Gamefish are chasing juvenile menhaden on the Cooper River.
The crappie bite surprised Capt. Joe Dennis of Capt. J. Hook Charters and his charter anglers last week on the Cooper River, and they’re still biting strong. Dennis said he initially found the slabs somewhat by accident. He’s stayed on them ever since.
“We started off fishing for bream with crickets. But the first couple of fish we caught were crappie,” said Dennis. “I threw the cast net for baitfish then, and caught a bunch of menhaden. So we started fishing with menhaden and the crappie bite was nonstop.”
When it comes to gear for the crappie, Dennis uses a small spinning reel on a medium-light rod, 6-pound test Slime Line monofilament, a 2-inch Betts Mr. Crappie slip cork, and a Rockport Rattler jig. He baits the jig with menhaden about the size of his middle finger.
“Those juvenile menhaden are making their way up the Cooper River right now. You can throw a cast net and catch several dozen at a time,” he said.
Deep holes with structure are fish magnets
He’s finding lots of crappie on his electronics around the mouths of rice fields along the river. He marks the depth they’re holding, then sets the slip knot for his cork at that depth.
“The crappie are staying pretty deep in the river right now. I’ve been catching a lot of them in about 10 to 25 feet of water. They are real spooky too, so once you mark them with your electronics, you need to back off of them a good distance and cast to them,” he said.
Most of these deep holes contain some type of structure, he said. Downed trees are crappie magnets. Deep water docks on the river are also good places to find crappie right now.
While fishing for crappie, Dennis (843-245-3762) said anglers also see schools of largemouth bass throughout the day.
“You can see those schools heading your way pretty consistently throughout each day. When we see that we will adjust our slip corks shallow and cast into those schools. They’ll also bite topwater lures. The bass are attacking those same schools of menhaden, so they’re quick to bite,” he said.
Speaking of crappie, click here for one of the craziest stories we’ve ever written about the species.
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