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Spring Tactics You Should Know

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"Spring is here, birds are chirping, out of the woodwork the amateur and the professionals start chasing the freshwater fish."

  Spring fishing will not be the same in one area vs. across the U.S.  Find what is working in your area by local DNR or through fishing forums in your state.  The window of opportunity in the spring spawning is narrow, so make the most of it.  About May is when the water temperature reaches 58-68 degrees.  During this period of time in May, you will have many plates full of crappie and lots of memories.

  Veteran anglers will go earlier in the spring and search the deeper waters, then as spring progresses they follow them right up to the spawning beds.  Typically, these fish are deep enough for anglers to set up directly over them and drop jigs or minnows to the fish.  Vertical fishing, when done properly, allows you to find crappie, or at least find cover thats likely to hold fish and present offerings very precisely.  With this method, they increase their spring catches by 50%.

  In the spring when the water temperature is on the move upward along with the length of the day, males will come to build their nest.  You will be able to also catch females, but you will find your stringer will have more males on it.

> Small lakes and/or ponds, search coves or dams of the smaller lakes.
> Channel ledges
> Major creeks in pockets near bodies of lakes
> Reservoirs
> Submerged structures, ground trees, & bushes.

Two Feet Too Deep
  Two feet can make a difference on you getting your share of crappie.  They tend to be approximately in the same depth.  No matter what type of fishing you are doing for example: vertical, trolling, or jig & float...the key is to find the depth they are at.  Crappies are a lazy bunch and will not work that hard to find you, so you have to find them.  One of the keys is to find the big groups of shad which could be around 12 feet deep, you will find the crappie are at the same depth.

Stripping Made Simple
  Once you have found their depth, if it be in deep waters or spawning beds, is to always get your bait back to the same depth.  Start by letting your bait at water level, then strip your line out one foot at a time to the depth you are seeking.  Then mark your line with a black marker, that way one can go back to the same depth time after time.  With bobber set-ups, all you need to do is adjust them to the right depth.

Double Up
  Use two hooks (jigs and/or minnows) to be more effective.  By offering second bait, you are covering more underground water increasing your catch by 50%.  Also keep in mind to use two different colors of jigs.  Another idea is to tip one jig with a partial minnow, and another jig without a minnow, jig and minnow method.  Try and use small jig and one large jig to see what their taste is today.  Tomorrow their taste & depth could be different, but start out with what you were doing successfully yesterday.

Anchoring & Buoys
  DO NOT anchor over the top of brush piles, would you like it if someone else invade your space.  Key to stay away from their area, by using longer poles to reach into their habitat.  Forget the anchor if possible, as anchors tend to spook the fish.  If you have to use the anchor, stay as far away as possible and lower ever super slow off the front of your boat facing into the wind.  Better way is to use a floating marker which can be purchased for a low price.  If you have a trolling motor, face your boat into the wind, thereby making the boat almost at complete standstill.

Too Much
  Crappie does not like go-go dancers (jigs) that do alot of dancing.  Slow dancing down like when you were dating is the best to entice them to hit your jig.  Once in a while do gentle twitch by lifting the rod tip up, better yet that is why they make rod holders.  The movement of the boat will assist in the movement of the jig.  Early spring tube-style or paddle-tailed grubs work better in the spring as there is not that much wiggle.

Last, But Not Least
  Crappie tend to inhale their food, so therefore you will not see much action on your float or line.  Anglers when they know they have a crappie, do not try to reel as the first method, instead lift the tip of your pole to set the hook without tearing the hook out of their paper mouths.

Author: Bob Spare.  Bob is a fishing researcher and enthusiast, and has authored "Crappie Basics", 1st & 2nd Edition.  Also, he has teamed up with crappie pro Mike Carter to co-author a new hot-selling eBook, "Fishin4Crappie Beyond Basics" for beginners and professional crappie anglers. 

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