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Two of the worst conditions that crappie fishers will face in April are heavy spring rains and cold fronts. When either of these conditions hit, most crappie fishermen, will cancel their fishing trips. However, as a national tournament crappie pro, avid crappie fisherman and a guide on several lakes, John Woods of Newbern Tennessee, often fishes under these conditions, and catches crappie.
In the book “Crappie: How to Catch them Spring and Summer,” the author, John E. Phillips, asks Woods, how he catches crappie under these conditions.
Question: John, weather changes often will throw a fisherman a curve when he’s trying to find and catch crappie. Let’s say you’re fishing in a tournament, and you’ve had stable weather right up until the night before the tournament when a huge rain storm comes in with thunder and lighting, bringing a lot of new water into the lake and muddying it up. How do you find and catch crappie then?
Woods: Wherever I’ve found my fish in practice is where I’ll fish. The lake may have risen and become stained, but the crappie haven’t left the area. The crappie still will be in the same spot where I’ve found them. So, that’s where I’ll look for crappie on the tournament day. The crappie may have moved over, up or down a few feet, but they’ll still be in that same general region. If I’ve been fishing in clear water, but because of rain, the water has become stained, I’ll fish a bigger bait. I may use a 2- or a 2-1/2-inch jig with a 3-inch live minnow behind that jig. The more stained the water, the bigger the bait I’ll use. The bigger the bait, the easier it is for the crappie to see.
Question: Okay, John, let’s say you’re fishing pretty weather with a 60- to a 70-degree air temperature, and the temperature even may rise to the 80s. You go to bed that night confident that you’ll be slaying crappie in the morning under bluebird skies and warm weather. However, when you wake up, one of those freaky cold fronts like many parts of the country have endured the first 2 weeks of April may have come through, dropping the temperature down to 20 or 30 degrees. You may have to wear your snowmobile suit over the top of your shorts and t-shirt to keep from getting hypothermia. How will the cold front affect the crappie?
Woods: The crappie won’t move drastically, but they may be somewhat deeper and more reluctant to bite. So if the bite’s slow, I’ll slow down my presentation. If I’m trolling, I’ll troll slower than when the water is warmer. I may even give the fish a slower presentation with a hand pole. Fishing with a hand pole is my most-favorite way to fish. But when you’re fishing tournaments, you have to put those eight poles out and troll to be competitive. When that cold weather hits, and the fish won’t bite, I find underwater structure and bang my jigs and minnows on it until I can make those crappie bite.
Question: When you’re fishing with a hand pole, what size hand pole do you use?
Woods: Most of the time I’m fishing with a 10-foot B’nM pole, because it’s extremely sensitive, yet strong enough to bring up a crappie to the top where it can be netted. On the back of my 10-foot pole, on the very butt of the pole, I mount a spinning reel. Many times Tracy, my favorite fishing partner, and I will use Martin automatic reels. When you push the trigger on that reel, it automatically starts winding-up on your line. That’s a real asset when you’re fishing deep. As soon as you feel the bite, set the hook, and push the trigger on the reel, and the crappie will be on its way to the surface.
To learn more about crappie and how to fish for them from the masters of the sport, click here for “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” a new eBook from Amazon’s Kindle by John E. Phillips. Or, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks and type-in the name of the book to find it.
Night Hawk Publications Inc.
% John E. Phillips
4112 Camp Horner Road
Vestavia AL 35243
Phone: 205-967-3830 FAX: 205-967-7185
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