Crappie fishing is almost an art. Many tricks and lots of preparations must be made by the anglers in order to have a good day’s catch every season. Catching these fish is up to the right choice of rod, hook, reel, and line, aside to a superb ability of whoever will be doing the fishing.
But, how to catch crappies? Learn its habits, when they eat, where they live, right timing and bait, will relief a great burden off the anglers’ shoulders when it comes to catching these fish.
Read along and learn all there is to know how to catch big fat crappies, prepare the best equipment, and tricks that will make you an expert in no time.
What is a crappie?
- 1 What is a crappie?
- 2 What does a crappie look like?
- 3 Different names for crappies
- 4 Where can crappies be found?
- 5 Habitat and routine to help the fishing
- 6 The early bird gets the worm
- 7 Best time of the year to fish for Crappie
- 8 Preparations for a big catch
- 9 How to catch the crappies
- 10 Tips for better success rate at fishing crappie
- 11 Crappie Fishing World Records
Crappies are fish native from North America that live in freshwater. There are two types, the black, and the white crappies.
White crappies vs. Black crappie
What does a crappie look like?
The white crappies are also known as silver perch and Goldring. These fish have a silvery color with a green or brown shade along its body. On the lateral you can see black lines and they also have a white belly.
The main difference with the black crappie aside from color is in the position of the fins. The white crappie has six fins while the black develops at least 2 or 3 more. Also, the dorsal fin on the silverfish begins further in the back as that of its darker counterpart.
White crappies are also longer than the black kind.
As mentioned above the black crappie is very similar to the white fish in shape and size. However, it has a pattern of black spots unlike the silvery color of the other fish.
Finally, the white and black crappies are very similar fish from the same family with very few distinctions between themselves.
Different names for crappies
Crappies are named differently depending on the place, and it usually refers to their color or a characteristic of them. The following are various names by which crappie fish are called:
- Black Crappie
- White Crappie
- Bachelor Perch
- Speckled Perch
- Calico Bass
- Oswego Bass
- Strawberry Bass
- Dirty Sunfish
Where can crappies be found?
Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River Banks are considered the native places of the white crappie. The fish trajectory expands from the south part of Texas passing by the southwest of Dakota, to New York and southern Ontario.
This species of fish has a large and stable population, and it’s distributed all over the United States.
Habitat and routine to help the fishing
Clearwater is the primary requirement for crappies to be prosperous. That is why they live mostly on lakes, reservoirs, navigation pools found in big rivers and borrow pits.
If these places as mentioned above have no current or a very slow one, they will be the perfect environment for crappie fish.
A good plus is muddy bottoms of lakes or ponds and lots of covers, such as aquatic vegetation.
Crappies eat in the early morning and from midnight until 2 a.m
Crappies feeding depends on its size, the small ones up to 16 cm eat mainly plankton and tiny crustaceans. However, these small ones are not a desirable catch. Usually a full size, large crappie would eat insects, shrimp, and fish such as shad and minnows.
The white crappies tend to eat more fish than its black counterpart. But, the darker fish instead eat more crustacean and insects.
The early bird gets the worm
Like any animal of prey, the time they are most vulnerable is indeed while they are distracted feeding. That is why the early morning or dusk is the absolute best time to fish crappie.
Of course, from midnight to 2 am at their second feeding time would be an excellent fishing time, yet for some people, it could be a bit inconvenient. It is highly recommended to start an early day than be out late at night.
Best time of the year to fish for Crappie
Starting in the middle of winter until the beginning of spring is the best time to catch crappie. On those season of the year, the lakes and fresh-water places the fish lives in get swarmed with mature specimens after the birthing time.
Preparations for a big catch
How to choose the rod
A longer rod will give you more casting range, so always try to pick one a few feet bigger than your own height. We recommend a graphite rod, that way you can feel the simplest touch or pull.
There are different pulling speeds for rods; they can be very fast and fast, which are very stiff, medium, medium speed rods are medium stiff and slow speed ones, extremely malleable. For crappie fishing, the best one is the medium speed one, as you have fewer chances of pulling the jig out of the fish mouth.
How to choose the line and reel
Many anglers have experimented with many types of reels and lines. After many tests, the best ones to get selected have been the braided lines, versus the monofilament ones, as they have less casting memory. Therefore it allows a broader range.
As for the type of thickness, even if many choose the heavy lines, lighter is highly recommended. Of course, this means you must have the perfect rod for the task and a great deal of skill. But, the amount you can catch is staggering.
Since you will be using most likely a light reel, choose as a proper company a large diameter spool reel, as the line tends to tangle, it will end up being very positive for your fishing. Also, a lightweight or ultralight reel design for clear water is the most desired type.
Choosing the hook
Crappies are fish with a large mouth and thinking you will go with the best bait; we will recommend the hook that can do the most exceptional work.
If you were to use minnows as bait, which is as mentioned above the preferred choice of food by crappies, then you must choose thin wire hook from number 1 to 4, depending on the size of the minnow, the larger the bait fish, the bigger the number of hooks
Bait for crappie
Since you will be fishing on the eating time of crappie, if you get him his favorite meals will make your hook very popular. That is why minnows are the top choice, however, they might not be readily available or you won’t want to go to the trouble of buying it.
If that is the case, you can either get worms and similar or get a soft type of bait. They can be stored for a long time, which means you don’t need to waste in one fishing trip.
Fish finders, good choice?
Fish finders are undoubtedly helpful when fishing crappie, mainly because the fish like to swim around the muddy areas of lakes. Theses finders can spot any fish and the catch will for sure result in a smooth ride.
However, it’s not only expensive, but it also takes a bit of the thrill of the hunt, and the excitement on the size of the fish you will get.
Be it your own choice whether a fish finder is a good choice or not.
How to catch the crappies
Crappies are the best catch on the early morning as the sun begins to rose, mainly because when the water starts to warm up they tend to swim closer to shallow water.
Even in shallow water, they prefer swimming on the bottom, that is why it is recommended to bounce the jig off the bottom so that you can lure the fish into the bait with a higher success rate.
Be sure to know the mating season. As the best time is before the eggs hatched, called pre-spawning, and the spawning time. In the first one they are active and looking for food, on the second they are more cautious and will retrieve to the nest if any significant disturbance occurs.
However, after the spawning time catching them is almost impossible and a few weeks must be given in order to let the fish rest.
Tips for better success rate at fishing crappie
Crappie’s mouths are very delicate. That is why beware of your hook, if it’s too strong it will rip through every time, and you will hardly get any catch. A tough, fast pull can have the same effect, be patient and consistent when reeling.
Maintaining the reel steady and tight, this will lessen the chances that the fish goes away once hooked.
The crappies are highly sensitive to deepness, that is why before getting frustrated and thinking your bait doesn’t work, try and move around the area checking for different depth in the water.
We have mentioned it before, but lightweight lines and hooks can save your fishing season. It will be more easy to loosen up if stuck somewhere and if needed to cut off, you won’t be losing any major gear in the process.
Abide by the fishing rules of the area you plan on doing your fishing trip. Some places don’t allow more than one rod at a time or have a limitation on the amount. Don’t let your day gets ruined by minor things.
Crappie Fishing World Records
The most recent World Record belongs to Jam Ferguson, who caught a Black Crappie weighing 5 pounds. It was on the State of Tennessee in Paint Rock on the 16th of May of 2018.
This record out-shaded a previous catch of another crappie that weighed 4 pounds with 4 ounces on the year of 1985.
Theses fishes undergo a DNA testing to verify they grew up naturally, and of course, it passed with flying colors.
We can be sure to say that crappie is a widely popular fish to catch, maybe due to its large population. Many anglers set on long trips trying to get full of pounds crappie. It takes a lot of finesse and experience to catch full sized crappie.
Many things must be taken into account to prepare to catch lots of big juicy crappies. From picking the right rod, to accompany it with the appropriate reel, line, and hook. After the right choice of equipment is done it’s up to learning the crappies habits and the ability of the angler to make a good catch.
Follow our advice, go out and fish the big crappie of your dreams. Who knows, the next World Record could be yours.