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Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Crappie Bite to Start Soon

There is much anticipation among anglers with the recent warm weather we had until this week’s snow storm.
Spring is not too far around the corner and everyone I have spoken with is ready to enjoy more of those 70-degree days. March is now here as you read this and the crappie bite will turn on very soon.
   Two years ago I was visiting my brother in Louisa when we decided to take a drive to Lake Orange and see how the fishing was going. This was the first week of March. When we pulled into the lot, two good ole boys were offloading their boat and cooler from the lake and calling to the bait shop manager to get the scales ready.
There were five citation crappie over three pounds in that cooler and over thirty more that would cover your hand. I was stunned at the quality of the fishery over there. I spoke to those guys and took a few pictures before heading home.
Last year I used some of the tactics I learned from the guys at Lake Orange to land a number of fat slabs myself at a local pond. It seems that on warm days like the ones we had  recently, the fish will often come into the sunlit and sun warmed shallows to grab any minnows or stray insects that have emerged. I walked the banks quietly and pulled a dozen really nice fish out while sight casting to them. I hope to do the same one-day after work soon. Fish pulled from cold-water sure taste good.
If you want to get in on the action for some early, prespawn crappie, then be sure to sneak out on a day after the temperatures climb into the upper sixties or low seventies.
If you can wait for two days in a row like that the fishing is even better. Fish the shallows or the flats near deeper drop offs or ledges and make long casts when possible. If you can catch a few insects or buy some crickets at Ken’s Tackle in Fredericksburg, the stringer will be heavier.
Also noteworthy would be the prespawn bass action. Last year while crappie fishing I noticed a HUGE bass cruise by like a submarine. I looked at the flimsy little ultralight that I was using and just grinned. I knew I was undergunned but why not give it a shot?
I did give it a shot and within a few minutes the bass took the line and went for a ride making the reel scream like crazy. The fish measured over 22 inches and was very fat. My scale is not very accurate but it appeared to be over seven pounds. Had the fish been given a few more weeks it would have topped eight pounds.
          Not bad for a little ultralight rod and a quick switch of baits from crappie tackle to bass tackle.
I noticed that the bass would not take the bait when I could see the fish and it could see me. Once it got nearly out of sight and I cast the line far past the fish and pulled it back towards the now disappeared submarine it did take the bait. Was it coincidence? I don’t think so. I caught two more fish in that size class last spring doing the same thing at another location. Neither of those fish hit while within sight of me yet I had seen them and they clearly saw me before they swam off and later hit the bait.
Make longer casts, use the drag to your advantage and be patient with the rod so as to not break the fish off.

 

Mark Fike


 

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