The frequent cold fronts that wash over North Carolina in late February and through March can cause crappie to halt their progression toward the shallows, sink deep into brush or other cover and be hard to catch. 

Tom Mundy of Fish Stalker Lures in Laurens, S.C.,doesn’t sweat tight-lipped crappie. He simply turns to a finesse-type tactic.

 Bridges, boat docks, brush piles — it doesn’t matter,” Mundy said. “This time of year, it’s all about the art of finesse. I use a small bait, light line, an extremely sensitive rod and I fish straight down to the fish. Put it right on his nose, and he’ll hit it.” 

Mundy stumbled on the pattern when doing some field research for a soft-plastic bait he was considering marketing. 

“I wanted a small bait that could be used finesse style, similar to methods bass anglers used,” he said. “I also found that finesse fishing for crappie meant fishing deep into cover that crappie favored: brush piles, logs and other woody debris.”

The trick was that the tip of the rod he was using was quivering as he reeled. Mundy uses super ultralight rods that incorporate a tip so fast that it is impossible to hold still — except when a crappie bites. He’s watching for the rod tip to stop quivering, the result of a crappie gently inhaling the bait. With his tactics, Mundy is out to redefine the meaning of “finesse.”