Angler’s pocket guide to night-fishing for crappie

Once you find a concentration of crappie at night, set up, put out lights to attract bait and clean up on them.

Like any type of modern fishing, the details of your set-up and presentation can often spell the difference between a so-so night and a great night on the water. Follow these tips to help you make the best of your night-fishing trips.

• During the summer, a maximum water depth may not apply, but for night-fishing during the summer months, a minimum of 10 to 12 feet of water is recommended. The best areas will be adjacent to a creek or river channel that has fish holding structure nearby.

• Two light systems will assist in attracting and catching crappie. An ambient light system will help with seeing the rods, baiting hooks and un-hooking fish. Use as minimal light as possible to avoid attracting insects. A submersible lighting system is used to attract baitfish. Green is a popular color, and some models can even be submerged.

• Rod lengths from 6 to 9 feet work best, especially under bridges where overhead clearance might be a problem. Use rods long enough to reach outside the light to catch fish in the shadows. Painted or glow tips will assist in seeing bites.

• Though jigs will also work, live bait typically gets the nod for stationary, vertical fishing. If using store-bought minnows, try to match your baits with the size of the natural bait. Where legal, consider cast netting bait out of the lake to use for night fishing.

• Though crappie may hold below a thermocline, most active feeding will take place in current areas where there is no thermocline, or just above the thermocline. You can determine the depth of the thermocline by increasing the sensitivity on your sonar and looking for a thin horizontal line.

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About Phillip Gentry 763 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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