National crappie tournament champions Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman have earned themselves the reputation for being diehard tight-line trollers, but they describe a twist that one or both of them may use during the post-spawn to pick off male who are sticking tight to the nest during the post-spawn to guard fry.

“It’s definitely a shallow water tactic that we’ve used a lot of places, especially when you’re dealing with stained water, said Capps. “Right after the spawn is over, a lot of males are as shallow as they can possibly get and it’s a problem to get a 23-foot Ranger close to the shoreline with the deep keel that we have in our boat.”

Capps claims the two of them can cover a lot more real estate by casting those ultra shallow flats that they can’t get to with the trolling poles. 

“Even though we’re using long 16-foot poles to troll, we’re still spooking fish in water that shallow,” he said “Using a short spinning rod, we can cast 50 to 60 feet in front of the boat and get bites on fish that we might otherwise miss even with the long poles. They’re usually male fish, but we’re catching a whole lot of fish in that zone that nobody can really get into.”

Capps’ casting bait presentation is a hair jig fixed underneath a cork. He can adjust the cork to allow the jig to ride right in the face of a male crappie guarding the nest. The pair will often place a small split shot between the bait and the cork to give it more casting weight. The split shot also helps determine if the cork is set too deep. If the cork doesn’t ride straight up and down, the bait is laying on the bottom.

“The movement of the cork when you tilt the cork over rocks it back and forth,” he said. “In combination with that No. 5 split shot, you get an undulating effect in your marabou jig. If you’ll do it with just a couple of inches of line out, you can see the whole thing work. It’s amazing what kind of action you’re getting.”