Springtime means slab crappie on Jordan Lake
The month of April at Jordan Lake gives crappie anglers a unique and excellent opportunity to load their boat with slabs. With a multitude of fish already on the spawning flats and the last waves to come, anglers can target fish moving to the spawning flats as well as those leaving. Tournament angler Freddie Sinclair of Clayton, NC will be there pulling a longline spread of jigs and minnows through the traffic.
“I’ll be fishing in 12 feet of water down to 2 feet of water,” said Sinclair. “In April, I’ll start about midway of the spawning coves, trolling the creek channel that leads back to the spawning flat. I like to longline troll this time of year because the water temperature is up. And I can cover water faster than tight-lining. I’m able to troll anywhere from 0.5 to 1.0 mph, depending on how deep the fish are and how aggressive.”
The spawning coves that Sinclair trolls are not necessarily miles back in major creek arms as one might think. Most are off the main lake area and look to be little more than indentations when viewed on a map or GPS screen. But according to Sinclair, most of these will have a small feeder creek and channel that crappie use for transportation. This channel leading out to the main lake is where he focuses.
Mix it up
If I’m fishing in 12-foot of water and see on my sonar that fish are staged up in the top of the water column to about 5 feet down, I’ll long-line troll with 1/48-ounce jigheads,” said Sinclair. “If they are closer to the bottom, I’ll pull 1/32-ounce jigheads. I like to mix up artificials and live minnows. The minnows will go on hair jigs. And sometimes I’ll put one on a plain hook with a split shot in front. The rest will be curly tail grubs without minnows. I let the water clarity dictate the color of those. If the water is stained or muddy, I’ll use black, pink, chartreuse, or orange. If it’s clear to stained, I’ll use red, blue, ice blue, or chartreuse.
Sinclair most often chooses the coves he trolls from years of experience. But he said anglers new to the lake can find likely coves by studying a topography map for coves with expansive shallow flats in the back that are suitable for spawning. He prefers to fish from the middle of the lake to the north end in April.