Crappie fishing is a fitting adventure for beginners. This is because they are slightly easier to catch than bass or walleye, which require considerable skill. They weigh lesser and are more numerous than most other game fish.
Even for their diminutive size, compared to other game fish, they do put on quite a bit of struggle. They are found throughout the country in lakes and rivers. This makes them easily accessible to anglers and other amateur fishing enthusiasts.
Fishing is a form of hunting where the prey has considerable ease of movement than the hunter, for whom it's not a naturally conducive medium. That is why, knowing the prey well, in fishing, is vitally important as only that knowledge can increase the probability of hooking some. 'Know thy prey and set thy trap well' should be your motto.
Know Thy Prey
Black crappie is characterized by black spots on the sides, while the white ones are characterized by their comparatively lighter tone of color and vertical bars, instead of dots on the sides. Both the species can be distinguished by their gill rakers, which are used to catch plankton, that is also one of their staple diets.
They are known by many different names, including strawberry bass, papermouths, calico bass, speckled perch, and simply 'specks'. Their meat tastes really good which makes them popular game fish, pursued by many.
Their diet is diverse and includes minnows, insects, crustaceans, and many other fish, comparable to their size. These fish are active throughout the year. However, the best times to catch them are during spring and fall. They prefer to stay low during the day and start moving out at dusk and dawn for feeding.
These fish spawn during the period from April to June and they breed in waters with temperatures in the range of 58 to 68 degree Fahrenheit. These fish tend to linger around weed beds, logs, boulders, and submerged objects. Since they are active throughout the year, there are a range of techniques, which vary according to the season.
Crappie fish of both species are known to grow to a maximum size of 10 inches. Their weight can range from about a half pound to a pound. These fish abound the lakes and ponds throughout the country, though they are native to eastern United States and parts of Canada.
Tips and Techniques
For catching these fish, a light line works well, with the right bait. The choice of bait is quite clear from the kind of diet they prefer. A live bait can be anything out of worms, minnows, or insects.
Remember to use artificial lures that resemble their natural choice of food in shape and form. Fishing in cool waters, which are 5 feet to 18 feet deep, near the shores, can increase your chances of catching some.
Target weed beds and other submerged object areas near the shore, during the spawning season, when the crappie prefer being in shallow waters. Here are some of the most popular techniques.
Spider Rigging (Angling)
The most popular technique is angling. All it needs is a hook attached by a line and a standard fishing rod. You can use live or artificial bait. Spider rigging involves usage of multiple rods pointing in various directions, radially outwards from the angler.
It is named so because, from far, the angler would resemble a spider with its tentacles spread in the water. Another trick used by the anglers to attract the crappies is throwing live bait in the waters and then putting in the line.
With ice which is more than 6 inches thick, it is safe to tread on the surface. The technique involves cutting a hole in ice beds, using a saw or auger and then dipping in lines to catch the fish. This kind of technique can be dangerous and needs to be undertaken carefully.
Dry flies are mostly used when fishing on clear summer days. It takes a lot of skill and is especially effective because the movement of the fish after hooking can be felt more clearly.
Remember, when it comes to fishing, patience and tact are the most important factors.