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Mr. Aquarium

how to catch big crappies??

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I'm on a mission for a 2lb crappie.  I live in MA. I've caught plenty of 14 inch crappies, my biggest  is 1.5. I've caught them on 7 inch swimbaits going for bass. 

Any suggestions on how to break 2lbs.  We have quite a few herring run ponds. I'm going to start there, I'm sure they go nuts on the bait fish.  Some of these ponds are shallow weedy, others are deep and clear.  What time of year? Spring cuz of the spawn or fall cuz of the juvy herring?

 

How effective is night fishing?  I know they are active at night, i've caught plenty at night, especially going for bass with topwater

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Granted I'm in the south, but I've caught all my big crappie in spring during the spawn.

 

All on artificials

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Fish winter into spring when they weigh the most. Use bigger baits to target bigger fish. 

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8 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

Fish winter into spring when they weigh the most. Use bigger baits to target bigger fish. 

any tips for winter crappies in shallow ponds? I have a pond, herring fed, 14-15 inch crappies in  late spring and fall. im sure it can produce 2lbers.  Never fished it in the winter. its less then 10 feet deep. weedy, some good shore line structure with trees. LOTS OF PICKEREL!!!!!!!  how would you go about fishing this place in winter and spring for big crappies?

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My biggest wintertime pond crappie have all eaten suspending jerkbaits, especially around laydowns or over grass.

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39 minutes ago, Bluebasser86 said:

My biggest wintertime pond crappie have all eaten suspending jerkbaits, especially around laydowns or over grass.

how deep do you go? In a shallow pond would they be stacked up near cover in the deepest area? 

the problem with jerkbaits here is the pickerel. big fish here of all species but the pickere are a pain in the arse if you use smaller lures.  especially in the cold water

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They'll move fairly shallow during warmer weather, fish near deeper water when it's cold.

 

You don't have to fish small baits. I've caught a lot of them on 4-5 inch jerkbaits.

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15 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

They'll move fairly shallow during warmer weather, fish near deeper water when it's cold.

 

You don't have to fish small baits. I've caught a lot of them on 4-5 inch jerkbaits.

if they can hit a 7inch swimbait, im sure they got no problem on 4-5 inch jerkbaits!! 

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32 minutes ago, Mr. Aquarium said:

if they can hit a 7inch swimbait, im sure they got no problem on 4-5 inch jerkbaits!! 

One thing I have noticed is they seem to like dressed tail trebles, I think it just gives them something to target when the bait is at rest.

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My strangest crappie catch was a 12" crappie on a 1/2 ounce War Eagle spinner bait.

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Most all of my "trophy" or citation size here in Virginia (2lbs+) have come from fishing for them like I would for when I am fishing for numbers.  I have never tried to target just the bigger crappie, I find them with the schools of others.  To me, it's a numbers game.  If I am catching them on my regular crappie baits then sooner or later I am going to hook into the larger ones.  I don't see the advantage of changing up my baits to target just the larger ones.  If I am in a school of smaller fish, I will move because I have found that they do school by size.  

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Yes and no.  Yes they school by size but they are normally pretty near where other smaller fish are schooled up and they move.  So, if I'm getting bit, the chances that a school of big fish are nearby.  Might just be the difference between the top side of a drop and farther down the drop.  

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Awesome info. Any advice on how to locate them in ponds you dont know if they live there. I have 300 acre pond, big deep and clear, HUGE perch both whites and yellows. Never caught a crappie, but I never go after panfish, I fish for bass here. There is absolutely no fishery data on this lake.  Great drop offs, deep trees, 2 40- 50 foot basins separated by a 10 foot shallow flat. Some really good humps, and flats. longs points. NO POWER BOATS EITHER!!!! only car top boats.

looks like I gota bust out the panfish jigs and give it a shot

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Sounds like there should be some monster crappie in there.  They will be on those deep trees in the cold months and suspended during the warmer months.  They'll move up shallower in the spring and fall.  Easy to find on graphs because they school up with lots of numbers.  

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The deepest trees I've found were in a small cove in 10-15 feet of water standing timber. They don't come up to the surface either. This small cove has immediate access to deeper water, 20-30 feet in the mouth of the cove.  There is another cove a little bigger and shallower. There is a 5-10 foot rocky flat that separates the coves deep hole, which is 10 feet and weedy from the deep 30 feet of the main lake. There are a few  shoreline trees that are in 6-10 feet of water.  

I've marked big schools of fish deep, both in the cold and warm months, just always assumed they were perch. I've seen perch schools 20 feet thick, top to bottom. all white perch. 

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