After the spawn is over and the high-water from spring rains and swift currents subside, the crappie fishing usually gets predictable, stable and fun. Anglers such as guide Brad Chappell take advantage of the opportunities and fish as much as possible in the main lake areas and usually catch lots of fish. Chappell is catching them now and he only expects it to get better as the summer months roll around.
“Right now we are catching a lot of crappie from 8 to 12 feet deep,” Chappell said. “We’re long-line trolling in areas of the main lake that are holding fish and doing quite well. Today we caught about 46 keepers by doing just that.”
Chappell continuously keeps tab on the crappie population and locations around the lake because weather conditions and winds from different directions sometimes prevent him from fishing certain areas.
“Fishing the main lake open water is mainly about boat control,” Chappell said. “When you’re fishing deep water, it doesn’t matter too much what’s happening on the top but if you are fishing clear water 8 to 10 feet deep, the slapping of waves against your boat and noisy trolling motors churning to get through the wind sometimes scare the fish and turn them off.”
To prevent such scenarios from happening, Chappell will fish areas of the lake that are more conducive for fishing and boat control during adverse weather conditions.
“During cloudy days we’ll cover a lot of water by long-lining, and you can catch them all day long,” Chappell said. “If the weather is sunny and we see schools of crappie stacking up on the tops and stumps we may stop and cast jigs to them and catch them that way. Otherwise we’ll keep working a lot of water and only slow down when we see areas that have a concentration of fish. Then we will work that area back and forth as long as they bite.”
Chappell prefers fishing a 1/8-ounce Bobby Garland MO’ Glo orange jig head with a blue/chrome or June bug/chartreuse stroller. Bobby Garland Jigs and trailers can be found at Bass Pro Shops and other tackle shops that carry Garland products.
“We’ll keep fishing the same stumps until they get educated or caught,” Chappell said. “You’ve got to have a good knowledge of the lake to fish different areas when it’s windy or rough but during periods of good weather it’s not quite as important.”
When long-lining, Chappell will pull those jigs from 1 to 1.2 mph over 8 to 12 feet deep water and cover a lot of water. When the fish are scattered there’s nothing much better than long-lining open water and covering a lot of water to catch a pile of fish.
If you are looking for some good crappie fishing, then now is the time to head to Ross Barnett. The lake’s getting stable and should be good for a while with a whole lot less anglers than during the spawn.
For more information on fishing Ross Barnett contact Brad Chappell at 601-317-6681.
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