Take a shot at Wylie’s early winter crappie

boat dock crappie
Former national champion crappie fisherman Mike Parrott sets his sights on boat docks for catching some slab crappie at Lake Wylie on the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

Boat docks are great place to ‘sight in’ for slabs

Seasonal patterns dictate the movements of crappie, no matter which lake you are fishing. However, on many clear lakes such as Lake Wylie on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, crappie movements may be more vertical than horizontal as the seasons change.

Mike Parrott is a tournament fisherman and past national crappie-fishing champion. He said that a particular segment of Lake Wylie crappie takes up year-round residence around larger residential and commercial boat docks.

“Everything these fish need can be found around these big docks: depth, food and cover,” said Parrott. “I think these fish even spawn under these docks. All they have to do is move from shallower to deeper as the weather dictates.”

In order to target crappie that hide under the boats and floats that make up a large boat dock, Parrott employs the tactic of “shooting.” In one hand, he holds the bait, typically a small crappie jig. He holds the line tight to the spool of a spinning reel with the other.

“It takes a bit of practice,” said Parrott. “You bend the rod over and hold the jig between your thumb and forefinger under the reel. Release the jig and simultaneously release the line. This sling shots the bait forward, parallel to the water, causing it to skip up under the boat or dock or whatever you’re shooting at.”

Winter time on Wylie means a very light bite. So Parrott uses 4-pound test line and a 1/64-ounce jig. Parrott allows the jig to free-fall after the shot. Then he intently watches the line for the slightest tick, movement, or simply piling up on the surface. That shows a fish has inhaled the jig.


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About Phillip Gentry 782 Articles
Phillip Gentry of Greenville, S.C., is host of “Upstate Outdoors,” a weekly radio show that can be heard on Saturdays at noon on WORD 106.3 FM.

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