4-21-13 – Pre-Spawn Crappie and Chubby Gills

With temps in the low 20’s, we weren’t rushing out the door this morning. We knew the bite wouldn’t pick up until the water temperature did. We were guessing on the way down that the water would be between 47 and 48 because of the recent weather. Today, it was suppose to warm up but wearing our blue suits from Ice Armor was still a good idea.

After launching the boat and letting the transducer adjust to the water temperature, our guess of 47-48 degrees was a little low. It was actually hovering at 46. For much of the morning, the fish were inactive. It took a while for us to catch a fish and even longer to stay put in one spot that held multiple. We did see that as the water warmed the fish became more active.

At first, the bites were very light. The fish weren’t committing and getting hook ups proved very difficult. As the water warmed the bites came more frequently and much harder. We found one sweet spot as the water temperature peaked. There was a warm pocket of water pushed up in a corner. It was 54 and we were sitting in 52. As we would work our baits from shore back towards the boat, we found that the crappie were stacked up on the edge of an isolated weed patch. They were hanging 2-3 feet down in 8 feet of water.

This bite lasted for a while but we found that it was spotty. We were only able to catch a handful of fish at a time before they would stop biting. The best method we found was to back out after catching a few and then return after checking other spots then to get back in quietly. We could tell the fish were aggressive by the way that our bobbers went down. There was no slow and steady pull. Instead, it was a fast pull and run with no problems with hookups.

The crappie bite only lasted for a little over an hour before shutting off. Fortunately for us, the bluegill finally had woken up and were active. For these, we set our bobbers a little higher and fished in shallower water, in the weeds, and closer to the bottom. Most bites came as soon as a cast hit the water but if not they wanted it moving slowly.

We used three baits today. Because the water was cold, the fish were mostly inactive. We used our go to plastic the “Live” Baby Shad from Lake Fork Trophy Lures. This bait produced some slabs but also quite a few short strikes. For crappie, the best bait was a 1″ Gulp! Minnow. For bluegill, the top producing weight was the old faithful worm.  Sometimes live bait just outproduces everything else!

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