Moss Lake is giving up some nice-sized crappie, and in big numbers to anglers who don’t mind starting their day early. David Darby of Light Oak said going early and fishing in 12 to 15 feet of water is the trick to catching a limit of crappie before lunchtime. 

“I lived for 40 years right down the road from Moss Lake and never fished it, but I’ve been hearing reports on the crappie fishing for several years now, and decided to finally try it last fall. It was outstanding, and I am starting a little early this year, but I’ve been catching plenty as long as I start early and can keep my baits around brush in 12 to 15 feet of water,” said Darby.

Using jig heads with small minnows has been Darby’s favorite bait, and he’s having the most success when he anchors down and fishes vertically. “I’ve got two ways of fishing. Jigging is one way, and it’s the most successful for me. I start off the day fishing like that,” said Darby, who said he has another, more fun way, of putting slabs in the boat.

“If the bite slows down, or whenever I am getting close to my limit, I like to start fishing with 1/4-ounce Beetlespins,” said Darby. “I catch fewer fish this way, but it is a lot more fun, and I find that I usually catch my bigger fish on these lures.”

When vertically jigging, Darby said this time of year, it’s not important to keep your bait especially close to the submerged brush piles. “You really need a good depthfinder to find those piles, but you don’t have to cast right on top of them. As long as I’m getting my bait within a few feet of the brush piles, I’m having good luck. Later in the year as the water cools, that will change and you’ll have to put your bait right up against the brush, but for now, the crappie are hitting as long as I’m close,” he said.

When casting Beetlespins, Darby said his depthfinder is still just as important. ‘I like to find three or four brush piles that are all around 12 to 15 feet deep and are within casting range of each other,” he said. Darby drops marker buoys at each brush pile, anchors down, then casts to the other side of one brush pile, making sure he gives the lure enough time to sink to the proper depth, makes a retrieve, then makes a similar cast and retrieve around all the other brush piles.

“Your cast-to-catch ratio is lower with the Beetlespins, but it’s more fun, and it also gives you access to several brush piles at once, which you don’t get when fishing vertically,’ said Darby.