Backcountry Crappie Fishermen Reveal
 

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Learn to Read Your Sonar

Many new fishermen have bought a new sonar unit and not really know how to use it.  There is a bit of a learning curve to be able to recognize what all of the images are on the depth finder.

If you are not real familiar with how to use a sonar unit, I would encourage you to CLICK HERE to visit the discussion over at the Texas Fishing forum.  On this thread various anglers show pictures of their units and explain what you are looking at.

Aside from hiring a guide to take you out and show you how your unit works, this is the best way to learn.

Over at the Texas Fishing forum, you will find some of the most knowledgeable Crappie fishermen that exist.  Even if you do not live in Texas, join in and learn from the experts.

Once again, to see photographs and learn how to use a sonar/depthfinder unit Click Here.

 


The Crappie Fishing Handbook

There are many resources available about Crappie fishing.  But if I were to recommend any book about Crappie fishing to someone who is new or even intermediate in experience level, it would be “The Crappie Fishing Handbook” by Keith Sutton.

The book runs around $11 on Amazon, and is full of great tips.  Pretty much everything you want to know about Crappie fishing is covered from their biology to how to catch them.  Keith covers such subjects as electronics, night fishing, jig selection, how to pick a jig, seasonal fishing methods, how to filet, & how to cook.

All in all, a pretty comprehensive guide for about the price of lunch.

Click here to get your copy of “The Crappie Fishing Handbook”


Is Hiring a Crappie Fishing Guide a Good Investment?

hiring a crappie fishing guideMany fishermen have thought about hiring a fishing guide from one time or the other.  The question most of them have is “Is hiring a fishing guide a good investment?”.  Let me start by saying that I am not a fishing guide nor do I know any personally at the time of this writing.

Traditional Cost of Hiring a Fishing Guide

But to answer to the question at hand depends greatly on what you hope to accomplish with your time with the guide.  Most guide services start at around $150 and up per half day and $250 for the whole day.  But usually you are able to add on a buddy or two for a little more and be able to split the cost, making the trip much more affordable.  However there is a maximum amount of people that the guide will allow due to the weight limits of his boat, and the ability of your party to be able to comfortably catch fish given the boat’s size.

Many fishermen get sticker shock when they first call to get a price from a fishing guide.  But break it down in practical terms.  This professional angler is going to spend 4-5 hours with you, using his boat, his gear, his bait, his gas (which is becoming increasingly more expensive), and he is even going to pay the boat launch fee.  On top of that he brings his professionalism, and knowledge of the lake.

In addition you need to factor in that the guide has to clean and put his boat up upon return.  So, on a 4 hour fishing trip, a guide has a minimum or 5 1/2 – 6 hours invested in it.  Do the math and you are essentially getting professional “tutoring” for around $30/hour, which is a bargain.

Will You Benefit from Hiring a Guide?

If you are a seasoned old veteran fisherman, you may not learn much from a fishing guide.  Although even old dogs can learn new tricks.

If you have been fishing for many years and are trying to learn a technique, then it could speed your learning curve.  Be sure to ask the guide you are looking at hiring if they know the technique you are trying to learn.  And once on the water, focus on learning that technique…not bragging about how you usually catch ’em.

But if you are new to the sport of Crappie fishing, then probably the best thing to enhance your learning curve is to take a trip out with a guide.

Tell him your experience level and ask him what he would recommend as the best way for you to catch fish in the future.  Ask him to show you particular techniques.

If you are a newbie, this would be a good chance to ask an expert what fishing tackle he would recommend for you as well.

Hiring a Fishing Guide Doesn’t Guarantee Results

Fishing guides cannot control Mother Nature, so there is no guarantee that you will catch fish just because you hired a guide for that particular day.  You just have to approach it with the right attitude.

Unless you are on vacation down in the Caribbean on a once in a lifetime Marlin fishing expedition, a fishing guide trip is more about learning how to catch fish, rather than actually catching those fish in a particular 4 or 5 hour period.  No one can guarantee that you are going to catch Crappie, but if I had to put money on boats leaving the dock, mine would be on the fishing guide’s.

Hiring a Crappie fishing guide can be a good investment as long as you go into it with the right attitude.  Remember, it is more about learning, than necessarily catching fish.  A good trip out with a Crappie fishing guide will even put your knowledge level ahead of people who have been fishing for years.


Build Your Own Crappie Condo Structure

Building a Crappie Condo

You ever get tired of looking for good underwater structure to fish?  Why not build your own Crappie condo structure?

You may be asking “what in the world is a Crappie condo?”  Well, it is basically an assortment of pvc plumbing pipes that are put together in such a way as to provide an artificial structure that fish will flock to.  Many fisherman will employ many different elaborate designs, but the following is just a basic “how to” so that you can get back to fishing.

Building a Crappie condo is pretty easy.  Get a bunch of pvc pipes and place them in a bucket in a random manner.  But before you do, be sure to sand the pipes so that the algae will be able to collect and grow on them underneath the water.

Get a 5 gallon bucket.  Now pour the Quickcrete mixed with water in so that the bucket becomes a concrete block so to speak.  Be sure to leave the handle up so you can lower the bucket underwater without it tipping over.

When you are done, find a spot in 10 – 15 ft of water to drop your Crappie condo in.  If you made more than 1 Crappie condo, try to place them about 8-10 feet apart so you can build a nice big structure.

Here is a very good video summarizing how you could make your own Crappie condo:

 

 

Be sure to mark your spot via GPS or with some sort of landmark so that you can find it later.

If you are looking for other ideas on how to build your Crappie condo, here is another video that you can glean some more ideas from:

 

That should give you enough ideas on how to build a Crappie condo structure.  You don’t have to break the bank to do this.  Often you will have the stuff you need laying around the house or in the garage.

Sink a Crappie condo today, and catch more fish for years to come.


Get the Right Color Fast with the Lindy X-Change Jig System

A new product is out specifically designed to make jig fishing much easier. The Lindy X-Change jig system helps you change jig head color or weight, without having to cut and re-tie your line.

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Successful Crappie Fishing Requires the Ability to Detect the Bite

I got a chance to go fishing Saturday night for a few hours.  I love Crappie fishing at night this time of year because there is virtually no boat traffic, and you’re not sweating to death because of the heat.  In a month or so, it will start to warm up a little more down here in Texas, and even the nights will be a bit warm then.

If you are an inexperienced Crappie fisherman, then sometimes you will miss the bite.  Such was the case Saturday night.

The way they were biting was that they would bump the bait, (we were using live minnows fished under lights), and then a couple of minutes later, they would start pushing the line sideways. I should also mention that we were  tight-line fishing.

Experienced Crappie fisherman know that this is a Crappie, and set the hook.  But if you don’t know what is happening, the fish will take your bait in nothing flat.  Once that line is going to the side, lift up and reel, and you’ll have your fish.

My last trip out they were biting totally different.  They would bump the line, and then there would be a bunch of slack.  When you see this slack, the Crappie has the bait in his mouth and is pushing it up.  Firmly jerk your rod and reel up, and you’ll have him hooked.

Be careful though, because when they are biting like this, they don’t always give you the “courtesy” bump first.  You’ll just look and all of a sudden have a bunch of slack.  If you are  too late, he’ll have his dinner, and you will have none.

Crappie will on occasion just hit the bait, but more often than not, they will use one of the biting methods discussed to obtain their meal.

If you are using a cork, the principle is the same.  If you see your cork heading sideways, jerk back in the opposite direction and start reeling.  Make sure that whenever you are Crappie fishing, that you do not set the hook too hard, because it will rip out of their mouths.  Many fisherman have nicknamed Crappie “papermouths” for this reason.

It can take a little practice to get the feel for how Crappie bite, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to catch all you want.


Spring Crappie Fishing Tips

The spawn is on at many lakes across the southern US. The water temperatures have risen and if you can catch the conditions just right, you should be able to land a few slabs. The #1 bait for catching Spring Crappie is without a doubt a live minnow. It has been estimated that over 50% of all Crappie are caught on live minnows. I am not totally sure of the accuracy of that quote, but I happen to believe it. The problem is that sometimes the local bait shops will run out of minnows if the fish are really biting. Other effective live baits you can use are crickets and

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Save Green with the Road Tax Refund for Marine Vessels

Let's face it. None of us likes to pay taxes. It seems that government agencies have about a million different ways to reach into our wallets. But there is a way you can get some of those tax dollars back.....at least on your boating outings. Have you heard about the road tax refund for marine vessels?

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Loads of Fun if You Can Catch the White Bass Run

The calender has turned to February, and if you're itching to go fishing, then your best bet is to catch the White Bass Run. White Bass will start their annual spawn run in the South during February.

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Get your Local Weather Forecast

It is important to know the conditions BEFORE you hit the water. Although it may look like a beautiful day outside now, it may turn nasty later.

Check your forecast by entering your zip code in the box below.


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