Author Topic: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths  (Read 8239 times)

Offline Fejery4491

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Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:22 AM »
I'm a pretty new fisherman (and even more so new to hardwater fishing) and I've been having difficulties getting fish to bite. I'm setup in about 24 feet of water in a large lake. Probably marking 50-100 fish a night. Only getting 2-3 fish up an evening usually around 3-4 hours of fishing. The only thing I've gotten bites on is small jigs with a minnow. I've tried numerous other combinations of waxxies, all sorts of different colors, artificial baits, with no luck. It's worth mentioning that fishing pressure is pretty high on this lake and its nearly 6300 acres so there's plenty of room to move to a different spot but being as inexperienced as I am, I'm not really the best at fishing "honey holes" and there seems to be loads of fish where I'm at. Over the last 3 nights my wife and myself have gotten 10 crappies and every one we've pulled up has been between 11-13". I'm just stumped, any pointers from some of you more experienced guys? I'm ready to try just about anything!

Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #1 on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:33 AM »
Could be Gills mixed in your batch ...they sometimes can frustrate  you as they may or may not bite but just mess with you  . Have you tried fishing above the fish ...the most aggressive will then have to rise to the occasion ...minnow heads pinched so as to leave a scent trail ...if done right some entrails should be dangling .... Hard to beat a glow lure ...white seems to work by me . Are you using a lantern ? Also tip downs work well ...mostly use them to decoy them in...set them high and close to your hot hole .
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Offline river rat78

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #2 on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:37 AM »
Are you using a spring bobber or paying attention to your line? I'm only asking because you can be getting bites without even realizing it. Anytime your line goes slack set the hook. Chances are it's a crappie. Bluegills will also do this at times.

Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #3 on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:39 AM »
Are you using a spring bobber or paying attention to your line? I'm only asking because you can be getting bites without even realizing it. Anytime your line goes slack set the hook. Chances are it's a crappie. Bluegills will also do this at times.

Also with spring bobbers look for the "UP BITE"... ;)2
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Offline Fejery4491

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #4 on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:45 AM »
Thanks for the replies guys! I'm using those foam slip bobbers cut down a fair bit. Without some sort of bobber you'd never know a fish was on. It's extremely light bite. I'll setting up a new rod right now, I'll put a spring bobber on and see if that helps!

Offline river rat78

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #5 on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:49 AM »
If you're looking for crappies to hammer your bait try using a small jigging rapala.

Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #6 on: Jan 30, 2016, 10:52 AM »
Also are you using light 2,3,4 # works best ....also a good Ball Bearing swivel ...if your lures spin its a NO NO  :nono:
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Offline river rat78

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #7 on: Jan 30, 2016, 11:13 AM »
Sometimes they just might not be active. I fish this one lake where I will mark a lot of fish but have a hard time getting them to bite. When I find them on the hunt away from the school they are more willing to bite.

Offline Swift

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #8 on: Jan 30, 2016, 12:07 PM »
Sometimes they just aren't into minnow imitations but will take a smallish tungsten jig with plastic imitating a nymph or leech. May not be hungry, just a curiosity take or between meals munch. Taking a couple can sometimes get a tough bite started into something. Agree that better 'gills often cruise with the crappies during the day

Offline slipperybob

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #9 on: Feb 07, 2016, 12:43 PM »
In my experience, when I end up on a stack of crappies that just won't bite, its like that's their sleeping room.  Often when I move to like a few hundred feet to few hundred yards or so, I will find the transition zone where schools of crappies are moving out for feeding or just coming back from feeding and still willing to bite. 
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Offline brown-time

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #10 on: Feb 13, 2016, 03:07 PM »
Later in the season we have to go small starting first with red glow and white glow 4mm tungsten jigs tipped with either a waxie hooked in the middle or 2 spikes hooked just behind the black spot on their head and dangling.  One set a foot or yep above the top suspended crappie.  Sometimes they want a real slow dropping jig so glow rat finke's size 10 fit that niche.

Offline CrappieGuy

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #11 on: Sep 28, 2016, 02:58 PM »
Setup with one jig pole and one Tip Down with a minnow on it.  Tip Downs work great for those finicky high pressured Crappies.


Offline bart

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #12 on: Sep 28, 2016, 04:25 PM »
I would recommend a spring bobber also, and still... watch the line. Have a dead stick set up also. Last resort, tip downs.
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Offline hardwater diehard

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #13 on: Oct 01, 2016, 10:01 AM »
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Offline UFCreel

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #14 on: Oct 06, 2016, 11:22 AM »
Gary Parsons nailed it.  :tipup:
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Offline Chris338378

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #15 on: Oct 06, 2016, 12:21 PM »
Use 2 to 4 pound line max, try going smaller such as a size 12 or 14 jig with a waxie or a spike, try different colored jigs (I'd start with a red glow), as others have said set up a tip-down or if you can't do that lay your rod on a bucket with a good spring bobber.  Also make sure your jig isn't spinning by using a barrel swivel with a six inch leader.

Offline hnd

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #16 on: Dec 14, 2016, 01:27 PM »
i would guess they aren't crappies but baitfish.  see it a hundred times.  if i could have back all the time i've spent jigging schools of baitfish, i'd have at least a week of time on my hands. 

Offline HardH20Fishin

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #17 on: Aug 06, 2017, 04:32 PM »
Great tips...thanks.
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Offline Sylvanboat

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #18 on: Nov 26, 2020, 08:01 PM »
i would guess they aren't crappies but baitfish.  see it a hundred times.  if i could have back all the time i've spent jigging schools of baitfish, i'd have at least a week of time on my hands.

Perfect time for a camera.

Offline Agronomist_at_IA

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #19 on: Nov 27, 2020, 01:53 AM »
i would guess they aren't crappies but baitfish.  see it a hundred times.  if i could have back all the time i've spent jigging schools of baitfish, i'd have at least a week of time on my hands.

hnd is correct. Unless you have a camera.....you will never know. I've spent countless hours fishing picking off a fish here or there because we had "fish" all over the vexilar. Sure we had/have fish.....but it's 95%+ small bait fish and the one or two fish we caught had came in to feed on the baitfish.

When it is dark or not good enough conditions for checking with a camera....here is how you tell. Find the smallest tungsten jig you can put on and still feel the line with a single small spike. Keep a finger on the line to feel the bite. If you are feeling small hits/nibbles/light bites, but can actually hook the fish......it's more then likely a bunch of bait fish. They just bite the small spike, but the hook isn't small enough to fit in there mouth. Even a perch the size of your pinky finger can be caught on a small tungsten with a spike....baitfish..... I never was able to actually hook one.

Once you establish that your on baitfish.....you need to decide.....do I stay and fish in them waiting for fish......if so watching the size of Mark on the sonar will tell you which Mark is an acceptable size fish to try and jig for...

Overall for what I've experianced fishing in bait fish schools isn't worth the time.....to much forage for the fish to choose over your presentation & your catch rate sucks.....

Offline Iceassin

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Re: Difficult crappies. Hundreds of fish without mouths
« Reply #20 on: Nov 27, 2020, 03:49 AM »
If and when you've determined that they are Crappie, sometimes you have to let them take the bait...especially with minnows. Quite often they will peck*peck*peck before taking it in completely. If using a float bobber, put a little slack in the line and let them take it below the surface of the water an inch or two before setting the hook. It's worked for me. Just something else to try.
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