Many anglers who consistently fish certain areas, prepare their own
specific fishing areas by building their own crappie beds, and if you build them, they will come...
Still, if you do not have the time or inclination to build crappie beds, or if you fish different areas and that makes building
a crappie bed impractical, just look for the ones that nature builds!
There are many ways to build
crappie beds, but perhaps the easiest, at least for temporary, short term use, is to simply submerge some brush. Tree limbs,
left over lumber, etc. work well. Bait the area with some type of fabric
sacking such as a gunny sack or, as my parents called them, toe sack filled with dry dog food or cotton
seed meal. The reason for this is that bait fish such as minnows and other little fish are attracted to the free meal when
bits seep through the fabric. The real bonus is that where you find bait fish, you will find the crappie.
Once you have located a crappie bed, there are some things you need to be aware of in order to maximize your potential catch.
The best hooks to use are either number 1 or number 2 brass hooks. The reason brass hooks are better are because brass hooks
bend easily. If the hook gets caught up in the brush, it will bend so that you can reel it in rather than breaking your line
and having to rehook.
If you are in a position where you can put your boat directly over the crappie
bed, do so. If you can not, you will need to fish using a bobber, and just cast your like right into the areas in which you
suspect your target lies.
The trickiest part is finding the depth at which the crappie are suspended.
Once you find this sweet spot, you should be able to sit there all day long and reel in slab after slab.
If you are right over the bed, try attaching a little lead sinker about a foot to a foot and a half above your hook, and let
it fall down to your target depth. Just change depths until you find the area the crappie are hanging, and it should hold
while you catch your limit. Consider using a small buoy marker to help keep track of your spot as you drift, and remember
that if you are unsure of where to find the crappie, cast in all direction, just retrieve your line slowly and stop pretty
often until you hit on the area for which you are looking.
Remember that crappie are social fish.
They pretty much hang out together, and if you have fished in a particular area for several minutes without a bite, you probably
should move on to another area, but once you have gotten a bite, chances are you will get another. Once you put your bait
in the water, ten or fifteen minutes is plenty of time to wait for a bite before moving on. April is a prime month, and minnows
are generally the preferred bait for crappie fishing, but you can also try lures of various types.