Tight-line Jordan slabs

Big crappie hang around deep flats and creek-channel edges, especially those with brush, as the water cools on Jordan Lake.

Deep water can be productive in November

Guide Freddie Sinclair said Jordan Lake once again ranks as one of the top crappie lakes in North Carolina, and the most-effective way to get in on the action in November is by tight-line fishing.

Tight-lining employs a vertical presentation with multiple, long poles that place crappie jigs, live minnows or a combination of both in front of crappie lingering in 10 to 20 feet of water.

“When the water temperature drops in November, crappie sense the change and move where there’s an abundance of forage,” said Sinclair (www.sinclairsguideservice.com). “They move to deep flats, creek-channel edges and the backs of pockets. Brush at these places is a bonus.”

Sinclair said productive areas include Farrington Point, the US 64 bridge and the Haw River section of the lake.

For tight-line fishing, Sinclair sets out eight to 12 Southern Crappie rods, 14 to 16 feet long, at various depths. They are paired with Daiwa spinning reels spooled with 6-pound monofilament holding 1/32-ounce crappie jigs tipped with 11/2- to 2-inch live minnows or live bait minus the jigs. The light tackle offsets the clear water that characterizes Jordan in November. If the lake becomes muddy or stained, Sinclair uses 1/16-ounce jigs.

He likes hair jigs, explaining that when tipped with minnows, these jigs lose little of their action. His favorite jig colors in stained water include black, chartreuse, red and pink. He often uses a plain jig in clear water.

For lines rigged exclusively with live bait, he uses a No. 2 Aberdeen hook.

To get the rigs down to the fish, he slides a 1/4-ounce egg sinker about 18 inches above the hook or jig and adjusts the weight of the sinker according to the force of the wind.

“If I have to go to a 3/4-ounce egg sinker, then it’s time to go home,” said Sinclair. “Tight-line fishing isn’t easy in a stiff breeze.”

Sinclair probes shallow water in the morning, then gradually fishes deeper as the day warms. He inches along in his boat trying to keep slack out of his lines.

The wind isn’t the only adversary when tight-line fishing.

“If the day is cloudy, crappie roam around, making them harder to find and catch,” said Sinclair. “Suspended fish also take time to locate, and cold snaps might make the fish change their location. The worse cold snaps always seem to come around Thanksgiving. Then I fish the Haw River.”

Sinclair said Jordan is full of good numbers of 12- to 14-inch crappie. Regulations allow 20 fish per angler with a 10-inch minimum size limit.

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