So Im walking around the yard the other day after another couple of days of deer hunting and Im looking at the boats that are crying to get on the water a few more times, I look at my watch, take a breath of 50 degree air and decide to go fishing. What does a guy do on November 17th when its 50 degrees and the suns out? I decided to head to the Mississippi and try some crappie fishing. After a five minute trip down to the bait shop in St. Cloud to grab a couple of scoops of fatheads, I found myself cruising down stream to fish crappies behind some pilings and ice breakers-usually decent spots for mid-river slabs--especially in the fall.
So i grab a 1/8 oz chartreuse/orange jig and tip it with a healthy sized fathead minnow and begin my search for a school of slabs. After a few run- throughs with the sonar I spotted some on the bottom at 23 ft behind an old ice breaker. The cool thing was that the fish were 35 yds back from the actual "visible" current break. That told me that the fish had probably not been bothered by other anglers because of the fact that most river anglers that I have observed will fish directly behind/next to an object that breaks the current--not 30-40 yards down stream of the object. The fact is that there is usually an underwater
"eddie" quite a distance back from most objects on or near the bottom of the river. In the deeper water, there isusually not any visible surface evidence that the bottom "eddie" exists. The bottom "eddie" will create a pocket of "dead" water on the bottom. These elusive pockets of water usually are full of fish that never see a bait. So now what?
I started by "slipping" down stream with the trolling motor vertically jigging the bait and dragging it along the bottom. At times I "hover" the boat when a bunch of fish are "marked". When I exhaust that display of bait dragging out I switch to holding the boat steady and chunking the bait cross current through the school of fish--this will entice the fish that were not triggered by the simple "drag the bait dowstream" appproach. After slipping the bait cross current from one direction I change the boats location over to the other side of the school of fish and give them the old cross current trick form the other angle. The more angles/directions you can deliver the bait to the same school of fish--the better. This idea also applies directly to any open water fishing situation that is encountered throughout the summer--lake or river.
One more option to try before I go. Just when the action starts to dwindle and I'm ready to find a new school of fish, I tip a jigging spoon (like a swedish pimple) with a minnow head and flutter it through the fish a few times. Usually I can score a couple of bonus fish before I head out. Speaking of heading out, If I leave now I can be catching more crappies in about 45 minutes, See ya and good luck. Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com