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Best crappie fishing of the year

Best crappie fishing of the year
Jack Payne with a large crappie caught on an action tail.

Jack Payne with a large crappie caught on an action tail.

by Jack Payne


Tap, tap and down went the rod tip. Another crappie fallen to the Mr. Twister tail. We use the Mr. Twister tail, the Charlie Brewer Crappie Grub or the Beatle spins two ways. First is straight out of the package, spinner and all. The second way we remove the jig head and action tail from the spinner.

Before the spawn (which is now) and during the spawn (which might be next week or the following week), the jig head and action tails works best for us. Just after the spawn, when the crappie are cruising the weed lines, the addition of the spinner is huge.

Right now most of the crappies will be near their prime spawning grounds. On most lakes this means new cabbage weed beds or reed beds. The best way to find a cabbage patch is with your eyes.

Broadleaf cabbage have large leafs. A mature stand of weeds will often reach the surface during the summer. Right now a good patch might be two or three foot tall at best. A marl bottom area is often found with cabbage weeds.

A reed bed or a rice field is usually found in sandier soils and in shallower water. Most often this will be in a depth between 1-4 feet. The reeds will stick out of the water and are easily spotted.

Fishing the reeds means being stealth or making long casts and slowly working your lure back. Fishing this shallow water structure is best with a Carlisle Float and then the jig and action tail. Set the depth at two feet and work it in slowly.

Another option in the reeds is a long rod and fishing the jig vertically around each stand of reeds. We use rods between 12 and 14 feet so we can slide in quietly. Work slowly and patiently.

Cabbage weeds can be fished in the same manner but I love casting the jig out and retrieving it in slowly. Cast out and count down maybe to four. Then slowly reel in. If this fails then cast out, let it sink to the bottom and then start reeling in slowly.

Any crappie present will hit a slowly moving jig and action tail. Best colors, well I hate to say it, we use two colors 95% of the time. Yellow or chartreuse just pound the crappie. Some day’s one color is better than the other, but one of these two will work. Two anglers should each work a different color.

The best weight is a one sixteenth ounce followed by a one eighth ounce and then a one thirty second ounce head. The one sixteenth is hands down the best overall jig size. The Mr. Twister Tail is a high action tail. The Charlie Brewer is less aggressive, much like a minnow gliding through the water. Both are our favorites and we switch back and forth throughout the day.

Memorial Day weekend is normally pushing the envelope around our area for spawning fish. The crappie will pull out the weed edge gouging on new minnows. This is when the spinner really shines.

Cast the spinner out and count down to half of the depth. In ten feet of water count down to five, then start reeling in slowly. Sometimes you will feel a tap tap; other times just heaviness on your line. No need for a power hook set, just a snap of the wrist and the battle is on.

The Beatle Spin is a great search lure and deadly on active fish. When the fish are less aggressive or when sitting tight to a bed, then the jig head is best. Once the water hits the high fifties and into the low seventies the crappie will be found near cabbage weeds and most often around the reed and rice beds.


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