|Easy man’s crappie -- winter tactics|
|Wednesday, January 18, 2012|
By JOHN L. SLOAN,
However, he is no slouch at putting a cooler full of slab crappie in the boat. We were talking about trolling for crappie, about the least work an angler can do and still be fishing. It is a perfect tactic for cold weather fishing.
Richard’s method is so simple I believe Judge Durham could do it. From what I could tell, the key elements are just use a GPS if you have one, go slow and use light line and lures. It also helps to have several rods going at one time.
Slow movement is something like 0.09 mph, just barely moving. Light line is six-pound test or less. Richard prefers four-pound. A light lure is 1/16-oz or even 1/32. Then you put out six or eight rods and sit back. I want Jackie Taylor to learn to do this so I can go fishing with him. I’ll loan him some rods. After all, I have probably thrown a dozen away just because I didn’t like something about them.
The GPS allows you to maintain a constant slow speed. Once you find the speed the fish like, you can stay at that speed. You use a trolling motor, not the big one. The GPS also allows you to follow a creek channel or any bottom variance. The weight of the jig and line poundage determine at what depth you are trolling. You can also put some type of light float above your jig if you wish. The color of the tube on the jig may be just about anything. Richard recommends red/chartreuse and some variation with pink in it. Using different colors on various rods allows you to find what the fish want. Two weeks ago, a local angler told me they were hitting black/charteuse.
Other than the GPS and a trolling motor, no other high-tech equipment is needed. It matters not one bit what sort of boat you are using. It is handy to have several rod holders attached to help keep lines straight and monitor strikes. No hook set is necessary when trolling. You just lift the rod, reel the fish in and get the grease hot.
This is about as far as you can get from standard crappie fishing. There is no tangling up in treetops or brush piles with this manner of fishing. There is no need for minnows or any of the usual equipment a crappie angler might use. You do not even have to know where the fish are.
You just pick a spot and start trolling. Sounds to me like a super way to spend an afternoon. I wouldn’t even take a cell phone-even if I knew where mine is.
It is an ideal method for Old Hickory. The many sloughs and creeks entering the main channel provide a myriad of ideal places to troll. Once you hit fish, you just keep going and repeating what is working. When you run out of fish, just turn around and go back over the same water.
On a lake such as Percy Priest or Center hill, in addition to creek channels, you have banks that are ideal for trolling along. Unlike a river, they provide long banks with a more or less constant depth.
I’m going to try hard to talk Big Bird into a session on Old Chickory. He has a GPS in his boat (car, phone, truck, ATV, skateboard, watch etc.) and knows how to use it. This is so simple, I think he can do it and he knows what and where a creek channel(s) is.
Light jigs are cheap and so are the tubes and I have close to a mile of four-pound test line. We can bundle up in our cold weather hunting clothes and have a go at it.
I know there is a 10-inch size limit and I’ll call Jackie Taylor and find out what the creel limit is.
I tend to think it is 30 fish on Old Hickory and Priest and 15 on Center Hill. You can double check me on that, prolly be a good idea.
What I do know is this. Cold weather crappie is some mighty fine eating and go real good with French fries, a slice of onion and some sweet tea. That is just about all I know.