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Minnows, really big crappies and fall fishing

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Years past I had the privelage of knowing and fishing with a gentleman who was a trophy crappie hunter. He has since passed away, however, I think of him often this time of year because that is when he was at his very best and consistently caught monster crappies. Jerry was a thinker, deep thinker. His choice of ammunition, minnows.
No, I am not talking crappie minnows like one would normally ask the bait shop for.
He used medium sized shiners like those going after sauger and walleyes. I used to give him a bad time about them and insisted he was a closet sauger/walleye fisherman and just got lucky with crappies. He would just smile and look down into his bucket brimming over with huge crappies. He would slowly explain to me that I had to remember the size of a large crappies mouth and the fact that crappie was so big. Sure he started out eating little bugs but as he got bigger, his appetite grew right along with him. He would then proceed to cast out and within a few minutes, bang another monster, many of which went right around two pounds. He would laugh and say he could catch crappies that ounce for ounce were bigger then some sauger and walleyes that fisherman were using the same shiner type minnows.
Thanks Jerry for the thought provoking memories.

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Ron...There are times when size apparently doesn't matter to crappies as far as food goes. I have taken many crappies, both spring and fall, jig fishing for waldo/sauger from shore. I have taken countless craps while trolling bait for waldo/ sauger and I have taken scores of the craps trolling number 11 and 13 raps for waldos and sauger. It is my theory that water temp/time of year comes into play with this. As the water warms in the spring, thru the summer months, and then slowly begins to lose temperature in the fall, the fish's metabolism is such that food is readily processed....they eat more often and demand larger offerings. At times the size of what they are willing to eat is governed only by how big thier chops are and a large crappie does have, in fact, a big mouth. If you are a devout bait fisherman, you will have had to notice the obvious preference to baits that get smaller and smaller as the winter water temps clamp down on the fish. Then again in the spring as water begins to open up, they begin taking larger minnows- the larger minnows correlate with the water temp...warmer=larger. Crappies are interesting fish to follow. Not only are they one of the most adaptable fish in fresh water, the way they behave makes them one of the most challenging as well. Understanding how water temperature is perhaps the biggest burden in figuring out how these fish operate and in this northern tier pile of states water temp is dictated by season. Right now is the season of large fish, thus larger baits may be needed.

Sure life happens- why wait....The Crapster....good fishing guys!

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