By Tim Huffman
February 16, 2010
Winter crappie often hold in deeper water for a comfortable temperature but more importantly to be in the same depth range as their food source. When crappie are deep your rigs and tactics must match the situation.
A bottom bouncer is the ‘old school’ rig made famous on
The bottom sinker still serves to keep the baits down but the theory is to use a lighter 3/4-ounce sinker. It's okay to go a little heavier or lighter depending upon depth, current and your boat movement. Light 8-pound test line is good in clear water while 15-pound will work in stained lakes. A good compromise is 12 pound test because it will give you strength when hung up and will handle the multiple knots required when tying the rig.
Loops tied in the main line allow hooks to be placed close together when fish are tight or to separate the hooks a great deal when searching or when fish are staggered in depth. A good starting point is one loop 15 inches above the sinker and a second loop 20 inches above the first loop. This gives bait separation but will keep both baits near the bottom and the cover you’re targeting.
Final rigging includes adding a hook and baits to each loop. A #2 or #1 light or extra-light wire
Add a bait to each hook. You can use only artificial but I highly recommend tipping with a minnow. This is important because deep presentations should be slow and methodical. The plastic gives color while the minnow gives action, flash and scent.
Which baits? The Yamamoto Tiny Ika is the ideal bait:
- The solid body holds to the hook shank of the hook
- It can be shortened to the exact length needed.
- The tail adds lifelike movements.
- The intense colors attract fish.
- The impregnated salt help to keep fish hanging on when they bite.
After rigging the Ika onto the hook shank you can lip-hook a small minnow to complete the rigging.
Fish the rig slowly. You can bounce it on bottom or fish it in, around and over brush piles. Presentations are typically made with long 10- to 14-foot poles that keep baits away from the boat. However, seven or eight foot poles are fine in stained waters and they give you good control of the rig.
Tip of the Month
Hook a minnow through the lips when tipping. Hooking is critical: not back into the head or it will die quickly; not too lose to the edge of the lips or the minnow won’t stay on. It’s easy to learn by observing the minnows you hook.