Crappie Basics 170: Soft or Stiff Pole Tip?

There are times, especially in the springtime, when fish are aggressive and smack a bait like they mean business. Late summer and early fall fish are usually much less aggressive. Sometimes bites are so light they are difficult to detect. There are a few things to do to improve your odds.

Except in the clearest of water, switch to a braided line. A 10/2 will give the strength of 10-pound test line with the diameter of 2-pound monofilament. The braid is no stretch so light bites are easier to feel.

The second thing is to use a stiffer rod or long pole. A limber pole shows light bites best and they are good for fighting a fish. A soft rod isn’t as likely to tear a hook out of a fish’s mouth. However, a stiffer pole, matched with braided line, greatly increases feel. Anything that happens with the bait is transferred directly through the line, up the pole to the fisherman’s hand. A heavier jig helps, too. More sensitivity will allow more bites to be felt.