Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017

Make your Mammy slap your Pappy

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This is a nice crappie, caught on a chartreuse, Whirly Bee, 1/8-ounce.

That is the way Uncle Lloyd use to describe sac-a-lait fillets, properly fried with the correct trimmings. We call them crappie.

Fishing for crappie can be as difficult or as simple as you want to make, it. It requires minimal equipment and not a great deal of skill. Best of all, now is the time to start fishing for them. They are, or should be, moving up from deeper water to the shallower spawning areas. Let me begin with where to start looking.

Crappie are structure oriented. The like old, down trees with the tops submerged.

They like fence rows, stumps, brush piles and boat docks. So, given the time of the year, start fishing around those structures in anywhere from 5-10 feet of water. Look for the warmer areas, close to channels. Two or three degree warmer water, just off a creek or river channel ideal.

There are about as many ways to catch crappie as there are anglers to fish for them.

I'll start with the easiest. This requires only four pieces of equipment: A long pole with line, crappie hooks, light split shot and a cork or bobber. Tie the hook on the end of the line, attach a spilt shot about eight-inches above the hook, attach the cork to the line the depth at which you want fish and hook a minnow on the hook. Now, go fish that around structure. Simply drop the minnow in close to the structure and watch the cork. If it goes under, set the hook.

This can also be done with a flyrod or spinning rod. It is a peaceful and productive way to fish and extremely productive. Not only crappie but almost any fish is prone to take the minnow. Great way to while away a warm, spring afternoon.

Now, let me talk about the slip cork. I love to fish this way. The cork used, slips up and down the line, allowing you to accurately cast the minnow or jig and then, keep it in the kill zone longer.

Slip corks are cheap and easy to use and I love them with both minnows and jigs. In recent years, I have come to use the slip cork a lot.

That brings us to the third method of crappie fishing-jigs. A jig is a weighted hook, usually with a lead head that comes in a variety of weights.

For crappie, I use almost exclusively, either 1/16 or 1/8 ounce. A tail of some sort if attached to the hook portion of the jig.

Here is a tip. On a cold or rainy day, spend some time Super Gluing the tails of your choice to the jig head. Just a drop is sufficient and it will save you a lot of time and cussing when you start catching fish. I often do 20-50 in an afternoon, depending on just how bored I am. Word of warning: If you have them, wear disposable exam gloves. It keeps you from gluing your fingers together.

What tail to use? Lately, I have become a huge fan of the Crappie Magnet and Trout Magnet jigs. I have them in pink, chartreuse, brown and white.

Pink and chartreuse are my go-to colors. Just experiment, you'll find what they like.

I fish the jigs alone or on a slip cork. Without the cork, it is a simple process, cast them, allow them to sink a bit, and retrieve slowly, slightly jigging them.

With the cork, cast to likely looking spots and allow the waves and wind to provide the motion. Or, you can "jiggle" them a bit.

I have not mentioned the spider rig method because I know nothing about it. I have been promised a trip but so far, no phone call. If I ever go, I'll lay that on you as well.

Main thing is this: Spring is coming...it always has. Water temps will slowly rise, the fish will rise with it and instead of watching reruns of Chicago Fire, why not go try and catch supper?

Hard to beat a mess of crappie with fried taters, cornbread, a salad and sweet tea. Laws, Miss Agnes!

Make your Mammy slap your Pappy.

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