February Tip: Slow Down

By Charles Bunting

In February, if my home lake, Ozarks in Missouri, has ice off of it, I’ll be shooting docks. Sunshine on docks will cause the water to warm around the floatation. The dock may be in 20 feet of water with fish at one or two feet from the surface.

I’ll shoot a 1/32-ounce jig with a 2- to 2.5-inch bait, probably a Muddy Water. That size jig will give a slow fall. The trick with the presentation is slow down and slow down some more. The bite may be aggressive but the fish want the presentation very slow.

Another structure is chunk rock in three to five feet of water. The crappie will move up shallow to the warmer water due to the solar heating of the rocks. I’ll pitch a freefall jig or use a slip-float. The slip-float forces me to slow down because the line will pull up through the float is anything more than a slow hop is used. The float is still more than being hopped or pulled.


Charles and Travis Bunting won the 2017 American Crappie Trial Classic and they have Crappie USA and Crappie Masters Classic wins. Some of their sponsors include Power Pole, Humminbird, Ranger Boats, Missouri Gold Fish, and many others.