Opening Cast

Tim HuffmanI’ve been writing about crappie fishing for thirty years. I’ve learned there are three things that separate the best fishermen: experience, elimination and analyzing.

Nothing replaces time on the water. Some of us do not have the luxury of fishing several days a week but learning from each trip does have an accumulating effect. Experience on home waters means knowing where the brushpiles are located and where the fish go after a quick rise and dingy water. Less time is required to find fish.

What about unfamiliar waters? Find an area that is similar to an area on your home lake then fish it like you would your lake.

The second thing is to eliminate water. For our example, consider a late spring trip with fish in post-spawn. A fisherman fishes the very shallow spawning depths, 2 to 5 feet in stained water, and finds no fish remaining so eliminates the 2 to 5 foot range. Next is 6 to 10 foot depth range, a stump row is fished and then a small drop-off. Only a couple of crappie, so at least for now, that depth is eliminated. The next is 11 to around 18 feet. The first check is a flat next to a channel and fish are found suspended up at 8 feet over 15 feet of water. It’s like a chainsaw woodcarver I watch creating an Indian out of a huge tree trunk. When asked how he knew what to cut off, he said, “I cut off everything that doesn’t look like an Indian and end up with an Indian.” Eliminate water that’s non-productive and you end up with productive water.

Third key is to analyze results. During the day and at the end of the day, a good fisherman analyzes what worked and didn’t, and why. They don’t keep doing what isn’t working. On both good and bad catch days, analyzing can add insight and overall fishing knowledge.

Enjoy the upcoming warm weather.


Good fishin’ & God Bless,

Tim Huffman