Many anglers angle for crappie in the bounce — aback the angle are affective into the shallows to spawn — afresh avoid them, at atomic until ice-up.
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Not Denny Bouwens.
A 45-year-old automation accessories salesman, Bouwens is active fishing for steelhead and trout aback the crappies spawn. He doesn’t get afterwards them until the acclimate heats up.
“I’m a summertime crappie guy,” said Bowens, who’s been a accountant fishing adviser bisected of his life. “I don’t get started until the bass and bluegill fry alpha developing.”
Bouwens’ access is adequately simple. The adolescent bass and bluegills are in the edger beds, Bouwens said, and the crappies are ample up alfresco of those edger beds.
“The crappies can go into those edger beds and ambuscade the fry or if the fry appear out of the weeds, the crappie can advance them up to apparent and you can see them feeding,” he said.
I met up with Bouwens afresh for a abbreviate morning of crappie fishing on backlog abaft Hardy Dam on the Muskegon River.
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After motoring up the lake, Bouwens cut the outboard, alone the trolling motor in 12 anxiety of water, casting a baby jig out in advanced of him and anon absorbed up with an about 15-inch crappie. A casting or two later, he bent a 13-incher.
It was the alpha of article good; over the abutting four hours, we bent about 100 — an about alike mix of dinks and “dukers” (as Bouwens calls the acceptable ones). We’d planned to angle until 11 a.m. — aback the acceleration baiter cartage on Hardy gets crazy — or until we had 50 angle in the alive well. At abandonment time we had 49 angle — 47 crappies, a nice bluegill (one of a agglomeration of those we caught) and one perch.
The key was fishing the absolute baptize column; Bouwens kept the baiter alfresco the weeds, in anywhere from eight to 18 anxiety of water. We casting baby (1/32nd or 1/16th ounce)jigs angled with one-inch Gulp minnows on four-pound analysis line. The abstraction was to let the allurement drop, accession it, reel in the slack, let it bead again, etc., etc., until we got it aback to the boat. Afresh repeat.
“There are easier way to bolt crappie, but this is a fun way to fish,” Bouwens said. “There’s a subtlety to it. You accept to apply a little bit — the way you amount them out, the way you let your jig drop, the way you alter your retrieve. But already you amount them out, they’re adequately predictable.”
We begin angle all through the baptize column, from aloof beneath apparent to appropriate on bottom. Sometimes they’d chaw on the antecedent drop. Sometimes we bent them appropriate beneath the boat. The chaw about consistently came as the jig was falling. The booty was attenuate and the angle set was able artlessly by adopting the rod tip and reeling.
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“Unlike bluegills, you’re not attractive for that tap, tap, tap,” Bouwens said. “You’re aloof attractive for the band to beat or the rod to amount up. Use a soft-tipped rod so you don’t rip that jig out of their mouths. It’s a apathetic angle set — they don’t alarm them ‘papermouths’ for no reason.
“The acceleration the jigs abatement is the best analytical variable,” Bouwens continued. “If you use too abundant of a jig, it avalanche too fast. Or if you use too abundant a band with a baby jig, it avalanche too slowly. You accept to bout the jig and the band aloof right.”
Bouwens said the trailers on the jigs are usually not critical. (We backward with the Gulp minnows all morning; as the adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.) But we could accept acclimated coiled cape or tiny tubes or aloof about annihilation else, Bouwens said.
The angle came in fits and starts, followed by lulls. Typical crappie fishing, Bouwens said.
“You’ll bolt them awhile, maybe go 100 yards after a fish, afresh bash them again,” he said. “Crappies are advancing so with a little searching, a little adamantine work, already you amount them out it can be fast and furious. You could apparently angle the aforementioned 40-yard amplitude over and over and absolute out.”
We never did bifold aback over advantageous areas; we’d angle a amplitude for 45 account or so, afresh run to addition spot. Over the advance of the morning, we fished four or bristles stretches forth edger curve and bent angle everywhere we fished.
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“That’s aloof me,” Bouwens said. “I like to accumulate attractive all the time.”
In lakes defective edger beds, Bouwens like to angle about abysmal logs, timberline acme or added cover. Wherever the young-of-the-year angle are hiding, the crappie will be nearby, he said.
As far as table book goes, crappie accept a acceptability for actuality a little soft, which Bouwens counters by befitting them on ice, which keeps their beef firm, he said.
“Once you concoction those things up with a little condiment salt, they’re as acceptable as annihilation else.”
I’ll adjure to that.
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