How To Catch Post Spawn Crappie
The crappie spawn is when most anglers get out and want to catch a few crappie after the spawn. Crappie are in the shallows and they are hungry and aggressive. They protect their beds from any intruders like your minnow or a jig. Fish around any visible cover along the shore in shallow water and you are likely to catch a few crappie. What happens after the spawn? You can still find smaller males guarding nests and fry in the shallow cover, but you’re looking for the big slabs. Where did they go? Here is a few tips for catching post spawn crappie
Locating Crappie After the Spawn
When the water temps get above 75 degrees most crappie are in their summer pattern. This pattern will last until the fall. In the fall temps start back down. The shad will begin to move shallow in search of zooplankton. Zooplankton will still be available where creek water provides more oxygen and the shallow water warms in the sun.
During the post-spawn the crappie are moving out to find a more tolerable temperatures as well as baitfish to feed on. The baitfish move out for the same reason and will swim in huge balls feeding on the zooplankton in the water. Because these shad suspend and continuously travel in no particular pattern the crappie are scattered with them.
Crappie follows these balls of shad to feed on them when they can. These crappie will be in schools themselves and when you get one bite you often get two or three then nothing. You have to continue moving around to search for baitfish and schools of crappie. The best way to do this is by spider rigging. Spider rigging covers the most water and presents baits at various depths. This is the best way to catch these scattered crappie when they move back out to deeper water in or near the main lake.
Locating areas that have shad is key. Balls of baitfish are much easier to see than crappie on your electronics. Stay around the baitfish in areas that you know has crappie and you’ll catch some by spider rigging and staying on the move. When you see a school of shad slow down. Keep your baits in that area for a few minutes. Crappie and other fish will often be following behind waiting for the stragglers to fall behind the ball. This is how you can make your baits stand out among the thousands of shad that make a ball.
As the crappie follows the bait ball they will see your baits and eat them. This method may seem like a slow bite. But, after several hours you find that you caught more crappie than you thought. When you catch two or three at a time the numbers add up over time. Even though there are long pauses between bites.
Crappie Rigs For Post Spawn Crappie
As mentioned above, spider rigging is your best shot at tracking down post spawn crappie. The presentations will vary from angler to angler, but here is a couple sure fire crappie rigs for catching post spawn crappie. My favorite rig is the double minnow rig. The double minnow rig is two hooks with an egg sinker in the middle. A minnow on each hook is all that’s needed to fish this rig. The double minnow rig is simple yet effective.
Another rig for spider rigging is the double jig rig. This rig is two jigs with an egg sinker between them. You can leave the egg sinker off and use only the weight of the jighead. Use a jighead that is a 1/4 oz or larger unless you want to slow way down. You need the weight to keep the rig straight in the water so it doesn’t swing as you move along in a search for more fish or cover. Sometimes a jig is just as effective as a minnow and some will argue better. Experiment with colors and depths and if the fishing is slow try tipping your jig with a minnow for a little more enticement for the crappie.
Post Spawn Crappie Tackle
Once May rolls around crappie are finished spawning. They have rested and recovered and now are feeding heavily to keep up with their increased metabolism brought on by warming water. Minnows are hard to beat anytime your chasing crappie and the post spawn is no different. The double minnow rig or the Capps & Coleman rigs which are pre-rigged double minnow rigs made famous and named after pro crappie tournament anglers Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman winner of many National Championships and tournaments using the rig.
Minnows are synonymous with crappie fishing and for good reason. Minnows match the hatch very well and will consistently catch crappie no matter what the technique might be. Even when you use jigs in place of the hooks on the double minnow rig, you can tip theme with minnows. The added color and profile can trigger more strikes than just a minnow. Another great way to make your bait stand out from the natural baitfish in the area is to add small colored spinner blades to your line above the hook and minnow. Also a small plastic grub put on your hook with your minnow can also get a crappie’s attention over a plain minnow. Experiment with colors and profiles to see what the crappie prefer that day. It is amazing how a certain color can get you a lot more bites.
The tackle needed when spider rigging open water post-spawn crappie consists of your rod holders, long crappie rods to get your baits away from the boat. Some crappie anglers use up to 16 foot rods for spider rigging but in open water when the crappie are often deeper than 10 feet you can get away with 8 to 10 foot rods. Getting your baits 16 foot away from the boat is optimum. This is not as important in deep water. Crappie don’t spook as easy as when they are in deeper water.
Light line in the 6 to 8 pound test range is great for spider rigging post-spawn crappie. Crappie are not as line shy as other fish. However, when chasing schools of crappie, you often need to move quickly to search the area. With heavier line the drag from the water will create a bow in the line causing your bait to rise in the water column. This can slow down your baits to get down to the depth you locate fish on your electronics. Light line lets you zip from one spot to another quickly when you need to.It keeps your bait where you have determined the fish to be that day.
Post spawn crappie can be hard to locate. There is a lull after the spawn as crappie recover but not all crappie spawn at the same time. Keep moving and you will find some active crappie looking for a meal. Learning these techniques can help you extend your crappie season and enjoy the outdoors this spring.