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Christopher Quast

finicky crappie tricks

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ever have those nights where u r marking a ton of fish on vexy and as soon as your jig is in the water their coming for it from the bottom??? but then they don't hit it or worse yet just push it around i was wondering some things others have tryed and or suceeded with ways of jigging,glo vs no glow, or maybe something complely off the wall,how about jig size or color even if glows, or red glows,blue,or even rattles would just like to chat to my fellow anglers on this subject THANKS CHRIS

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I have noticed that sometimes when the fish shoot off of the bottom, especially when they just sniff around and leave, tend to be walleyes. Usually when perch shoot off of the bottom you can entice them to bite faster, but the walleyes have been looking and leaving more than biting. smirk.gif

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There are a ton of things you can try when this is happening. Downsize, change colors... change bait, its really for me going to depend on water clarity, the species of fish I am after and what I read the mood of the fish to be on the flasher.

One question, are you sure your not getting bit? Is it possible that fish is hitting and you just dont feel it?

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A underwater camera really helps in this situation. I've fond that lots of times that they are really small crappies that do this. When I fish really pressured crappies I use a small jig with eye pattern on it. Try using a whole minnow hooked below the dorsal fin so the bait hangs horizontal and swims freely. If a fish doesn't bite it like you describe, crank up the lure and hit it with a camera flash to make it glow like crazy. Usually as soon as you drop it again the fish will shoot up and eat it. Also, you can raise the bait as the fish chases upward toward it. This seems to get a reaction bite if the fish has committed but has to chase it.

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I've had more luck this year, especially with crappies, using minnow heads or tails on small white jigs (ants) or jiggin spoons (small go devils). I found the real picky ones prefer the heads pinched off right behind the gills with just a little bit of the innards hangin.

Also pay attention to those quick flashes you see on the depth finder near the surface. I have been pleasantly surprised to find the bigger crappies are the cause of the flashes.

Lastly I'll second the underwater camera. I will usually drop it in to see what I'm marking on the Marcum. If the fish get picky I'll drop it in again to see what the deal is. I was the biggest skeptic about these things until I finally bought one.

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Downsize and spring bobber is what I would try first. You may actually be getting hit and not knowing it. Minnow heads instead of whole minnows, too.

I can't comment on the camera thing, I don't have one. I'd love to have one and watch fish tv but I've spent enough $$ on fishing this winter.

Also, if you're marking and you think they are just lookers, try slowly lifting your bait. Many time crappies will follow the bait vertical for a couple of feet. It's cool to see on the vex. Sometimes they hit and sometimes they swim away. My guess is that they are following cuz they're interested but unsure of what they want to do. Then, after a couple of feet, they are out of their "Comfort zone" and have to either take a poo or get offa the toilet as they say.

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Deitz brings up a very good point. You might be getting bit but just not noticing it. A spring bobber will definitely help with that some.

I would also consider up-sizing your presentation. Oftentimes in those massive schools of fish it's just a matter of showing them something different. Or, by up-sizing you'll weed out the negative fish and hook into a few larger, more aggressive fish that are looking for a piece of meat.

I would also consider finding a new spot. Those high-pressured spots typically have a short window of opportunity and they also have a tendency to be more prone to acting finicky. I would personally move on and try and find a spot adjacent to where you were fishing.

Look for any adjacent structure, or even another spot on the lake similar to the one you were just fishing. I would also look for any flats that connect that piece of structure to another piece of structure nearby. Oftentimes the more aggressive fish in that school will slide away from the pressure and move onto the nearby flat. Chances are you won't see a single house out there either, so you'll have the entire area to yourself smile.gif Punch holes ever 20 yards or so until you find something you like, then confine your search. You're looking for soft bottom areas, and if you can find the transition line then you're golden! smile.gif

To sum things up, I generally won't sit over a pod of fish for too long if they're not willing to bite. Down-sizing and slowing things down can sometimes be the ticket, but I would rather move on and find more aggressive, less pressured fish. They are out there...

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If I'm fishing lockjawed cluster of suspended fish I move to the smallest moon jig I own, tip it with a waxie, and drift it down through the column. It's a pain to get the bait down there with the slow rate of fall, but it really seems to trigger inactive fish. I zoom the marcum into the column and drop the bait. It falls slowly and I can't usually make out the bait in the column of fish, but if I don't see it falling out the bottom of the cluster in a timely fashion I just reel in until I see tension on the spring bobber and set the hook.

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Thorne brothers spring bobber. If it stops wiggling, set the hook. If it dipps down an 1/8 inch set the hook. If it pops up an 1/8 inch, well you get the idea.. I have seen them on the camera suck the bait in and not move at all. Often times I will just set the hook when marking at the jig, and bingo, shocked.gif fish on. As a matter of fact some of the biggest crappies I have caught were setting the hook when nothing confused.gif was happening to the spring bobber. I have had more productive, consistent crappie limits than ever since going strictly spring bobbers. grin.gif It takes a little practice, but it's worth it. You will consistently out fish your buddies that are not using spring bobbers. smirk.gif

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I was amazed at the instant production of upsizing. I was using a smaller fatboy w/ spikes and doing OK, a glow ratso empty and doing OK. About to retie and thought I'd drop my other rod w/ a bigger presentation and instant hit. It was a larger CJ&S Glow white Diamond jig with a wedgie and a single spike from earlier in the day. They flocked in to it with aggressive jigging and moving up and down the column. I only wish I had tried it earlier as I was in 20' of water and the lighter gear took a lot longer to get down.

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