With the constantly changing weather patterns, crappie are wherever you find them. At High Rock Lake, small crappie are scattered around piers. At Badin Lake, quality crappie are in water as deep as 27 feet.

Last Saturday, Jonathan Seamon of China Grove tried his luck for crappie at High Rock Lake with moderate success.

“The fish were biting fairly good before the rain on Friday, but today the bite slowed, and most of the fish were small,” said Seamon, who caught around 40 crappie, but only half measured up to the 10-inch size minimum, and out of that, only about 10 were worth a trip to the frying pan.

Seamon said few anglers are having any success trolling for crappie at the lake.

“I saw just one or two boats slow-trolling for crappie today,” said Seamon. “Two weeks ago, a good number of anglers were slow-trolling, but they didn’t have muck luck. The anglers catching the most crappie are the ones shooting docks with small jigs.”

Seamon was shooting docks with 1/32-ounce jigs and retrieving the baits slowly.

“When I sensed the jig was near the bottom, I reeled it back slowly, sometimes feeling it nick the bottom,” he said. “Most of the bites came from under the walkways of docks in seven feet of water or less.”

“Shooting docks” requires using a bow-and-arrow cast with ultra-light gear and 4- to 6-pound line. Hold the jig in one hand and pull it until the jig is positioned between the reel and the last rod guide; hold the reel in the other hand and don’t let line peel off the reel until the jig is released. The jig will be propelled to inner recesses of docks that can’t be reached any other way. 

Seamon believes this past weekend’s cold weather should help crappie fishermen. The cooler water temperatures should prompt the fish to move to the shallows, but only the smaller fish seemed to have moved.

“What we need to trigger the bite is consistent weather instead of all these fronts that keep moving in and out,” said Seamon. “The fish keep moving, and fishermen can’t keep up with them.”

The crappie bite is much better at Badin Lake if fishermen are willing to fish deep.

“One of my fishing buddies, Travis Williams of Salisbury, has been catching slab-sized crappie at Badin for the past couple of weeks,” said Seamon. “He’s been finding them as deep as 27 feet.”