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Crappie Fishing

Do Crappie Jump Out of the Water?

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When a fisherman has decided to start specializing in a particular breed of fish, whether they are six or sixty it doesn’t take long for them to realize that they need to start understanding fish behavior better. Of course, once you get hooked on crappie, the same principle applies: you want to know everything you can about this particular species.

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Adam Wynne Crappie

Thus, you will definitely have a lot of questions about crappie. You would probably want to know such things as when do they breed? Where do they eat? What do they eat? You want to know as much as you can about these crappies, because it will help you to catch them better.

One surprisingly dominant (and underrated) question that many people might have would be concerning whether crappie have a tendency to jump out of the water or not. Now, of course, when people think of fish jumping out the water, they naturally think of bass or trout. But what about crappie? Let’s examine that for a while.

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Understanding All Fish Behavior

The key to determining whether the crappie will jump out of the water is to simply begin by understanding the behavior of all fish. For starters, there is a common joke among anglers that goes a little something like this: “Q: Why do fish jump out of the water? A: Because they don’t have any fingers.” All joking aside, there is definitely some creedence to that joke. Of course, the next thing you should understand is just why fish jump out of the water in the first place.

Indeed, if you are wondering why any particular fish would jump out of the water, it can be summarized in just two words: chasing. bait. That’s right. Almost all fish will jump out of the water simply in order to chase bait. Naturally, this is most common among the larger fish species such as bass, trout, or salmon, but rest assured, that it does occasionally happen among crappie as well. It may not happen as much, but it does indeed happen.

Of course, another part of the reason why all fish, including crappie, will definitely jump out of the water is simply because they can. Although it’s hard to tell what is going through the fish’s mind, the sense of exhilaration, adventure, and the rush of endorphins is probably the reason why they might go ahead and jump out of their watery home.

Are crappie attracted to light? HERE is an article that sheds light on that question.

The Debate Over Jumping Crappie

Within fishing circles, there is definitely a debate over whether crappie jump or not. Although we did just state that crappie do indeed jump some, the evidence appears to be sparse for it. Generally we will see two different camps regarding whether the crappie will jump out of the water. Thus, we should absolutely examine these two points of view:

Camp #1: They Don’t Do It/I’ve Never Seen Them Do It

The first camp is those who have extreme difficulty believing that crappie will jump out of the water. There are many anglers who claim that they have been fishing for fifty years and that they have never personally seen the crappie jump out of the water like they have bass or trout. They say that if the crappie were to start jumping, it would be because the water tended to be at a very low point. Either way, these gentlemen are convinced that the crappie are not a species that will readily jump, and many of them actually will encourage people to be diligent with their bait and get ready to be persistent about catching their crappie.

Need CHUM ? Here’s an article you might like about chum for crappie.

Camp #2: They Do It; It May Not Be As Much As Other Fish, But Yes, They Do It

On the other hand, there are some people who claim that they have seen crappie feeding and jumping out of the water. Again, most of the time the people who notice these crappie jumping out of the water will say that they are doing so because they are chasing bait. Indeed, one anecdotal report claims that these crappie will chase anything, including lures. Some of the anglers claimed that the jigs and the bobbers would draw the crappie and cause them to leap out of the water. Thus, even though the crappie don’t have a reputation as being jumpers, they will leap out of the water if they are hungry enough.

Well…Do Crappie Jump Out of the Water or Not?

It’s hard to say either way whether crappie will jump out of the water or not. Of course, some individuals swear that they have seen the crappie do it. I don’t know…maybe it has something to do with the region or the time of year? And, like we’ve mentioned previously, there are many career crappie anglers who say that no, they haven’t seen them jump out of the water, and they are adamant that it just isn’t something that they do.

There’s no general consensus, and to my knowledge there is no poll that has been done regarding this topic. However, whatever your personal experiences with jumping crappie might be, let this be a lesson to you: once you specialize in a particular species of fish, you definitely need to learn all you can about their particular behavior.


Crappie Behavior

The first thing you need to know is that crappie behavior is that they have at least four distinct cases. There is Pre-Spawn, Spawn, Post-Spawn, and Winter. One of the hardest times to fish for crappie (and the time where it would be least likely to find them jumping out of the water, if at all) would be during the post spawn period.

This is because both the male and female crappie have just gone through the spawning period, and that is very draining time for them. Thus, they will usually retreat to deeper waters in order to recover. During the day, they will often be as deep as 30 feet. Of course, if you are going to have any chance at all at catching them it would during the night. They will usually rise to about five feet during the evening hours.

Thus, even though there is no conclusive way to prove that crappie do jump out of the water, it still illustrates to us just how important it is for us to fully understand their behavior.

Hey FISHMONGER – make sure to check out my FISHING RESOURCES page.

Here are some good hooks for crappie fishing. size 8-12 are great!

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Crappie Fishing

How to Catch Crappie in the Summer

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It is summertime and it means now that it is time for me to go out to the lake, hop on my boat, and do one of my favorite things in the whole world, fishing!

Noah West knows something about catching crappie in the summertime.

That being said, my aim is to catch as many crappies as possible because I want to enjoy a good fish fry this summer. For that to happen I must get ready to hit the lake with the best strategy possible because when it comes down to catching crappie, there’s a bit of a trick to get them to bite the hook every time the line goes in the water.

Here are some good hooks for crappie fishing. size 8-12 are great!

In order to be ready to load my cooler with tons of crappies, I decided to do some research and find out the most effective ways to catch crappies in the summer because it turns out there’s more than just simply throwing your line out into the water and wait for one of them to bite because there are other factors also come into play when trying to catch this type of fish.

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So how do you catch crappies in the summer?

Using a fast action ultralight fishing rod for a quick hook up when the fish bites, make sure you give the crappie what they want which is minnows for bait and fish over brush piles or any cover like logs or under docks in the summertime. Read on and I will explain why.

First we must understand that crappies are a type of fish that lives in the North American fresh waters. They feed primarily on smaller fish species, and these can include the young of the predators which are the muskellunge, the walleye, and the northern pike. They also are capable of feeding on zooplankton, insects, and crustaceans for sustenance during dawn or dusk times by moving into the open waters or approaching the shores.

Following that tangent, crappies tend to be far less active during the day, and have a strong tendency to seek shelter around weed beds, submerged objects such as hollow logs and debris, and even boulders.

They are a fish species that derives from the Canadian French crapet, which refers to the different species of the sunfish family. As a result, crappies are known under many different names such as the strawberry bass, speckled perch, the white perch, the calico bass, and the Oswego bass. There are also certain items that are essential in successfully catching

Having a better understanding of what the crappie fishes are, the type of habitat they inhabit, and even the different ways in which they are known as, is going to give us a huge advantage when going out to catch them. There’s no better way to get the most fish out of the water than preparation, and the more we know, the better.

Need CHUM ? Here’s an article you might like about chum for crappie.

Getting Ready To Catch Crappie Fish

In order to be able to fish we must once again be aware of the fact that just throwing the line in the water is not going to be enough to catch many crappies in the summer. There’s more to understand when you’re out catching crappies in one of the most fun seasons of the year. This includes having knowledge on some items that will help you catch them more efficiently when you’re out on the waters.

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when you’re catching crappie fish in the summertime:

  • Having an understanding of the type of baits that are more likely to lure them.
  • Knowing when are the best times in the day or the evening to go out and effectively catch them.
  • The types of environments in which they are likely to gather in large numbers.
  • Using artificial bait effectively when natural bait is not available.
  • The region’s in which they have the largest populations, so they become easier to catch.
  • Angling methods that work effectively in catching them.
  • The different types of life bait that are bound to lure them.
  • The importance of the weather.
  • The importance of depth in the lake.
  • How to use a rod and a line effectively.

Having awareness on the factors that make crappie fishing the most effective in the summer, is going to help you make the most out of your fishing experience when you’re out on the waters looking to get a good catch for the day. This is also important because you simply don’t want to be wasting valuable time and energy looking to catch crappies during hours of the day where they are unlikely to appear in larger numbers.

There is also an extra hidden benefit to fishing crappie in the summer, and that is the ability to go out and explore new places, which is one the most natural and instinctive drives every person has, the need to travel and explore. Fishing provides the perfect avenue to do just, and if you need some inspiration to get out on your fishing boat, then here are few words of motivation by the professional golfer Jack Nicklaus:

“There are always new places to go fishing. For any fisherman, there’s always a new place, always a new horizon”

Know Your Target

There’s no way we’re going to get on a boat to go on the water and fish for crappies without familiarizing ourselves with them in the first place. That’s like saying that you know the Starbucks secret menu and end up ordering a regular caramel frappuccino. You gotta know what you’re after, and in this case we’re after the crappie fish.

As pointed out earlier before the crappie fish is located mostly in the Northern American regions, and to be more exact, these are the North American regions where you can find them:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

To get a better idea, here’s a map you can check out:

Source: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/crappie-nation-the-most-popular-panfish-of-this-or-any-other-time/155017

These locations are going to help you capitalize on your catches, and will eliminate the hassle of guessing where to go and find the best fishing spots. Not only that, but if there’s a region you haven’t visited on this list, and you’re curious about it, now is the perfect chance to plan a trip and explore a new area. After all, fishing is all about exploring new horizons and this is a great perk you can take advantage of from the fishing world.

The Sun and Depth Go Hand In Hand

This is to be expected when the research shows that the best times to go fishing for crappies are on the dusk or dawn hours. This means that when there’s less sun out on the sky, there are more crappie fish out on top water levels. However, this also means that when the sun is out, these types of fish are going to stay from these water levels because the heat from the sun makes it very uncomfortable for them to breathe. Especially in the summertime.

So what does this mean for you?

It means that go into the waters to find the crappie fish schools that are trying to stay away from the sun.

Luckily, you don’t have to go to the deepest parts of the lake to find them!

Crappie fish like to stay close to their feeding grounds, and they also tend to stay in water levels that are rich in oxygen. They don’t go into the deeper waters because they won’t find what they need l to sustain themselves at those levels; giving you the benefit of avoiding throwing too much of your line to try and catch them.

Also keep in mind these types of fish have a preference for hiding from the sun in weed spaces and boulders, finding these spots shall give you more options to keep your fishing game even after the sun is out and you didn’t listen to your alarm go off early in the morning. It happens to the best of us.

The Bait That Works Best

Thanks to the fact that the crappie fish has a varied diet, finding a bait for it to catch isn’t difficult. The real challenge is to figure out which one is the most effective out of all of the different types of critters the crappie fish feed on. Also, there’s the question as to whether or not artificial baits work with a similar rate of effectiveness as the natural live bait.

Well, it has been found that out of all the live baits available for luring crappies, the minnows are the favorite choice used by most fishermen due to its clear coloring and ideal small size to attract their attention. This choice is even more popular than the commonly used choices that are worms and insects.

Here is a picture of what a minnow looks like, so you identify right away next time you find yourself in the fishing store:

Souce:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnow

When it comes to artificial baits, the colors matter more than the texture or shape of the bait. Especially when it comes to the time of day and the clarity of the water. For instance, using artificial grubs with bright colors are perfect for bright sunny days and clear waters. On darker waters it is best to use bait that reflect as much color as possible. On cloudy skies, it’s best to go for darker artificial grubs with a flash to them to attract attention.

As far as shapes go, the three most popular choices are the jigs, grubs, and spinners.

Here’s an image of what they look like:

Source:https://www.ebait.com/baitrigs/product/SS-80.html

THE FISHING ROD MATTERS

This is something that may be probably unexpected because most of us think of bringing a fishing rod with some weight added to it that can help us get an edge catching fish. That’s not the case when it comes to crappie fishing. In fact, using heavy rods only ends up working against you because of the fact that crappie fish have very soft mouths and the hook might not catch them properly.

It’s best to use a light or an ultra-light fishing rod with fast action for the purpose of setting your hook faster, and use that extra time more effectively catching fish.

Related Questions

Are there other seasons in which crappie fish can be caught?

Yes, as the matter of fact the winter is an ideal season for catching crappie fish. There’s even a method known as ice fishing in which fishermen take crappies out from frozen lakes and ponds.

Is it necessary to use minnows as live bait?

Although they are the preferred choice, the minnows are not necessary for the purpose of using live bait. Worms and other grubs can also be used for live bait. There are also artificial baits available in case live isn’t an option, or they ran out of them at the fishing stores.

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Crappie Fishing

What Does A Crappie Look Like?

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Out of the many fish out there in the world, the crappie is one of the most fun game fish to catch. It dwells in waters of all 48 contiguous States and in Canada to this day. But despite its popularity, many beginner fishers have no clue what it looks like.

So, what does a crappie look like? Well the term crappie can refer to either the white or black crappie which have slightly different features but have similar shape, sizes and habitats. If you are interested in crappie gear check out my recommended gear page.

They live in freshwater and dwell in areas with underwater brush, rocks and weeds. There’s also a ton of neat ways to be catching them, and interesting facts to these little guys.

Here are some good hooks for crappie fishing. size 8-12 are great!

  • White crappies will have vertical bars on their body.
  • Black crappies will have spots all over.
  • Black crappies dorsal fins will also have needle-like fins compared to white which have a smooth arch.
  • Black crappies are shorter and “stubbier” than the white crappie.
Black Crappie
White Crappie by Michael Mizell

So, I’d encourage you to read on and learn more about crappies and their way of life.

The Difference Between White and Black Crappie

The average crappie weighs in between ½ and 1 pound and measures between 5 to 12 inches. Considering this is the average, the crappie can grow to much larger or smaller sizes. Regardless of the type of crappie, they are very social and can form schools in the areas they live in.

But with all that said, I did mention that there were two different kinds of crappie out there: white and black. Even though the crappie live in all kinds of different parts in the US and in Canada, there are some differences that are worth discussing.

After all, even though you and I call them white and black crappie, the features of their skin aren’t always key indicators of which kind of crappie you caught. Both the white and black crappie can be completely light or dark.

Instead, you want to be looking at more distinct features of the fish to tell the difference.

Color aside, the first big indicator is the markings on their body.

If you can’t tell the difference between their markings, don’t worry. There are other factors as well. For example, you can check the dorsal spines of the fish too. Black crappies will have seven or eight dorsal fins. Dorsal means the top fin. White have fewer of these fins – either five or six.

The other thing to note is that black crappies dorsal fins will also have needle-like fins compared to white which have a smooth arch.

The final distinction is the body itself. Black crappies are shorter and “stubbier” than the white crappie.

Need CHUM ? Here’s an article you might like about chum for crappie.

Where Do Crappie Live?

As I mentioned before, crappies live in freshwater where there is plenty of underwater brush, rocks and weeds for them. That said, now that you know there are white and black ones, they have different dwellings and swimming patterns. Generally speaking, though, crappie will be found in deeper water during the summer and shallow water during the spring.

Getting into more specifics where each type live isn’t too different. They both have the same kind of diet which makes sense since they look pretty much the same. The only big difference really comes down to the water they prefer swimming in.

First off, black crappies prefer the clear water and will avoid any kind of turbid or muddy spots. White crappie couldn’t care less and will leave in either clear or murkier areas. This could be the reason for some white crappies being darker in color.

On top of the water clarity, black crappies also love to be around plenty of vegetation that they can hide in. Again, weeds, brush and the like are things they love a lot. White crappies don’t mind being out in the open. In fact, if you’re looking for white crappie, you might have better luck checking out open water areas in the river.

But despite all of what I said, they’re not just found in rivers and streams as you’d think. Because the crappies don’t have a particular preference for waters in general, they can show up in lakes, ponds, backwaters pools as well. When you’re at larger lakes and reservoirs, they’ll likely be hanging around in the shallow side usually in under 12 feet of water.

What Do Crappie Eat?

Now that you know that crappies can be flexible in habitat to a degree, it shouldn’t be a surprise that their diet is rather diverse. As you might expect, they do eat smaller fish. However, what’s interesting is that they’ll even go after the young of fish that would normally eat them such as the walleye or northern pike. Talk about a bold fish.

Beyond that, crappie will also be eating insects, crustaceans, as well as zooplankton.

What Are Some Crappie Fishing Tips?

If this is your first time going out to catch crappie you are in for a treat. The name of these fish are clearly an injustice as again they are very fun to catch and they are delicious to eat as well. But you can use all of this information above to your advantage to make catching these fish easier and enjoy your reward.

Since you know their diet by this point, you can tackle it from that angle. This will come in the form of your lure. Suitable lure for them are small jigs. Actually, those would be the best bait to be using.

That said, I wouldn’t blame you if you are using live bait. The only thing to note is to ensure the hook is the proper size. If it’s too small, the crappie will get off of it with no problem. If it’s too big, the crappie can’t latch onto it at all.

If you’re thinking of live bait, I would recommend using minnows. All you have to do is hook the minnow right below its dorsal fin and cast it out. Since crappies love small fish in general, they’re going to love munching on these.

Another angle you can approach is their habitat. Regardless of the type of crappie you’re going after, these fish will prefer deeper water in the summer and shallow water in the spring. Use that to your advantage when picking a spot. Even do this during fishing as well. Don’t be afraid to cast into deeper water at times.

Something else worth noting is that crappies also are active during the wintertime making them great for ice fishing.

Crappies also have a spawning phase between May and June, so you’ll have better odds of catching more fish during those times. Trust me, you’ll have a much easier time during that time since a female crappie will lay between 5,000 and 60,000 eggs. The eggs will then hatch between two to five days. As you can guess, they’re fertile breeders and they can over-populate small bodies of water easily if the population isn’t controlled.

Whenever you do catch a crappie, don’t be so quick to move to other spots. Even outside of spawning season, you can find many crappies in a particular spot. Furthermore, when holding a crappie, you want to put its bottom lip between your thumb and bent pointer finger. You want to maintain a tight grip.

Also, before you go out and catch them, it pays to look at state/province fishing regulations. Ensure your permit is up to date and look at additional rules. Some states will have a length and daily limits so take note of those. They may also have a certain amount of fish you can keep in a single day too.

Get Out and Catch Some Crappie

If you can follow the rules and regulations and take note of these tips, you can have a lot of fun catching crappie. Fishing around the month of May and June can ensure you keep reeling in a large amount of fish so long as you have the proper kind of bait. Regardless of it the fish is black or white these fish are a treat all the same.

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Crappie Fishing

Do Crappie Eat Crawfish?

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Generally, most anglers will fall into at least two different camps: there are those who just want to fish for any species of fish whatsoever, and there are also those who want to specialize and try to catch just one specific fish. (I like them all.)

Indeed, there are literally millions of individuals who will attempt to catch such breeds as salmon, trout, catfish, perch, bluegills, and many others. Moreover, among the ones who specialize, there is also a large group of individuals that not only love the sport of fishing, but they will also debate until the cows come home about the best techniques to catch said species.

Here are some good hooks for crappie fishing. size 8-12 are great!

Cody Davis Crappie

One example of this would have to be those who try to catch crappies. Indeed, one of the biggest debates among crappie fishermen would have to be over just what this breed of fish will eat. The short answer is all kinds of stuff, but this leads us to our next pressing question…

Will Crappie Eat Crawfish?

Yes crappie do eat crawfish if they have the opportunity but keep in mind that crappie prefer to eat upward and crawfish are usually found on the bottom. Find a way to present a crawdad to a crappie though and they will eat it.

If you need some excellent crappie fishing lures including crawfish, I have given my favorites in my resources page HERE.

Actually, that’s a bit of a loaded question. Before we get to an appropriate answer for that, we need to fully understand some other questions first:

What Do Crappie Normally Eat, Anyway?

First of all, you should fully understand the normal diet of crappie, and then you just might understand why there is such an intense debate over whether they eat crawfish or not. Generally, crappie will eat such things as zooplankton, grass shrimp, minnows, and immature species of fish such as walleye, bluegill, pike, and even crappie themselves. They will even eat frogs. You might notice that no, I didn’t mention crawfish in that list, but trust me, the jury is still out on this question. Let’s look at the next wrinkle…

What Do Crappie Eat When Food is Scarce?

Of course, we’ve already established that crappie will eat just about anything that they can wrap their mouths around, but what about when food is scarce? Although some anglers still insist that the crappie will still NEVER eat a crawfish EVER, would the crappie do it then? The answer, according to most anecdotal accounts, would be an emphatic yes, they most definitely would.

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You see, crappies are largely known as an opportunistic species. Simply put, they are not picky eaters at all. Their typical food choices such as minnows or small fish won’t be available in the winter or the early spring, and so that means that these crappie will have no choice but to go with crustaceans such as crawfish or insects such as crickets or larvae instead of their preferred diet. Of course, you as an angler can use that to your advantage and lengthen the time you have to try to fish for crappie throughout the year.

Need CHUM ? Here’s an article you might like about chum for crappie.

There’s Plenty of Anecdotal Evidence

Of course, even though there are always going to be a significant number of people who insist that crappie will never eat crawfish, there are also plenty of anglers throughout the United States and beyond that have anecdotal evidence that crappie will indeed go after crawfish. For instance, there was a gentleman who was fishing on a well-known river in Ohio, and to begin with he was using the typical minnow bait to catch his crappie.

However, he decided that he wanted to try for some other fish for a little while, so he switched his bait to crawfish. It didn’t take too long before something blasted his line, and although he thought that it was going to be a large bass, it turned out to be a fairly good-sized crappie!

Moreover, there was yet another instance where an individual was fishing on an Illinois river when he was a small boy, and he and his uncle were initially going after the bluegills, but he landed a crappie instead! Although he was just six years old, he was hooked for life! There is yet another individual in Louisiana who said he has cleaned out more crappies than he could count that had the remains of a crawfish in their stomach. Indeed, there are stories like this all over the United States, so you can certainly rest assured that crappie will absolutely go after crawfish if the need arises.

What About Their “Feeding Down” Habit?

Of course, part of the reason why some people are so adamant that you cannot use crawfish as bait for crappie is because this type of fish would have to “feed down” in order to eat them. However, they fail to realize that these crappies will go to some tremendous lengths to get food if they need to. Yes, they will normally “feed up” to obtain food, but if the only way for them to get their food is to “feed down”, then they are not against doing that. All I’m saying is, yes, the crappies will definitely change their behavior if it means that they are in for a free meal.

Hey FISHMONGER – make sure to check out my FISHING RESOURCES page.

Obtaining Your Crawfish

Now that you know that yes, you can definitely catch crappie using crawfish as bait, you’re probably wondering just how you would go about getting the crawfish. Well, there are plenty of ways to do it, but one method would be to go out at night with a flashlight and a dip net and look for them along the streams. This is a good way to find them if you are the adventurous type of course. Another method that some have found to be easier would be to simply look for them during the day. Some people enjoy turning over rocks in order to try to find them. Of course, you’ve got to be quick! You’ll soon find out that these crawfish are very quick! Persistence is key. Of course, once you catch them, you will have another concern.

How Do You Keep Them Fresh?

That’s another good question. One of the best ways to do that would be through using styrofoam coolers. You can fill them with layers of wet newspapers, because you have to make sure that the crawfish are kept cool. However, some don’t like this method because it takes up too much space on their boat. Another way to do it would be through placing them in a flow-through minnow bait bucket. Taking the inner bucket of the exterior bucket will allow the crawfish to continue to have air.

How Do I Hook a Live Crawfish?

One of the best ways to hook a live crawfish would be on an “upwards” trajectory through the tail of the crawfish from the bottom just shy of a half-inch from the end. This method still allows the crawfish to have some natural movement when you cast it out. Another method would be to hook the crawfish through the bony horn of their head. This is a method many crawfish bait enthusiasts prefer because it prevents the crawfish from crawling under a rock and hanging up your line.

Whatever method you choose for hooking your crawfish, you can rest assured that the crappie will indeed go after them. They are hungry fish! Go ahead and try this method for crappie fishing during the off-season, and you just might be in luck.

Darren Enns Author has been married to the same lucky woman for 30 years.

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