Crappie Bite Responds This Week While Pulling Crankbaits
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on April 13, 2021
Hello from the Excel Storm Cat 230.
I get a lot of snide comments like "why don’t you get a bigger boat" or "do you think your boat is big enough?"
This past week I have been proud of every one of the 23 feet. The wind has made my life miserable at times and I’ve fished in some conditions I would never have considered in any of the many boats I have owned. Wind, rain, you name it, we’ve had it. At least the water conditions are getting better and the trash is a distant memory.
Now we get to put up with all the tree pollen and the items falling out of the trees, especially oak trees, related to pollination. You know the pollen is bad when it shows up on the Helix 12 screen from top to bottom as a cloudy effect. If the crappie are effected, I haven’t noticed.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. That’s been my spring up until this week in a nutshell. I was trying every tactic out there except the one I have the most confidence in and the one I can get every client in my boat involved in at the same time---pulling crankbaits.
Pulling cranks for crappie has always been thought of as a tactic for the times after the spawn when the surface temps are well up into the 70s and even 80s. I guess I didn’t get the memo. I was working my butt off, trying everything BUT pulling cranks. With a crowded boat and lots of wind, the cranks were a logical choice. Great choice!
For several years I have prided myself in many of my clients catching the largest crappie of their lives on my boat. That record is intact. Several the past week have caught their personal best crappie on cranks.
I’m pulling Pico INTs with K9 Hi-Viz Fluorocarbon 12-pound test line. I have always feared braid line because if you do hang a bait up on it, it is nearly impossible to break and one can get cut badly from braid line.
Let me tell you, this K9 flourocarbon is almost impossible to break and we have pulled loose a large percentage of baits we have hung up. Kelly and the crew at K9 came on as a sponsor recently and I absolutely love their line. Colors for the cranks has been all over the spectrum but you will do well to pull cranks with pink or red on them. Orange has done well also.
Picos can be found at several area bait shops including Fast Eddies, HiTec Outdoors, and KY Lake Outdoors. Benson’s in Murray also has a good selection. K9 line is available at many of the same stores.
My fish are coming from 12 feet deep to 25 feet deep. Close to cover and out in the open. Along drops and ledges and on large flats. In other words, all over the place.
As the big females soak up the warming water temperatures, they seem to be just roaming around, waiting for spawning conditions to get just right. I pray every day that the water levels will stay stable for the spawn this year.
Many of the black crappie we have caught have been on steep rocky banks that are probably warmer, closer to the temperature the black crappie prefer.
Another surprise this week has been the appearance of two nice flathead catfish smacking our Pico cranks. The largest of the two was about 12 pounds on Sunday. It took a 5-minute fight that showed how strong my Southern Crappie Rods 14 foot poles really are. It was an impressive sight to see the pole bent double and taking the fight out of the flathead.
The lake looks like it may be stable around 358 for a few days as the discharge at the dam slows down. Lessening current will make the crappie more comfortable to seek shallow cover for the spawn. I got some reports today of good catches in as little as 3 feet of water around stakebeds and laydown trees on minnows.
From the numbers of boats I see spider rigging, that must be somewhat productive, too. Wind and surface trash have made longline trolling jigs really tough.
You won’t catch a thing on the couch. Spring is here in case you haven’t looked out the window for a while. Get out there in some of the most enjoyable weather we have seen in quite a while.
Be careful out there! Wear those PFDs. Be aware that there is a new rule that your boat must have a kill switch and it must be connected to your person any time your boat speed is above trolling speeds. Check the forecast for wind speed and direction. I’ve always said weathermen are the only vocation that are wrong 90% of the time and still employed. Sunday would have gotten a bunch of weathermen fired.
I thank all of you who take the time to speak and let me know you read my reports and have seen the videos we have done recently. I hope things work out soon and the weather stabilizes so we can film some new videos. Good fishing and be safe!
Welcome to our slice of Heaven!!