The Not So Crappie Fishing

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When it is late summer, all of your hunting seasons have long gone, and fishing during the day is unbearable due to the heat…I may have a solution for you. All you need is a boat, a few submergible lights, and as many rod and reels as you can afford. I start out my afternoon by loading up the boat and going over all my gear and equipment; after that I head to Milledgeville Georgia to lake Sinclair which is about 45 minutes from my house. The boat ramp I use, has a gas station that doubles as a mini bait and tackle shop; this is where I grab 50 to 100 minnows and strike out to my honey hole. Just like all other honey holes that people claim as theirs, this one is mine (no, I will not disclose the location); however,  I will give you some good tips to find your own or who knows, I may pull up to you sitting in mine. First, you should look at a map of the lake…look for the big channels off of the main body of the lake. I have fished in the main body and done well but trust me it is not worth the trouble. At night boat traffic can still be high and when the wakes from the larger lake boats hit my 1648 Jon Boat it seems like I am in a scene on Deadliest Catch taking on the Bering Sea. In other words, look for big channels with smaller channels branching off from there (area away from the vacation crowd). Next, is just the trial and error part of it…turn on your depth finder and look for deep water that is close to the bank. Ideally you want to see anywhere from 20 to 30 or more feet of water and close to the bank, or heck even better a persons dock with a light that possibly feeds fish. For example, my area that I typically fish is about 40 yards from a dock and the depth is around 32 feet(depending on how much water the power company is retaining or releasing into the Oconee River). This takes time but is well worth the wait. Never be afraid to ask locals for spots or to help point you in a good direction. The worst they can say is no.

I usually pull up to my spot, drop anchor not long after the sun has set, get my lights tied to the boat and finally drop them down in the water. It usually takes a while before the minnows show up in numbers, sometimes up to an hour. The lights attract zooplankton which then attracts minnows which then….. you get the picture. Once the lights do their job it is truly a sight to see watching crappie dart through illuminated water chasing minnows. Now it’s time to wet some hooks. I always start fishing with all my poles at different depths to see exactly where the fish are. Once I reel the first fish in I use that pole’s depth as the standard for the rest. Don’t get complacent…it wouldn’t be uncommon for the bite to disappear and have to find the depth all over again. Once they start biting it is a race to get that fish off the hook, in the cooler, and bait the hook with another minnow before another rod is already bent over so far the tip is in the water.

The crappie seem to come in waves like you would see in a old zombie horror film. Once the bite slows down, you’re really able to take in the cool breeze blowing across the lake and enjoy the eerie quietness that you wouldn’t expect being on a large lake surrounded by vacation homes. I usually take this down time to hydrate with a beverage of my liking and maybe eat a snack. Before you know it, you will be back struggling with two or three rods at a time trying get the fish in the boat. From a distance, I am sure it looks like I am performing at a marionette show with all the fishing lines dangling beneath me. I fish through the night, to midnight, and beyond. Actually for me midnight to around 1 A.M seems to be the golden hour; this leads me to a myth I would like to debunk…when I was younger my mom always told me “that nothing good ever happens after midnight”. Whelp, sorry mom but in the case of crappie fishing, you’re wrong!

I highly encourage getting out there and experiencing it for yourself at any lake. It brings a calmness to me that is hard to find in daily life.  I have done my best to put into words what it feels like to be out on the lake at night but truthfully, I don’t think anything I type could come close to experiencing it for yourself.

Last modified: January 28, 2020