Bernie Barringer has broken the language barrier with crappies! And he’s made a deal with a crappie to tell him the four immutable laws of crappie fishing. Pay close attention!
As Told By “Slab” From Somewhere in Minnesota
I know you’re not expecting me, a crappie, to tell you how to fish for crappie, but I just can’t hold it in any longer. And really, the honest truth is that I have my own self-interest to consider.
Here’s the Deal
There are some things not very many fishermen know about us, and I’m going to spill the beans. I suppose this will mean more of my buddies are going to get a close-up view of your boat’s carpet, but so be it. I’m offering a deal. You look like an honest guy. I’ll give you the secrets, and you throw me back if you catch me. OK? Here goes.
Crappie Fishing Secret #1
We don’t feed on the bottom; in fact, we don’t feed down at all. We are designed so that our mouths are made to take in food that is slightly above us. If you look at the shape of our jaws and the position of our eyes, that should be obvious, but lots of you guys are still dropping your baits below us.
We’re not going to tip ourselves over like those darn walleyes to take even the best bait. If you’re fishing below us, you aren’t going to get bit. Make sure the jig is up. I know that’s a bad thing in your world; it’s even worse in our world.
Crappie Fishing Secret #2
We Love Pink. I can’t believe I said that out loud, but it’s true. Pink is very visible and we can’t resist a closer look. Orange and chartreuse, and even white, get my attention too, but there’s just something about pink. I know more crappies who have been pulled from the water by a pink and white jig than anything else.
A little pink jig with a fresh minnow on it… be still my pounding heart! It’s like crack for crappies!
Crappie Fishing Secret #3
Wood is Good. We like wood for a reason. You know those sunken brush piles, downed trees along the shorelines, old beaver lodges with their brushy feedbeds? We spend a lot of time there because a lot of food hides there! Older wood is better, too. The longer the wood is in the water, the more attractive it becomes to little bitty organisms.
These organisms are food for minnows (yum) and insect larvae (double yum-yum). When a little wind begins to blow into these woody buffet lines, the entire food chain is activated; stuff is getting knocked off the underwater wood and we’ll be there because our momma didn’t spawn no idiots.
The microorganisms are easy pickings, so the minnows and other tiny fish move right in and we’re there to take advantage of the abundance of food. Give me a sunny day in the spring when the insects are hatching and I’m in heaven hanging around an old beaver lodge.
I’ll eat until I can’t eat any more, then I’ll just lay there by a nice branch and soak up the sun while I digest my meal. Then in a few hours I’ll do it all again. Life is good. Until I see a pink jig that is. But you better be stealthy, because I’m right near the surface and I spook really easy if I see you coming.
Crappie Fishing Secret #4
We don’t just “disappear” in the summer! We don’t get harassed by anglers very much in the warm summer months. That’s because so few of them know where we go. We don’t just evaporate; we go where the food is. And the food is suspended out over the deep water. In fact, we spend the bulk of our time suspended just over the thermocline above the deepest part of the lake.
I can’t believe I am revealing all this to you, but if you just see a ball of baitfish or young-of-the-year bluegills 15 feet down over 40 feet of water, we won’t be far away! You can drift over us with a little jig, or even try bobber fishing with a slip bobber set at the right depth. Cripes – even some of my buddies have been jerked to the surface because they couldn’t resist a tiny minnow-imitating crankbait going by!
Now you know some things few crappie fishermen know. In fact, they’re laws – as sure as gravity to you. And this information, if you use it wisely, will give you an opportunity to show the inside of your livewell to more of us. Just remember – we have a deal!
See The Best Crappie Fillet Knife Here, but remember, you made a deal.
About Bernie Barringer:
Bernie Barringer is a lifelong angler who has competed in professional walleye tournaments. He enjoys fishing for all species and writing about his experiences for many outdoor magazines. The crappie he made the deal with is still swimming somewhere in Minnesota.
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