Crappie a Texas Favorite: Why This Lake Ray Roberts Fishing Guide Chases Crappie
Crappie fishing in Texas is taking off in recent years and for good reason. These fish taste amazing and it isn’t difficult to find good recipes, but that’s for another day. These fish are also extremely fun to catch and don’t require all the expensive rods, technology, and baits either. Fishing for crappie also provides an amazing opportunity to make memories fishing with your kids and family youngins. While finding them in often fluctuating water conditions can sometimes be difficult, once you know their pattern and where they’re schooling you can consistently put them in the boat.
Let's begin by looking at what crappies are. We often see black and white crappie species in most photos online. Black crappie having dark blotches all over their body and white crappie having dark bar patterns down their body. We are now beginning to see black nose or “mohawk” crappies, which are a genetic variation of the black crappie. It sure was fun the first time I pulled a black nose crappie out and asked my buddy, “what in the world is this”? The average crappie will weigh between ½ to 2 lbs ranging between 5 to 13 inches and the occasional and highly sought after 3 lb monster crappie. Crappies are extremely social and often found in large schools. Making them a blast to catch with kids, because when you find one you are often able to find many. In Texas we often begin seeing crappie spawning in late March or early April, but this is often dependent on water parameters. Is the temperature changing often? Are all these damned Texas lakes letting out water and changing water levels? These changes may push back the timeline for your lake’s spawn.
Prior to spawn you will often see very large females roaming or around structure in deeper water. The males will then begin moving towards more shallow water in preparation for females to come in. When it’s time to spawn the females make their move to the shallows as well, which is when most anglers swear that it’s the best time of the year to catch crappie. Although often a misconception, because with a boat you can snipe them at any depths. The reason crappie spawn is so exciting, is because anglers on land can easily catch them as well. You will literally find these fish right up within 1 to 3 feet of water near weeds and shallow structure. Following the spawn, you will often find the much slimmer females back on deeper timber. When targeting these fish, it’s important to take inventory of what you’re catching and at what depths. If you’re catching a lot of post spawn females who haven’t moved back out to deeper water yet, you may want to begin looking at deeper timber in a couple days. If you’re catching a ton of smaller males in the shallow, but no females, then you may be ahead of the spawn and need to move back out to the deeper timber or flats if you're chasing those larger females.
So what’s needed to catch crappie? Well that’s the beautiful part of crappie fishing. You can catch them on a light line, with a simple rod, and a jig attached. If you prefer minnows you can throw on a small minnow with a number 2 to 6 hook with a slip bobber. On the low end, you can catch a crappie with $20 to $30. While the species does have it’s specific high dollar tackle, which often increases your catch rate, you can still catch them with the more affordable tackle or bait. At www.CrappieCo.com we like fishing with different rods and tackle depending on the situation. Often using our Fle Fly Slab Snatcher or an Ozark Rod with 15 to 20lb braid, which we feel provides us enough sensitivity for those weaker thumps and enough strength to flop them into the boat. For our jigs we love using the BoneHead Brush Glider or the Jenko Paddle Fry, both of which provide big ol’ fat targets for the crappies. Check out this video where Crappie Head TV reviews the beginner basic crappie setup.
We also love crappie above all other fish, because of the memories we make with our kids. We enjoy nothing more than putting our kids or clients and their families on big schools of crappies so the kids can wear themselves out reeling and unhooking slabs all day. In fact that’s why I'm a Lake Ray Roberts fishing guide in the first place. The similar memories I made growing up fishing on Lake Ray Roberts with family and friends, chasing our limit every weekend. Now I get to take out other families and help others put as many crappies in the live well as possible. There is something about the accessibility and ability for anyone to catch these fish, which make crappie a species quickly growing in popularity and a Texas favorite.
If you’re interested in coming out to Lake Ray Roberts for some crappie fishing, make sure to give me a call or book us on www.crappieco.com for all your crappie fishing guide and tackle needs.