Crappie are feeding up on Jordan Lake
As September’s summer-fall indecision erodes into the unmistakably fall-like feeling of October, the crappie in North Carolina’s Jordan Lake will breathe a sigh of relief as they fall in line with the shad leaving the main lake and filling the creeks. Guide Freddie Sinclair of Clayton, N.C., is plumbing the depths with a tight-line spread featuring a crappie fisherman’s best friend — minnows.
“The nights are getting cooler, the water temperature is cooling down, and the daylight hours are getting shorter,” said Sinclair, of Sinclair’s Guide Service. “The crappie are starting to feed up a little heavy, concentrating on fattening up for the winter. We will catch some fish shallow — following the shad into the backs of the coves. But the majority of fish will be in the deeper creek channels.”
Sinclair (919-219-2804) prefers creeks on the upper end of Jordan in October. He said the area around the US 64 bridge at mid-lake doesn’t turn on until November. And he reserves the lower end for lower temperatures. He finds the 16- to 22-foot depth range the most profitable. But he catches fish much shallower in the early morning. Starting in the mouth of a creek, Sinclair hawks his sonar as he follows the channel, hoping for a promising return. If a crappie’s markings are absent — that’s okay — he’s looking for baitfish just as much. Once you find the bait, you’ll find the crappie.
Fish vertically along creek mouths
“The mouths of the coves in the creek channel are good places to concentrate,” Sinclair said. “I like to vertically tight-line over these areas. A slower presentation is what I like to do — anything from sitting still to a half-mile an hour at the most. I still use artificial bait, but I use a lot of live bait at this time. A No. 2 gold or red hook tipped with a minnow or a 1/32- to 1/16-ounce jighead tipped with a minnow. If the water is stained or muddy, I like black, orange, chartreuse or pink jigheads. If it’s clear to stained, chartreuse or red work good.”
To fish vertically and/or offset windy conditions, Sinclair hangs a ¼- to a ¾-ounce egg sinker 14 to 16 inches above the bait, resting on a barrel swivel. In tournament situations, he ties a dropper loop 12 inches above the sinker and attaches a second hook and minnow. Sinclair runs a spider rig of eight rods from the bow, using rods from 14 to 16 feet long.