• Crappie/Bream

    Driftmaster’s line of crappie-style rod holders make setting the hook using long rods much easier.

    Rodholders key to stalking crappie

    Driftmaster Rodholders, a division of Black River Tools, is the manufacturer of one of the most innovative rod holders designed specifically for spider-rigging for crappie. 

    April 15 at 7:00am
    Old school Mississippi crappie fishing means using a jig pole to search for crappie in the grass and is still a top producer for slabs this month. An 11- or 12-footer will allow anglers to reach deeper into the vegetation to get to fish others miss.

    The pros and cons of current

    Long is the debate over exactly how current, whether it be wind or water generated, has on crappie fishing. 

    April 15 at 7:00am
    In mid March, male crappie on Barnett had already turned black and moved shallow for the spawn. There's one lighter colored female in the bunch. Since April 1, both males and females are in deep water.

    Crappie yet to spawn on Barnett Reservoir

    It could happen today, but then, again, it might be tomorrow.

    April 13 at 2:50pm
    Jigging is an effective way to catch crappie in flood-control reservoirs. Notice, in the background, the absence of cover needed for successful crappie spawning.

    How do young crappie survive the winter

    Good crappie fishing often depends on a strong year-class: an abundance of fish produced in a given year. When those fish grow to a size of interest to anglers — what biologists call “recruit to the fishery” — the result is fast action, filled limits and full coolers. Fast growth and limited harvest often equates to super slabs for the next several years. 

    April 09 at 9:00am
    Crappie fisherman Hugh Krutz of Brandon recommends that Barnett Reservoir anglers pay their taxes early and target April 15 for a time to hit the peak of the crappie spawn on The Rez.

    April 15: Taxes or slabs at the Rez

    Most people mark April 15 on their calendars as a reminder that their income tax forms are due.

    April 01 at 7:00am
    Light planer boards like Water Bugz are more suitable for pulling light lures and baits for crappie.

    Gaining a little weight isn’t always bad

    While most folks stress about putting on a little weight, guide Brad Taylor said that when pulling planer boards for crappie, adding a little weight can go a long way.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    This nice Grenada Lake crappie weighed almost 3 pounds.

    Managing crappie is often a water issue

    Reservoir crappie populations are notoriously cyclic. A strong year-class is produced once every few years and is usually followed by one or more weak year-classes. When the fish reach catchable size, the abundant cohort supports good to excellent fishing for a few years until members of the once abundant year-class are caught or die of old age. 

    March 09 at 8:30am
    Mississippi crappie will march to shallows this month.

    Slab-Slammin’ time

    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.

    March 01 at 7:00am
    Planer boards open up shallow water to spring crappie trollers.

    Crappie on a different plane

    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.

    March 01 at 7:00am
    Mitch Glenn’s Pico Ringed Pointer tale grub on a Scott Vance custom-painted jighead with red sickle hook and a Berkley Crappie Nibble is a deadly prespawn combination on crappie.

    Top prespawn lure picks

    We polled several successful crappie fishermen, and these products were among their recommendations for cold-water crappie in the prespawn mode:

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Writer Mike Giles caught prespawn crappie last February on shallow grass at Okatibbee Lake, a tactic most fishermen overlook that early in the year.

    Prespawn crappie in the grass

    I grew up fishing for bass and crappie year-round and have learned a few things about finding and catching prespawn crappie. 

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Shooting under docks to get to hard-to-reach crappie is normally best done with a round-head jig that flutters when it falls.

    When to tip a jig with a minnow

    For all the discussion about crappie jigs, live minnows account for at least half of the fish caught by anglers. No discussion about jigs is complete without a discussion of how and when to pair live minnows with jigs.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Scott Vance is a master at catching slab crappie at any time of the year, but he excels in February’s pre-spawn at Okatibbee Lake.

    Slay slabs now!

    Scott Vance dropped a few jigs into the water, but before he could get all his poles out, the action began. 

    February 01 at 7:00am
    Pony head jigs like this Road Runner account for a lot of crappie, especially in stained water where the small spinner provides vibration and flash.

    The jig is up. But which one?

    Walk into any tackle shop this time of year and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with choices of crappie jigs to use to tempt one of the country’s favorite gamefish. How do you decide which one(s) to buy and use? 

    February 01 at 7:00am
    When managers at Barnett Reservoir increase discharge at the spillway, crappie are pulled through the gates and congregate in the eddy currents below.

    Sure-thing spillway slabs?

    A popular idiom for simplicity is to compare something to “shooting fish in a barrel.” It has no better application than some winter fishing opportunities on the Pearl River when the waters in the spillway below Barnett Reservoir begin to rise.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Limits of big crappie have been taken from the edge of the river channel above and below the Mississippi Highway 43 Bridge at Barnett Reservoir. It's usually a winter hot spot but this year, it started earlier and has just gotten better.

    Barnett crappie hot in December

    Crappie fishermen on Barnett Reservoir enjoyed an early Christmas present in December, with one of the best late-season runs on the fish in anyone’s memory.

    December 20, 2017 at 6:30am