Catching crappie with electronics
Long-lining, or spider rigging as it’s also called, is one of the most productive tactics for catching crappie this month. But for Capt. Shane Walser of Yadkin Lakes Crappie Guides, nothing beats using Live Scope to target slabs.
It’s a fairly new technique for many anglers, but Walser has been doing it for years. Using electronics with the Live Scope technology, anglers can see and identify schools of fish below the surface. They can even watch their lure fall to the fish, and see the fish react to the lure.
Sometimes, anglers see the bite on their screen before they feel the fish on their line.
“It’s a game changer,” said Walser. “Especially when the trolling bite is tough, or when you want to really target the biggest fish in a school, Live Scope is the way to go,” he said.
With Badin Lake’s crappie getting ready for the spawn, they are feeding heavily, packing on the pounds while they prepare for the physical stress brought on every year by the spawn.
“One good thing about fishing this time of year is the fish will feed throughout the day. It’s not like summer when you’ll usually find the best bite is for a short period of time, very early in the day. This time of year, crappie are constantly feeding,” he said.
Walser rides around, watching for schools of baitfish on his electronics. When he finds them, he’ll often see crappie hanging out just below the baitfish. Sometimes the slabs are hugging tight to the bottom, and they won’t show up immediately. But as long as a school of baitfish is present, he said crappie are usually close by.
While watching his Live Scope screen, he likes to use just one rod. He’ll drop a Smith Bros jig, sometimes tipped with a minnow, so that it falls beside the baitfish school. If he sees a slab, he’ll direct his jig to fall in its line of sight. He uses a Catch the Fever Precision Jig rod with a fighting butt. It resembles a fly rod, and the unique handle allows him to really direct his jig where he wants it to go.
“Being able to watch the jig, and the way the fish reacts to it, is a big part of the fun. Being able to see the fish move toward your bait, then to see it actually bite it – it’s as exciting as catching bass on topwater lures,” he said.
It’s not always as easy as it sounds. Walser said sometimes the crappie simply have lockjaw when you find them.
“In one way, Live Scope can get you into trouble, because you’re seeing the fish. You know they are there and that always makes it tough to leave. But sometimes you can drop that jig right beside them over and over and they won’t touch it,” he said.
That’s when Walser said anglers should leave that hole and find another.
“Right now, you’ll find plenty of fish willing to bite at any given time. When one school seems shut down, just find another school and come back to that one later in the day,” he said.
Walser said as long as you’re watching your electronics while slowly cruising through creek mouths, into the main lake and along ledges, you’ll find schools of baitfish this month. And where you find baitfish, you’ll find crappie.