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Crappie Fishing Tips #173

Jiggy's Corner - 1/24/2016
Fishing Weed Mats:

Once water temps heat up in spring and aquatic weeds begin to emerge, a crappie angler can take advantage of a crappie's natural ambush tendencies by understanding how crappie relate to water weed cover like Milfoil and Coontail. For example, floating weed mats provide crappie with shade and over head security. The fish can often be found just under the outside edges of the weed mat, preferring to hang just inside the shade that the mat provides.

Weed mats that form over deeper water, from 8 to 15 feet, are often the most productive, esp if water weeds growing from the bottom up leave discernable gaps and pockets for the crappie to hide in. Crappie will use their superb natural coloration to conceal themselves in the darker weed pockets by holding in any shaded leafy cover that provides ambush locations for pouncing on small minnows that pass by. Crappie tend to hunt looking up, where they can stalk their preferred minnow forage by approaching from behind and below.

Crappie fishermen can score good stringers of slabs by alternating between several different rods and tossing a pre rigged slip bobber set ups with a 1/32 oz,1.5" skirt jig. Try tight line casting and swimming a 1/16th oz. 2" slender minnow or knobby tailed Shad style jig through the shaded areas along the outside edges of the mats. Jigs with contrasting body colors like Black/chartruse, Electric Chicken and Pearl Shad/Black back work well in stained water conditions while more natural colors like Smelt, Pearl white and translucent chartruse can be productive in clearer water clarity.

Figuring out the Crappie's preferred depth in relation to shade and light penetration are just part of the fish catching equation. Be sure to take note of when you get your first few hits. Aggressive weed mat crappie will often dart out and pounce on your jig as soon as it hits the water and begins to sink out of sight. Once the most productive depth and jig color is figured out, back off a fair distance and long pitch casts with a slip bobber rig/jig set up to pick off the more wary crappie in the school. Weed mats are an often over looked hot spot for crappie. Be sure to fish any in your area the next time you hit the water.

"Jiggy's Corner" features crappie tips by David Gerhauser. David produces excellent soft plastic lures for crappie and is a Pacific Northwest crappie icon and author in various crappie publications. Check out David John Gerhauser on Facebook for more crappie tips and knowledge.