Deep Water in Texas?
If you want crappie action year round you had
better fish where the fish are. In Texas, only for a short period of
time during the spawn (February - March) will you find concentrations of
crappie in shallow water.
Most of the year Texas crappie will be in deeper waters -- especially
during the hot "dog days of summer". And, when it really
gets hot, you better plan on deep water tactics after dark!
What is Deep Water?
Deep is relative to the lake being fished,
but for the most part I'm talking about the 20' to 40' areas. The point
is dipping minnows or crappie jigs around the trees in 4' to 12' of
water is not going to reward you with a limit catch of crappie. More
likely you will just get skunked, sun burned and frustrated.
Bait is Most Productive Year Round?
Minnows, minnows, minnows -- it's that simple. Jigs during spawn
can produce some fast fishing, but for the rest of the year crappie
prefer s-l-o-w presentations of bait and that means crappie size
During hot and cold weather crappie rank as the pickiest
eaters on earth and just flat will not expend energy eating something
that is not eatable.
What Rig to Use?
Sorry, but leave the fishing pole at home. Rod and reel is
mandatory for deep water. Feeling the light bite of a slow feeding
crappie can be tough, so I like to use a 6 1/2 to 7' medium light
graphite rod and 10'-12' test mono line -- reel type is not important.
There are two reasons for the stronger line test. 1) I can't tell you
how many times while crappie fishing deep water I've had BIG bass and
catfish leave town with my minnows and 2) crappie like all
fish will wrap you around the first piece of structure you let them get
to. THIS IS IMPORTANT,
for now comes the real secret of deep water crappie fishing.
Where to Fish?
Fish where the crappie are -- submerged structure! In Lake Ray
Roberts, as in most all Texas lakes that means submerged brush piles.
Some of the newer lake maps such as Top Spots Maps will actually show
you where brush piles were built during lake construction. But, finding
the brush pile using even a good map, GPS and fish locater can be a real
Anchor right on top of the pile so your bait presentation
will also be right on top of the pile. A custom brush pile anchor is a
must for this situation. I use self built 15 lb block of lead poured
around an eyebolt. The compact shape and weight when dropped in a brush
pile will hold any boat during any wind right on target.
Be aware! The brush piles marked on maps get fished
hard so get on the pile early (or after dark). Your only other option
here is to fish with a guide on his private brush piles or build your on
What More Needs to be Said?
A lot, but the basics have been covered. Hopefully, you can look
forward to continued crappie fishing articles covering such things as:
movements and the hang out habits of crappie.
to build your own brush piles.
to place a brush pile.