Crappie are fall treats for High Rock anglers
Water temperatures at High Rock Lake begin to drop this month, triggering a major movement. Large numbers of crappie begin following and feeding upon bait to fatten up in preparation for winter.
“The fish start following bait and initially head back into the creeks like a spring pattern. Then some will head out to the mouths of creeks and channels,” said Midway’s Shane Walser of Yadkin Lakes Crappie Guides.
The duplicity in this back and forth movement can throw fishermen off stride in their search for crappie. But it wouldn’t be October without some “trick or treat” in the mix.
But Walser ( 336-978-3737) said fishermen can mostly get treated to some excellent crappie fishing if their search includes looking for baitfish and understanding what their electronics are indicating about the forage.
“When I am looking for crappie in conjunction with forage, I am looking for broken and scattered bait on my Garmin units,” he said. “This indicates feeding fish are in the area.”
Conversely, if Walser views large circular balls of bait, he doesn’t fish the area because the crappie are not feeding as much.
“When I starting looking for locations to fish, I will scan three to four creeks before I start fishing unless I see an area where the bait is broken up really well,” said Walser.
With his Garmin unit, he can also opt to try for roaming fish in open water.
Likely crappie haunts in October include Abbotts and Second creeks and Blacks Bottom.
Walser’s crappie tackle consists of a 10-foot Precision Jig Double Cork Handle rod by Catch the Fever. This offers him the choice of casting, pitching or vertical fishing all with the same rod.
Although High Rock is not a clear lake like Badin, Walser still favors light line, using 6-pound Slime Line Super Stretch monofilament with his spinning gear. The forgiving line reduces the chance of having the hook tear out from the paper-thin mouth of a crappie.
He entices crappie bites with jigs and live minnows. He uses Rockport Rattler Jigheads and Smith Brothers plastics in a Monkey Milk color. For live bait, he rigs a No. 4 Aberdeen hook with a 1/16-ounce split shot.
Walser cites October as his favorite month for crappie fishing. It may become your favorite month too if you follow his golden rule: “Find the bait and you will find the fish.”