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Night Fishing for Crappie

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"When fishing for Crappie after dark, there are a few techniques that I have found to be extremely successful."

   I normally use a braided or microfilament line, a #1 size hook and ¼ ounce sinkers with snap swivels or ¼ ounce jigheads.  An absolute necessity for night fishing is a submersible light or a headlamp.  The best light I've come across and highly recommend is the Crappi Candle.  This light attaches to your line above your bait so fish can see your offering like they would at high noon.   The lights is probably the most important things to have if you want to catch fish at night.  Crappie fishing at night is best when you plan your fishing trip around the new moon as opposed to the full moon. 

   The best place to locate the crappie at night if you’re not familiar with the area will be in the shallows around the dock or close to the bank. The more cover, the better.  There you can hang your lights and submersible lights on the dock.  The submersible light helps attract the plankton, and they in turn attract the minnows, which are followed by crappie. Its also the safest place to fish if you're not familiar with the lake. Depending on the area you’re fishing, however, you may actually have to hit the deeper areas of the lake.  Very seldom do I fish deeper than 20 feet at night, because crappie usually move shallower at night to feed. 

   If you’re going to be fishing in deep water, an electronic depth finder will make it easier to locate the Crappie and will cut down the amount of time you actually spend looking for them.  I always depend on my Humminbird 797c2 fish finder at night because it gives me an excellent view of the fish, structure, and the bottom.  Also, the biggest obstacle when night fishing is visibility, and the GPS Chartplotting and built-in UniMap on the Humminbird 797 helps with the navigation at night much safer and easier.  It’s extremely important that you’re fishing in an area that you know well or you may end up getting stuck in shallow water or spending the entire night untangling your line. 

   The most popular techniques for night fishing include slow trolling and vertical fishing.  When fishing at night, be sure to use good quality rod holders.  I use Driftmaster rod holders because they are the strongest I ever bought.  You never know when that big catfish gets a hold of your jig.  On my B'n'M Poles, I spray paint the top 6-8" from the tip with white paint to help me see the bites better at night.

   For baits, I use the same as I would when I fish during the day.  I usually mix dark and bright colored jigs under the lights and this will get the crappie going.  If you see alot of baitfish under the lights, try using minnows.  If you find yourself struggling, just drop a few lines at different depths and let it drift until you find them.

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