Tag Archives: fishing off season

Finding Crappie on Docks

You know the local lake that you spend all your time fishing? The one with all those houses that line the shore – the houses with all the boat docks? Those docks might be clogged with people loading and unloading boats and having all kinds of fun, but some of the best crappie fishing can be found directly below them at almost any time of year.

So what is it about these docks? It doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re fishing, if you’ve got crappie in the water, they’re bound be around these docks. Granted, crappie love certain docks more than others (wooden docks seem to hold more crappie than metal ones), but once you figure out which docks they prefer and what kinds of baits and tackle work best around this structure, there will be nothing stopping you from stocking the livewell with big slabs of crappie.

Prespawn Flippin & Pitchin with Denny Brauer

By: Denny Brauer

There’s a lot of variance in February around the country when it comes to bass fishing. Some of the fish will be up on the beds and others will be just starting to move towards the beds. One thing is for certain, however, they’ll all be thinking about the spawn. That means they’re vulnerable to a flipping or pitching approach.

Look for them around suitable spawning areas. Generally that’ll be in the thickest cover they can find near a hard bottom area. I usually start near pockets or other backwater spots, but you always have to keep in mind where you’re fishing. If backwater spots are few and far between on your water, you might want to look around to see what else is available. I’ve seen many a largemouth bed on a big tree limb in standing timber over 40 feet of water. In Florida they often spawn on pad roots.

Spring Crappie Tips from a Legend

BY: Bob McNally

Sam Heaton, who has been around fishing all his life, spent 25 years as a crappie guide on Alabama’s famed Weiss Lake. In time, he moved along in his fishing career, and now he is one of the primary in-the-field men for MinnKota and Humminbird.

But Heaton still knows crappies, and he catches them across America like few others can. In fact, his instructional Crappie Fishing Techniques remains one of Bass Pro Shops’ best-selling DVDs of all time—more than 25 years after it was introduced.

Although spring is often heralded as the top time for catching spawning fish, Heaton believes that the true key to spring crappie success is understanding the subtle differences in spring spawning phases.

Water temperature sets up the drama. The optimal temperature for spawning varies according to lake size, depth, and water clarity, current (in a river), and other factors. But generally, crappies spawn when water temperature is between 57 and 65 degrees. Here are Heaton’s tips for catching crappies through all three spawning phases.

4 Pros – 4 Baits YOU Need to Use Now

By: Don Wirth

Bass are cold-blooded creatures, meaning their body temperature is the same as that of their surroundings. As the water temperature drops, their digestive process slows dramatically – according to “Bass Professor” Doug Hannon, it takes a bass about four hours to digest a meal in 80-degree water, four days in 50-degree water! As the water temperature plummets, the need for frequent feeding diminishes, and bass become exponentially less active. But then, if you’ve ever gone strikeless on a chilly early spring bass outing, you already knew that!

Bass pros and guides are on the water constantly, and must identify productive methods for catching bass when the lake water is frigid. Choosing the right lure is a huge part of this equation. If you’re having trouble scoring strikes when the water temp drops below 50 degrees, study what follows carefully…and heat up your next bass outing!

Early Spring Smallmouth

BY: Spence Petros

At last the water temperature was right for smallmouths. After two days of fishing for walleyes and pike during a spring warm trend, the water temperature finally hit the magic 55° mark in the shallow bay near camp. As we slowly motored toward a sheltered section of shoreline along the north bank of a large sandy bay, I felt that the fishless areas of the last two days should now harbor cruising, hungry pre-spawn smallies ready to slam into our lures. My partner thought I was crazy, wondering how a shallow flat area that was barren of fish for several days, could suddenly come alive by having a water temperature increase of only a few degrees.

Early Spring Crappie Tips

By Tony Kalna Jr.
As winter’s grip loosens, waters are warming and the crappie are getting active. Here’s how you can get an early jump on the action.
As a game fish, crappie have a following among die-hard sporting anglers as strong as serious sports fans have for major league baseball. When the hot-stove league of baseball is heating up and spring training begins, the crappie fishing and the interest for it is beginning to heat up as well.

Mark Menendez: Cold Water Cranking

Strike King pro Mark Menendez loves crankbait fishing. And he fishes crankbaits year-round – not just early spring and summer, like many anglers do. So who better to talk about which crankbaits are great for winter fishing, and why.

“I like fishing in the winter time by covering water instead of fishing painfully, miserable slow,” he says. “I mean, you are fishing slow with a crankbait this time of year, but not like you’re fishing with fly-and-rind or jig.”

How KVD Targets Winter Bass

By: Kevin VanDam

Catching bass during winter can be a hit or miss proposition, but the productive days can provide some mighty fond memories.

Finding the places that winter bass use may be your biggest challenge, but that can be made easier with good fishing electronics and a tank of gas. I say that because this is the time of year when I spend a lot of time at the wheel, motoring around the most likely spots watching for shad and bass to appear on the sonar screen.