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How to Catch Big Crappie

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"Before you head out to find that 'wall-hanger', you may want to consider what you call a 'Big One'."

   Since most Crappie tend to weigh under 1 pounds, anything bigger is usually considered a "slab".  If you’re looking for something over 2 pounds, which for most fishermen would definitely be considered a trophy, the most important factor to consider is "WHERE" to fish for them.  

   There are many lakes and reservoirs throughout the country that have regulations and size limits that will encourage larger crappie populations.  To find out where these are, you’re going to have to do a little research.  You’ll want to start by contacting the Fish & Wildlife Agencies in your home state, or another state where you are willing to travel.  Try searching on the internet for information on areas where large crappies have been caught previously.  All the information you need to find some big crappie is right here on the CrappieFishingUSA website in the Fishing Resources Page.  There is where you can find the State Fish & Wildlife Agencies, best times to fish, lake maps, and crappie records that shows you where those big crappies was caught.  Also, check out the "Great Crappie Trips You Should Take" article for lakes that has LOTS of big crappie.  Other things to consider is to avoid over-populated lakes and rivers.  Quite often, the largest crappie are caught in wildlife management areas or refuges, private ponds and national forests where there is less fishing pressure.  

   When you’ve found the area you want to fish, concentrate on the underwater spots that are isolated and away from visible cover where most anglers will usually fish at, such as underwater stumps and treetops.  For better results, find these isolated cover near deeper water, where crappie can simply move deeper when feel threatened.  Most often, you will find bigger crappie hanging on a single cover than the area that has several of them.  They don’t usually hang out with the small ones, so if you're pulling in a lot of smaller fish, turn and fish the other side of the boat where it is deeper or move to another location. 

   Experimenting with various lures & baits, and how you’re presenting them could yield a larger catch.  Fish become somewhat used to the norm and tossing in something a little different other than what everyone else is using just might be the trigger that will land the big fish.  Using bigger baits will help catch more bigger crappie and less smaller ones.  Here are a few baits proven to pull in larger crappie:  crankbaits, small spinnerbaits, use bigger shiners instead of minnows, and 2" or 2 1/2"  tube jigs.   Using sinking and/or diving crank baits in the midsummer, fall and winter will work best on suspended crappie in deep water.

   Other points to ponder:  1.) When the bigger crappie gets stubborn, try fishing in shallower water.  2.) Always use a landing net.  3.) When fighting the fish, don't play the fish too long and too hard. Keep the line tight.  They're called "paper-mouth" for a reason. 4.) Keep hooks sharp and check lines often.  A dull hook or frayed line will add more "The Big Fish That Got Away" stories.

   When you catch a Big 'Un, send us your picture and info and we will be happy to post them on this website!

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