I grew up fishing for bass and crappie year-round and have learned a few things about finding and catching prespawn crappie.
During high-water years when lake levels rise into the grass and brush, you can also find prespawn crappie in the grass. While a lot of anglers, including Scott Vance, were catching prespawn Okatibbee Lake crappie along the ditches and channels near shallow flats this past February, we were catching prespawn crappie in the grass. Few anglers realized fish had already moved up.
We used 11-foot, graphite jig poles with black/chartreuse, or black/hot pink jigs, tipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles.
The water was warming, but the air was very cold, and the crappie were biting but not chasing. The key to catching crappie in the grass is to ease the jig down into or right beside the grass stalks and let it sit a second. If you don’t get bit, jig it up and down slowly a second and then move to the next patch of grass. Crappie usually bite when you pump it and let it fall.
If you’ll drop that jig beside each clump of grass, you’ll get bit if they’re there. Cover enough territory and slow down when you get a bite. You’ll usually find the crappie ganged up in one small area, and you can load the boat.
If the bite is slow, just work the grass thoroughly and work the area back and forth until the bite stops. Usually, more crappie will move in, and you can keep catching prespawn slabs.
If they’re in the grass, they’re usually hungry and will hit anything, though they may be a bit lethargic, even on windy days. Anchor your boat or use a Power Pole to hold it in place and slowly and methodically work each piece of grass. On one February trip to Okatibbee Lake, I caught 27 keepers from one grass patch without ever moving the boat.