place in the lakes and streams of southeastern states: the waters warm, crappie move shallow and become active, and fishermen rejoice. They reap the bounty brought on by the predictable behavior of the fair-fleshed fish.
There’s nothing like March in Mississippi, when the crappie are overtaken by the urge to spawn, which puts them in range of an awful lot of fishermen with a hankering for sweet fillets. Photo by Dan Kibler.