CRAPPIE BOAT SETUPS
As a kid, my dad bought a lot of boats. I think he just liked fixing them up, then we would get another. We had big boats and small boats and they were all really good fishing boats. That is all of them but one. I remember one day when one of his many boats was an old 16-foot v hull with an 18 HP engine. It was old as well. I also remember catching a lot of fish out of that boat and on several trips, we laughed at the fact that it seemed like we caught more fish out of that boat than any of the others. We didn’t keep the boat long because it was just too small and uncomfortable, but you get the point. It doesn’t take a big boat when it comes to tournament crappie fishing.
With tournament trails like Crappie USA you’re able to trailer your boat to any part of the lake, that isn’t off limits, and put in. This eliminates the need for giant boats and motors and levels the playing field. This is also a safer alternative to long runs in potentially rough waters and it saves on gasoline as well. You can be sitting over your best brush pile waiting for the start time to begin fishing. This also allows you the opportunity to fish any part of the lake as long as you stop early enough to get to weigh-in on time.
A smaller boat will work just fine for fishing crappie tournaments and it could even have some advantages. Many of those 20-foot boats with the big engines are restricted to bigger waters. With a small boat you can reach waters that many of the other competitors can’t. This can be a real advantage that can put some real slabs in the boat. Also, these smaller backwater areas virtually eliminate the need for those big electronics. You can just fish these areas to see if they hold the right fish or not.
CRAPPIE FISHING WITHOUT EXPENSIVE ELECTRONICS
Fish finders today offer several advantages to crappie anglers. Do you need the top of the line electronics to compete? Obviously a 12-inch side-imaging unit will help an angler scan water more efficiently but is this really an advantage. Learning crappie habits and travel routes on any body of water can help you find and catch quality crappie during the tournament.
Marking these areas on a map before even launching the boat can help you locate an area with quality fish. Even the most affordable fish finders today offer features that will help you locate and mark creek channels and brush piles so you can return and fish these areas to see if they hold quality crappie. This is the same thing those anglers have to do. Even if they can see fish in the brush or suspended in creek channels, they still must fish the marks. Those high dollar electronics find cover so well they will mark hundreds of possible brush piles and then sort through them to find the fish. This can use up a lot of time if they are fishing areas that don’t hold fish that time of year.
Many anglers today have learned to rely on those expensive fish finders to locate their fish leaving the door open to an angler that knows crappie and their seasonal habits. If you catch crappie now with your old out of date electronics have the confidence in the fact that you can catch them in a tournament. You should not be intimidated by those teams with 4 giant screens on their boat and get out there and pit your knowledge against the electronic revolution. My granddad could locate brush and catch crappie in the 70’s with a flasher unit stored in a Styrofoam minnow bucket. The transducer was taped to the end of a broom handle. He took advantage of his knowledge of the crappie migration routes and could put us on some really good crappie.
TACKLE FOR CRAPPIE FISHING TOURNAMENTS
Much like the big electronics a boat load of tackle can help you catch crappie for sure, but it only takes 7 crappie to win a crappie tournament. Learning where these crappie live and placing the right bait within their strike zone can win you a tournament. I have watched many crappie tournament videos since I became interested and there seems to always be one team that uses a single pole approach or one pole in each hand to thoroughly cover the area they think holds big crappie. Put two anglers over a brush pile with a pole in each hand and two baits on each and you’re doing plenty to catch the crappie you believe are there. You just don’t have to have tons of tackle when fishing crappie tournaments.
There are also crappie tournament anglers and good ones that shoot docks pretty much exclusively. These guys have mastered this presentation and can hold their own through most if not all of the season. Dock shooters may use some fancy electronics, but after a while they can tell what docks produce. Oftentimes, fishing the dock is more efficient than scanning them for fish. This method requires a single pole and a single jig. It also eliminates the need for spider-rigging equipment or even a seat as you are kneeling and moving around the deck to make the best shot on a dock. Dock shooting is a great way to get into fishing crappie tournaments with less tackle and equipment.
TOURNAMENTS TAKES ME AWAY FROM FAMILY
Crappie USA tournament rules allows you to fish with a young person. Crappie USA understands the importance of introducing young people to fishing. Kids are the future of fishing. Crappie USA is focused on the youth for the preservation of our waters and the fishing lifestyle for generations to come. If you have a youngster that likes to fish, Crappie USA has you covered. It’s also a great way to introduce a youngster to crappie fishing that is a lot of fun.
Crappie USA allows a third competitor in the boat 16 years old or younger. This allows a team or individual tournament angler to introduce a young person to fishing. There’s nothing better than seeing the smile on a youngster’s face after a good weigh-in. I ran into a father son team at the Crappie USA super tournament at Barkley Lake this past November. It was apparent where the enthusiasm rested even after a tough tournament. The father told me his son motivates him to get up and go, even when he knows it’s going to be tough. Kids definitely love fishing crappie tournaments.
In addition to allowing youngsters in the boat to compete Crappie USA also offers a Kids Fishing Rodeo at most of their crappie tournaments. It’s a free event for kids 12 and younger and all that enter gets a prize. All that enter are also eligible for one of the many $1000 scholarships awarded each season. Crappie USA provides plenty of reasons to bring the family along for the fun and excitement that fishing crappie tournaments bring. It’s a great place to meet new friends and see old ones every year. Be sure to check out the Crappie USA website https://www.crappieusa.com/ for all the information you need to start fishing a great crappie tournament trail this year.
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