Cold-water slabfest

Slab crappie like this one are biting this month on Kerr Lake. (Picture by Brian Cope)

Kerr Lake crappie bite all winter

Capt. Chris Bullock of Kerr Lake Crappie and Cats Guide Service fishes Kerr Lake year-round, and he said this month is great for catching absolute slabs on the 50,000-acre lake that sits on the NC/VA border.

Bullock uses two main lures for slabs this time of year. Cotton Cordell Spoons are one. Soft plastic grubs on 1/8-ounce jigheads are the other.

He fishes the lures in a little different manner – aggressively jigging the spoon like a yo-yo, but allowing the plastic grub to hold just above where he’s marking fish on his depthfinder.

“Some days, they will bite both of them equally strong. Other days, they’ll prefer one over the other. And some days, they change their minds on which one they prefer from one hour to the next,” he said.

Bullock prefers his spoons to be silver, but he often paints one side of it. He finds adding some color helps on certain days, especially cloudy, overcast days.

Move your lures slow this month

He finds the crappie by finding brushpiles, using his electronics. The fish can be holding at a wide range of depths in winter, so he said you’ve just got to look until you find concentrations of them.

“With electronics, they aren’t that difficult to find. You’ve just got to ride around looking. I like to toss out a buoy on a spot just to give me that reference point,” he said.

Then he’ll either count down his lure, or pull out his line a certain number of times, depending on how deep the fish are showing.

“A 1/8-ounce jig on 6-pound test line sinks about a foot per second. So if the fish are holding at 22 feet, you can just count to about 22, close the bail on your reel, then slowly reel up,” he said.

And when he says slowly, he means very slowly. He said it’s best to just barely move the reel handle.

Bullock said bridge pilings, and the structure under bridges, are other good spots. Parking your boat under bridges also offers safe haven during rain or the occasional snow flurry, neither of which will slow down the bite.

On a good day, Bullock said anglers can expect to catch up to 75 good-sized crappie this month.

“Of course, every day isn’t like that,” he said.


Looking for another Carolina crappie hot hole? Click here.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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