Florida Panfishing Tips – Crappie fishing
Crappies are one of the best tasting fish I have ever eaten, I like them better then most other fish. The meat is pure white and is firm and full of good mellow flavor. Crappies are a panfish, similar to bluegill and sunfish. Most people start fishing for them as a young man, a lot of local fishermen called crappie, ‘ calico bass ‘. Luckily for us, fishermen they are considered a panfish and are not restricted in most areas, like other bass are when it comes to fishing laws. Here in Florida we are allowed to catch 25 crappies in most locations.
Crappies are full of energy and despite their small size they can make a normal fishing rod bend to the breaking point and cause a reels drag to become very active, the energy and taste are two reasons why crappies are such a great fish to catch and are so popular to catch.
Crappies come in two types or varieties, there are black crappies which are in Florida and white crappies. Crappies live throughout the U.S in many ponds, lakes and streams, if other panfish or even bass can thrive in the water, then crappie can also. Crappie look similar in size and shape to other Florida panfish, except they are a lot more silver colored, with black spots, and they have upturned noses. They are actually a very nice looking fish, and the silver or shiny color shimmers in the sunlight.
Crappies can be caught year around. In the spring and fall months they move near the shore areas, and in the summer they move out in more deeper and cooler water. They are probably the most active in the early spring months when they move towards the shores to spawn, they become very aggressive and tend to bite and attack anything that is cast or moves near them or the nest, making it pretty easy to get a stringer full of crappies in a short time in the spring season. The nests look like hollowed out depressions or dishes in the mud or gravel on the bottoms of the ponds and lakes. If you walk slowly around the edges of the water, you can see these nests and often see the crappie in and near them. Once you spot one of the nests, casting your bait near it will usually produce a quick strike.
The best time to catch crappies is during the daylight hours, with early morning after sunrise and in the late afternoon towards early evening hours being the best times. Crappies love minnows with a passion, and when it comes to live baits there is no better choice than a small minnow. If you don’t have or cannot get live minnows, then use jigs or any such lure that looks as realistic as possible to a live minnow. But when you use an artificial minnow make sure you keep the lure pretty active, so it simulates a live minnow as much as possible, if the fake minnow just sits still, crappie have been known to look and then just pass by, they seem to prefer live minnows and bait instead of dead ones. Crappies have a abnormally soft mouth, so be aware that if you jerk your rod too hard, to set the hook, you can rip it right out of the crappies mouth, resulting in losing the fish.
Going Crappie fishing!
Crappie fishing is popular for many reasons. Crappie fishing can be done by people of all ages and sizes. Fish like carp and bass can put up too much of a fight for children or smaller adults. Also, the equipment required to fish bass and carp costs more than that needed to catch crappie. Crappie fishing can be done with a simple, light pole. Nothing large, fancy, or expensive is needed. Crappie can also be found all over the state of Florida in rivers, streams, and lakes. Crappie can also be caught in any season over most of the state, though in some areas they can be harder to catch in certain seasons.
There are black crappie and white crappie and you might want to alter your crappie fishing efforts depending on which type you want to catch. While they taste the same, there are some differences between them that might help you catch them easier. Black crappies are different than white crappies because they have seven or eight dorsal fins with random spotting patterns. White crappies always have six dorsal fins and their spotting patterns are arranged in vertical flows. The black crappie are found more often in cooler, slower moving waters such as large lakes and wide, slow rivers. The white crappies tend to prefer warmer water and do not care as much if the water is clear or moving.
Fishing for crappie can be fun for anyone and is a great way for a father to bond with a son. Since crappie fishing is fairly easy it is not hard to have fun during a day of crappie fishing since you will not go home frustrated. Crappie fish is a great way to get started fishing because the equipment is not expensive at all.