The migration to the shallows for Lake Moultrie crappie has begun and slab crappies are being caught in skinny water. According to guide Chris Orvin of Moncks Corner, crappie are being caught in depths ranging from two to six feet, and some of them are roe-laden slabs.
“The excellent fishing occurred almost overnight,” Orvin said. “I went two straight days about a week-and-a-half ago and caught very few and fished all depths. A couple days ago, I went again and caught 48 slabs in five feet of water in only three hours. As a test, I went the very next day, and the fishing was perhaps even better. The shallow-water crappie fishing is hot right now.”
Orvin (843-509-2306) is using different techniques to catch the crappie, depending on the actual stage of their movement.
“The key to success, whether I am fishing the Hatchery, Bonneau or the Blacks Camp area, is the same,” Orvin said. “I find the main ditch that leads from the deeper water and work along that deeper channel. Specifically, I am targeting the green gator grass, but the eel grass and most of the weedline grass species and shallow brush are productive.
“The consistent factor is the cover needs to be adjacent to the slightly deeper ditch. This pattern is on fire right now and will remain that way probably for the next two-to-three weeks. But it will still be productive for most of the month of March but will taper down from the peak.”
Orvin said he is using a spider-rig set-up of multiple 12-foot rods with 4-pound line, and he fishes the slightly deeper ditch that the fish are using to move into the area.
“This is very productive right now, and some big fish as well as moderate-sized fish will be caught with the spider rig,” Orvin said. “But what I prefer to do, and it is beginning to occur now, is to cast a small jig to the edge of the grassline and work it along the grass edges and back into pockets and openings. This is where you’ll catch some huge crappie, some in the 3-pound class. Fishermen can catch these crappie using minnows, but I just prefer jigs. But both methods will produce crappie, it’s a matter of preference.
Orvin said he will take a 12-foot, light-action rig and drop a jig back in openings and holes back in the scattered grass patches, then just jiggle it to hook some slab crappie.
“On all my rigs, I use 4-pound test line and either a 1/16- or 1/32-ounce jighead,” he said. “If a cold front passes through, I may drop back to a 1/64-ounce jighead. My grubs will be either tube or curly tail varieties and are 1½ inches long. Sometimes, I bite the plastic off to shorten it if I need a smaller lure. I have found the bright-colored plastics best with pink with chartreuse tail, purple with chartreuse tail or all chartreuse as my go-to colors. Usually one or any of these three will produce on any given day.”