Crappie Thick Brush

catch crappie in thick brush,tips to fishing thick brush

Crappie Fishing In Thick Brush

If you fish for crappie very often you know how they love to hang out in some nasty thick brush. Fortunately there are ways to get these crappie out of this thick brush with the right rigs. Thick brush crappie rigs are necessary for penetrating the brush crappie love. There’s also crappie rigs that you can use to coax those slabs out of the brush and into your livewell. Here are a few thick brush crappie rigs and tips to consider when the slabs hunker down.

Jig And Bobber In Brush

This great crappie fishing rig has many uses and thick brush is one of them. You can use the bobber and jig to lure the crappie out of the brush. You can also use it to penetrate deep into the brush, where crappie love to hide. This will put your presentation right in their face. If you find yourself without weedless crappie jigs you can use a regular jig and just set the bobber to where your jig is just above the cover where you know crappie are present. Slowly work this rig over the thick brush and if the crappie are in any kind of feeding mood they will gladly come out of the thick brush and devour your jig.

Going Weedless For Crappie In Thick Brush

If by chance you have a bag of weedless jigs like the Bass Pro Shops® Weedless Marabou Stump Jumper®. You can easily probe the thickest part of the brush. Oftentimes crappie will suspend deep inside thick brush made by a tree that has fallen into the water from shore. When this happens you can sometimes pick up a few crappie working the outside edge of the brush but if you catch a few there then you can bet that there are many more down in that brush and you have to go in and get them. With a weedless jig you can lower your presentation to those thick brush dwellers and load the boat.


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The Li’L TUFFY Swimbait at the Rambling Angler Store

Crappie Bait Swimbait

You might find a school just beneath the brush. When this happens you have to go through the brush to get to the crappie. This can be made much easier with a weedless jighead. The small wire protruding from the head deflects the wood keeping it from hanging. One note you have got to work the weedless crappie jig slowly. If you work it too fast without “feeling” the brush, then you will just pull the limbs through the wire and into the hook and when it does this it’s tough to work loose. You will have to break it off.

It takes some practice but just move the weedless crappie jig throughout the thick brush. Carefully lift it out and ease it back into the brush. When using a bobber with the weedless jig just lower it gently into every available hole and watch closely. When crappie are deep in the thick brush and refuse to come out to eat then the bite, more than likely, will be light. If your bobber goes down any at all lift up because it could be a crappie that just ate your jig. If you’re quiet and play the slab out of the cover, you can catch a lot of crappie before you run them off. Be patient and you can catch several.

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The Slide Off Weedguard

There is a new little gadget out that makes crappie fishing with any jig weedless. The slideoff weedguard is a great little guard that slips onto the jig. It snaps into place between the hook point and the eye. Crappie fishing in thick brush can be frustrating. The slideoff weedguard allows you to be more aggressive with your presentation than with the wire weedguard. When the crappie bites the slideoff weedguard snaps off exposing the hook point to the crappies mouth.

These weedguards really come in handy when the crappie are scattered and in thick brush. You have to cover water to catch a few. The slideoff weedguard allows you to work the cover quickly. You can pull your jig through the cover instead of working it straight down. You can fish a little faster with this little guard on your jig. The slideoff weedguard come in several sizes and can help keep you from hanging up when crappie fishing thick cover.

Set The Hook Hard And Fast

I was fishing for crappie one cold early spring morning with a great crappie angler that fishes tournaments. He knew right where some crappie were hanging out and it was not where I was expecting them to be. The water temp was around 50 degrees. We went straight into a shallow cove to jig feather jigs in stumps and thick brush. The first thing I noticed was my guide, Brett Cunningham, was using a small feather jig with a very small hook. My first question was how does that hook do for hook-ups? Brett laughed and told me that he thought the same thing the first time he used these jigs and assured me that I would see just how well they did on hooking big crappie. He was right. It wasn’t long before we were catching some pretty nice crappie out of that thick brush and stump fields.

The small hooks did great. They would hook the crappie in the roof of the mouth nearly every time. The small crappie jig hook penetrated fully into the mouth and the head of the jig would be hard against the crappie’s mouth. The crappie jig was even hard to get unhooked and I was convinced that the small hooks did great in hooking crappie.

Set The Hook Hard When Fishing For Crappie In Thick Brush

Another thing I noticed that Brett was doing was setting the hook hard anytime he felt the thump or saw his line twitch. I was amazed at how hard and fast he set the hook on those crappie. Brett told me that it was important to set the hook hard when fishing for crappie in thick brush. “You need to turn the crappie as quick as possible in thick brush to keep it from getting tangled in it”. Brett said. I told him it must also stun the crappie for a second as hard as he was setting the hook. We laughed and it took me a while to get it down. I don’t think I ever set the hook as hard as Brett, but I got it down enough to start catching a few.

Crappie In The Cabbage

I want to talk about a summertime pattern that I call Crappie In The Cabbage. I’m focusing on thick clumps of cabbage weed in 6-10 ft of water just outside bays. I like to look near drop offs, close to deeper water. Crappie likes to stay in the thick cabbage close to deep water. The thick weeds provide cool shade, food, and oxygen. 6-16 ft of water is a good depth range for this pattern. When the area that holds fish is found you generally catch a good number of crappie. Most of the time this is quality or quantity depending the conditions and the mood of the crappie. It is a color game in the weeds so change colors to attract more crappie in thick cover.

Lily pads, coontail, and duckweed are all good crappie weeds, but to me, duckweed is the king of all fish-holding weeds. Not just for crappie, but bluegill, perch, bass, pike, will use it also. Fish this pattern in clear water with a long pole 10-14 foot. The long rod allows you to be at a good distance from the fish without spooking them. It also allows for a longer cast with a slip bobber and a jig or vertical jigging on windy days. A lot of options are available using this tactic in in clear water conditions. Natural colors will work best in clear water.

A big bait like a 2 inch grub or Squirrel Tail Jig. it’s been a windy summer here a 1/16 oz blow to much in the wind a 1/8 oz jig head keep me in the strike zone over the weed or deep weed edge. I can drop it back quickly. I like an Eye Hole Jig Round Head or Pill Head bright colors super sharp hook it look different. It’s specially designed to hold attractant nibbles I like the powerful scent of the Slab Bites nibbles by Crappie Magnet in the scent holder jig and I can keep one nibble up to 1-2 hours no nibble falling down and I can catch multiples fish before putting a new one..that’s make a big difference I like a 8 lb fluorocarbon or a 10 lb Monofilament using this technique so I don’t get hung up in the cover.

How to Find Crappie Brush Piles

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to find crappie brush piles. Those stumps, Christmas trees and stake beds are invisible after the water rises and when the crappie come to them to spawn in the spring? Well now is the time to find crappie cover on your lake or river. With today’s GPS’s you can mark crappie cover that’s invisible to those that stayed inside to watch football. Here are some tips on how to find crappie cover this winter.

Many lakes these days is loaded with cover that has been sunk by hard working anglers over the years. This man-made cover can be a goldmine when the water rises leaving it invisible to the droves of crappie hunters that converge on your favorite crappie waters each spring. This is big fun for all and provides countless hours of recreation and as most will agree, we all need a little of that in our lives.

Find Crappie Brush Piles When The Water Is Down

The is one great thing about finding crappie cover in the winter. Most crappie anglers will probe visible stake beds and brush piles. You can be confident that your marked cover is going untouched. Those delicious crappie are hanging out now in your secret crappie cover awaiting your arrival. After a couple springtime weekends all the visible cover around decent spawning grounds has had a jig or minnow swam, dipped or bobbered through it. Find crappie cover now while you can easily see it and mark it for the springtime action.

Try to find cover that isn’t easily seen. Take your time and slowly search spawning flats for any decent cover that you think crappie might use in the spring. If you mark cover that’s out of the water in the winter chances are it will still be visible even when the lake comes up. Finding the cover that’s under water, even at winter pool, is the key to secret cover that crappie will pile up on, especially those elusive slabs that seem to be out a little deeper.

This hidden thick crappie brush is easy to see, but can be hard to find. To find crappie cover, during low water, I will ease up to a stake-bed that’s visible during and bump into another stake-bed with my trolling motor. Once I know it’s there I can see it just beneath the surface and this is the cover you want to mark.

I located 3 Christmas trees in the back of a pocket last year before the water reached summer pool. I could only see about 6 inches of the top above the water. When I started fishing I spotted a few more trees almost invisible in the stained water. I fished each one in that pocket and caught a single crappie from all but a couple of those trees. Each crappie I caught from these perfectly placed Christmas trees was a slab measuring no less than 14 inches. I didn’t fish these trees for crappie once the water came up. However, I did walk a spook over the tops and caught several good bass. All because I knew where this cover was. You can bet I will be back this winter to find more crappie cover in that bay.

crappie ready for cleaning

Find Crappie Brush Piles To Fish From Shore

If you fish for crappie from the bank this is a great way to locate cover that you can fish. So often I find crappie cover with my boat. I think, man it would be nice to hike in and relax catching the same crappie. Drive to some access points on your lake and just hike along the shoreline. Find crappie cover that you can reach in the spring and mark it with your phone or GPS. You can also mark the spot on shore with a tree limb, rock or good memory. I’ve a spot that I fish from the bank in the spring that is loaded with stake beds and crappie. The guys sinking these stake beds told me where to fish.

I mentioned using a GPS to mark cover in the winter. There is another way and sometimes works better depending on the cover you find. I mark large brush piles and stump fields with my GPS. When the cover is small like a single stump I mark it with a cane or other straight stick. Try to mark the cover on the approach side so you know where to cast without getting hung up. Leave enough sticking above the water to be visible at summer pool. When the water is up trim the marker just above the waterline. This allows you to find cover while easing up to it with your GPS. This way you won’t have to search for it on your fish finder which can spook the crappie.

If you love to crappie fish and want some to yourself this spring get out there this winter and find crappie thick brush to return to when the time is right. Remember, winter can offer some really good crappie fishing too. Take some jigs and minnows and do a little crappie fishing while you’re out. Locating winter crappie schools will help you locate those prime spawning bays as well. As you move through these bays watch for deep brush piles near the first drop in that bay and mark them. This cover is where the crappie will stage coming into the bay pre-spawn and leaving after the spawn.

RELATED CONTENT: Wintertime Crappie , When Crappie Don’t Bite

Deep Water Crappie

About Ken McBroom 306 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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