Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
March 13, 2012

Andy Whitcomb

A Crappie Time

Crappie is a very popular sport fish in the U.S. Though crappie rarely exceed more than a couple of pounds and are not known to be great fighters, they have a huge number of fans.  According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey in 2006, there were 6.2 million dedicated crappie anglers.

Even Elite Bassmaster Pro Gerald Swindle ranks the crappie as his second favorite fish to catch, right behind the largemouth bass.

Why?

“It’s the taste, Man!”

I’m anxious for Spring.  In fact in Oklahoma, Spring seems to be anxious for Spring. And reading Keith Sutton’s new “The Crappie Fishing Handbook” this time of year is not helping to ease my anxiety level.

This book is extensive, and packed with interesting info. For example, there are at least 50 common names for crappie.  Usually sometime between mid March and mid April, the water reaches 56 degrees here in Oklahoma. This is generally the temperature required to trigger crappie-spawning activity.  Mr. Sutton also shares a study that determined day length for spawning is between 13.2 and 14.6 hours.  So, check your sunrise and sunset times and you can calculate when that window of opportunity occurs.

Why should someone care about exact temperatures and day length to tenths of an hour? If you know where to look, and are equipped with light line and tackle as simple as a jig and a minnow, this fish can be caught year round. However, when massive numbers of these ravenous fish slide into shallow coves, the fishing can be amazing.  If you hit the lake at the right time of year, you will have just created a new yearly tradition.

“Crappie anglers like the sure thing,” writes Keith Sutton “rather than the battle that may never happen.”

There is an old saying, “that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching’.”  But, one of the closest fishing events to a “sure thing” is right around the corner and I’m going to try to let my kids experience this really crappie time.

 

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.

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