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How To Catch Crappie by Trolling

Trolling Will Help You Catch Crappie


Ronnie Garrison With Crappie

I caught this 13 ounce crappie in my pond on a jig.

2006 Ronnie Garrison licensed to About.com
One Sunday at Lake Sinclair a couple of years ago the bass kept their mouths closed but the crappie were hungry. While fishing a club tournament, I watched a boat of fishermen catching crappie in Island Creek. I should have joined them!

Several years ago, I watched the same thing happen the first weekend in February. The wind was blowing from west to east, right down Brushy Creek. Before lunch, the wind was light enough to allow fishermen to drift jigs and minnows at the right speed, using the trolling motor to keep the boat lined up and straight.

At about 8:30 that morning, the first boat I saw drifted by the point I was fishing. I asked if they were biting and the fisherman in the front of the boat shook his head no. At about that time, he took a rod out of a holder at his foot and reeled in a hand sized crappie. Before he could get it unhooked, his partner in the back of the boat was reeling one in. They caught a third crappie before getting all the baits back in the water.

Several boats drifted by, all catching two or three crappie off that point. When I backed off the bank, there were shad five feet down and I could see bigger fish scattered under them on my depthfinder. They were holding over 25 to 30 feet of water, down about 12 feet deep. The water was heavily stained in Brushy Creek, but it was clear compared to the red mud on the main lake. The water is in much the same condition much of most winters all over Georgia.

I wondered why the fishermen didn't circle and come back over the point since they were all catching crappie there. I found out why when I watched one boat until it went out of sight. The fishermen in it pulled in a crappie every few minutes until they went around the next point. There were a lot of fish on the point I was fishing, but they were also scattered all down the south bank of the creek. The fishermen did not need to circle, they were catching fish everywhere!

After lunch that Sunday, the wind was so strong that it would blow a boat too fast to get the jigs down the right depth. All the folks we saw catching crappie after lunch were trolling into the wind to go the right speed. Some boats had six to 12 rods in holders out in a spider rig. I saw one guy in a boat by himself, with a rod out either side just lying on the floor. He was catching fish too!

If you want to catch some slabs, Sinclair should be good a good bet most winters and you might be able to use this technique on a lake near you if you live in the south. Further north, you may have to wait a couple more weeks.

Fish about 50 yards off the south bank of Brushy Creek. Drift a jig or minnow about 12 feet deep behind your boat. Try different colors with jigs, using bright colors in stained water and more subtle colors in clearer water. You can suspend them under corks or let the line and speed control the depth the jig or minnow runs.

If the wind is light enough and blowing in the right direction, let it do the work for you. Use your trolling motor to move your boat if the wind is not blowing you just right, trolling into the wind. A good depthfinder will let you know if you are over the fish and help you determine the depth to fish your bait.

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