The crappie fishing has perked up at Lake Wylie with the slightly cooler weather, and guide Jerry Neeley said he’s consistently catching coolers full of hefty crappie.
According to Neeley, the crappie action at Lake Wylie is excellent for both size and numbers, and that he’s enjoying the bite using two totally different tactics.
"We are catching lots of crappie by vertically fishing jigs along bridge abutments as well as finding lots of quality fish around docks with brushpiles," Neeley said. "The depths, of course, will vary with the time of day and amount of light, but fish can be caught throughout the day."
Neeley (704-6787-1043) said fishing bridge abutments is a solid pattern, with most fish being caught about 12 feet deep on a 1/32nd-ounce jig.
"Right now, I'm using a Charlie Fox hair jig and tipping it with a crappie nibble, the nibble being about the size of a BB," he said. "The color of the crappie nipple can vary from a sparkle color to more basic colors, but regardless, it does seem to help this bite. The fishing is vertical, and I am using 4-pound test line, which is important for best results on these fish."
Neeley said the other technique that is also producing really well is fishing docks that have brush around them.
"Through the years, I've learned which docks have brush, and that’s something fishermen can discover with on-the-water experience," Neeley said. "The basic pattern is the fish are actually quite shallow early and late in the day. We're catching them about six feet deep at those times when fishing around the docks and associated brush. During the mid-day time period, the fish go deeper, and we'll be fishing down to 12 feet to find the crappie. The amount of sunlight does have an impact on depth, so cloudy days enable us to usually fish a bit shallower as well."
Neeley said in addition to tight-lining for the crappie using jigs or minnows, he is also “shooting the docks” to get the jig or bait into the cover.
"For this tactic, I am using a 5-foot-5 rod with 4-pound test line," Neeley said. "This short rod enables me to get the lure into small and tight places that are ideal for crappie. There are several different color combination of the jigs that are working, but the jigheads I'm using are typically red, chartreuse and black. The bodies are red and white, chartreuse and white, and if the water is muddy or dingy, I'll use a red and yellow body. I am using the 1/32nd-ounce jigs for this type fishing as well."
Neeley said most of the crappie are good size, with the majority in the 9- to 12-inch class.
"But we're catching the occasional 14- to 15-inch crappie as well," he said. "On a normal day, after culling small ones out, we're bringing back about 40 fish, which is pretty good fishing. Of course, on the really good days, it depends on how many people we have in our fishing party. These patterns are pretty solid right now and should continue for a while."