Most fishermen don’t consider February a prime month because of the cold weather, but a few sunny days can make a big difference, and they have recently for anglers targeting crappie on Badin Lake.
“Right now, a few guys are whacking crappie at Badin,” said guide Maynard Edwards of Lexington, who said the key has been fishing double-dropper rigs with jigs tipped with live minnows in 20 to 25 feet of water.
“Most people who are catching fish are finding ’em in deep creek arms,” said Edwards (336-247-1287). “They’re fishing jigs deep and slow-trolling.”
The surface water temperature has hovered around 42 degrees, but in deep water, it’s a few degrees higher. At that level, baitfish are active, and crappie are following and feeding on them.
“But you don’t just go fishing blind. You’ll need a quality depth finder to mark baitfish and crappie before you put out any jigs,” he said. “Crappie aren’t oriented on brush, shallow or deep. You have to go into a creek and idle around until you mark schools on your depth finder. Then you put your lines down and slow-troll anywhere from .4 to .5 mph.”
One of Edwards’ fishing buddies recently fished at Badin and caught about 50 crappie in a half-day trip, keeping a dozen.
“He never keeps anything less than 10 to 12 inches long, so he had some 1 ½-pounders,” said Edwards, who uses 10-, 11- and 12-foot crappie poles and small spinning reels spooled with 6- or 10-pound monofilament.
“I use the 6-pound line and 10-foot rods to flip piers, but I put 10-pound line on for slow-trolling,” he said, explaining that the heavier line is necessary for tying the double-dropper rigs.
“I like to use tandem rigs with a ¼-ounce jig on the bottom and a 1/8-ounce jig on a dropper above it,” he said.
One of Edwards’ favorite rigs for deep-water crappie is basically a drop-shot with a 1-ounce weight tied to the end of the line and two dropper lines a foot and 2 feet above it.
“That’s why I like the 10-pound line,” he said. “I tie a loop knot and make a loop that’s 4 inches from the main line with a hook at the end where I attach a minnow. The 10-pound line seems to hold droppers away from the main line better because it’s stiffer.”