• Crappie/Bream

    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Sweetening your trolling baits with added scents can help sell the deal.

    Helpful hints for fall crappie

    For fall crappie work, consider these finer points, as needed:

    October 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    A well-placed spread pushed at a slow pace is the recipe for crappie bites.

    Trolling the transition - Can’t miss September crappie tips

    Summer’s swelter is on the way out and fall’s advancing coolness will soon tickle the backs of our necks and push crappie toward their fourth-quarter patterns. Main lake targets will continue to produce for a few more weeks, but Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall says the sooner you head to inside waters the better.

    October 01, 2017 at 7:00am
    This slab crappie also inhaled a Cajun Lures’ Slim Jimmy.

    Slim Jimmys

    Before there was a Cooyon Croaker, Kaplan-based Cajun Lures probably was best known for the little soft plastic that slayed sac-a-lait here, there and everywhere.

    September 27, 2017 at 9:00am
    Crappie can’t avoid Terry Blankenship just because it’s summer and they’re deep.

    Top 7 tips for catching slabs in brush

    Terry Blankenship’s passion is finding and catching crappie year-round. And the fish don’t stand a chance when the summer heat pushes fish out to deep, flooded brush and standing timber.

    September 18, 2017 at 6:00am
    The lateral-line system detects water movement. This ability may help this bluegill find prey but also alert it to an approaching predator.

    Fish Sensory Systems: Part 3

    Fish rely on their senses to survive, and in particular, to find food in their underwater homes. Part I of this series explored vision, a very fast and accurate sense for detecting objects in the environment, but also a sense quickly impaired by changes in water clarity. Part II explored how taste and smell are involved in feeding and concluded that chemical cues may be important for accepting or rejecting objects as food but probably have a relatively minor role in detecting prey or attracting fish. This final segment explores fishes’ ability to detect sound and water movement. These senses may have much more to do with feeding than formerly known or even thought.

    September 11, 2017 at 9:00am
    A number of set ups are used for power trolling, but most involve tandem jigs and a heavy weight to keep the baits down in the water column at faster trolling speeds.

    One head, different colors

    Veteran crappie angler Les Smith highly recommends Road Runner jigheads for his style of power trolling. He said the balance of the jig, along with the additional flash provided by the spinner blade works well when power trolling.

    July 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    Steve Coleman replaces jigs with crankbaits and pushes them out the front of his boat in power trolling fashion.

    Coleman and Capps love deep cranking

    For the last 20 years, the team of Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman has been the team to beat on national crappie tournament circuits. The duo has developed tournament crappie tactics so successful that manufacturers began creating rods, rigs, and lures just for that style of fishing. 

    July 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    Portable lights can put more fish in the boat — or on your dock — at night as well as make your trip safer.

    Night fishing musts

    When fishing at night, remember to pack:

    July 15, 2017 at 7:00am
    Crankbait and long line trolling lack the precise depth control that can be achieved when power trolling.

    Power troll for summertime crappie

    When Les Smith of Senatobia looks at the thermometer in July, it’s not the weather temperature that comes to mind, it’s the fishing temperature. His years of experience on north Mississippi’s famous crappie factories like Enid, Sardis, Grenada, and Arkabutla lakes have shown that the heat of summer doesn’t mean it’s time to stop fishing.

    July 01, 2017 at 7:00am