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Crappies and their Cousins

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Crappies at this time of year can be easy to catch. However, harvesting the slab sized fish may be a little more tricky. Certain things like playing "keep away" with a slab Crappie may trigger a hit. Other things, like "horizontal jig orientation" makes all the world of difference. As far as bull "gills" go, the same jig postioning principles applie, however you made need to refine your approach with your worm. When hooking the worm on your jig, be sure to thread the hook through the worm and make sure that the entire hook is covered, including the tip. If fish seem picky to bite, try mushing the worm some. Alot of time this helps trigger a bull bluegill bite.

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Pro Crappie Guide,
If your looking for how to catch crappies, see the articles sections of this website or other ice fishing websites, crappies are fun to catch and tasty too!

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thank you for your input, however I am not looking for suggestions on how to catch Crappies, but rather offering advice to help anglers "nab" those pound craps.

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"Gaurdian Fish" is something that few people are aware of...and would never know exist without the aid of electronics.
But gaurdian fish can hinder an effort to catch fish. A gaurdian fish is typically a single fish suspended about 2-4 feet above the rest of the school. Other fish will not come above this fish, and typically the so called "gaurdian fish" is not catchable.
However, if you do catch the guardian fish it is typically a large sized one. Are the fish really that smart? I dont know but its a trend I have seen on many lakes when fishing panfish.

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Do you think you could catch me 15 guardian fish?
IF so, that would be great, I would luv a fresh meal of fish!!! smile.gif


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Sure thing skeets. A limit of "Guardian fish".
This is just a term used to describe the fish as there is no other way to explain them. Most people laugh at the mention of "gaurdian fish" and I don't blame them. It is just a pattern I have found many time when fishing Crappies and Bluegills. The fish below still bite, and hold decent sizes, but takes a little different approach to entice them to bite. I usually never let my jig get any closer then 3 feet to the top of the school, which makes the fish have to "chase" my bait to even check it out....which usually triggers a hit. Otherwise, with a so called "Guardian fish" present, the bite is lighter, and more finicky

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The best jigs in my opinion are lead heads. Some believe in teardrops in the winter, but I prefer a jig that I can set horizontially on my line. By that I mean, so the head of the jig is horizontal to the hook, rather then a 45 degree angle or straight up and down. I have caught Crappies 10-1 by using this method when others aren't.
Also, the best color, regardless of water clarity is a solid graphite(lead)color.
My best success comes from taking a #8 or #10 plain dark shank hook, and taking the smallest lead split shot I can find and crimping it right on the hook, without tipping it with any bait. The fish eagerly race to investigate and suck the bait in to see what it is. However, if you don't have electronics on the ice(namely an FL-8) the bite you usually goes undetected. When the signals on the screen come together I set the hook and the fish is there most of the time. Sometimes it takes some experimentation with timing, like a one-thousand-one count before setting the hook, but once you find the right timing fishing can be fast and exciting. This tactic works good for bluegills too. But the same rule applies: the hook MUST be horizontal. So you might need to experiment with placement of the sinker on the hook to help "balance" the jig out.
After dark I prefer to use a silver or bright colored jig in clear water(5 feet and better) tipped with a minnow or wax worm. In darker water, two tones seem to work best. (pink and yellow)tipped with the same baits.

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  • 3 weeks later...

thanks for the tips pro crappie guide!
When is your favorite time to crappie fish (location, weather) and what do you use? Also I know this is a question that you might prefer to leave unanswered and thats ok if you do, but do you have a favorite crappie lake?

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Time and weather play a major factor in fish activity...
It really depends on the lake I am on as to what time I head out to the spot, and weather varies too.
Some lakes, usually with darker water, the fish bite better with some sunshine, and clearer lakes fish do better with overcast skies.
If the lake is clear, I fish early morning and late evening, the twighlight hours.
If the lake is stained I fish all day.
Also, maximum depth makes a difference, as shallower water has more light penetration.
Its all trial and error until you find what works best for the lake you're on.
My favorite Crappie lake changes everytime I change lakes.
The Aitkin area has alot of quality fishing for Crappies.
Happy New Year

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