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Small plastic grubs on jigheads can lead to excellent fall and winter action on crappie in freshwater ponds and lakes for anglers of all ages.
By Chris Prozor
Tags: freshwater
While great panfishing can be found in the spring and summer, 13-year-old Chris Prozor of New Jersey believes fall and winter are the best times to fish for crappie.

Crappie have to be one of my favorite species; they are easy to catch, fun to fight, and some can get big.

In my opinion, fall and winter are the best times to fish for crappie because the bass are usually not as active in the cold water, and that is when the crappie turn on. You know you found crappie when there is swirl after swirl on top of the water, and in most cases it is fish after fish.

When I fish for crappie, I like to go for the slabs. My normal method for this is using a 3-inch grub on a jighead, and I target wood pilings or other promising structures. When I approach a structure, I normally cast then retrieve; if I get bite I keep using that method, but If I don’t, I usually try fishing different depths and jig to see where they are. If that doesn’t work, I move to a new structure.

One of my favorite crappie lures is the Roadrunner; it is just a jighead with a little blade attached to the bottom which triggers bites, the flash making the crappie think there is a bait fish swimming past. The vibrations will attract fish as well, and I usually use a little paddle tail as a trailer for the jig.

Many people use live bait for crappie, but I don’t like to. I am not saying that you will not catch fish with live bait, you might even catch more; but I like to use soft plastics because it saves a lot of money. These fish are quite aggressive this time of year, but crappie won’t rip apart your plastic baits.

Another great thing about crappie fishing is you can do it from land. Many small lakes and ponds are open on all sides, so you can fish the whole area. In the morning or evening just walk around and look for surface action. You can use a 2-inch grub or your favorite crappie lure, and should get some great results. Sometimes I even add a float to fish a certain depth.

The type of rod I like to use when crappie fishing is a light rod, and I use no more than 6-pound test. I usually use fluorocarbon because it allows you to feel soft bites and it is very clear. Another reason I use the light tackle is because crappie have paper thin mouths, and you don't want to rip their mouth. Plus, the light tackle makes the fish fight even harder.

I hope you try some of my methods, and good luck out there!

Thirteen-year-old Chris Prozor of New Jersey said he’s been fishing all his life. “I have been surrounded by fishing as long as I can remember, and I have a lot of ideas and tricks to share,” Chris tells The Fisherman and our readers. Keep an eye out for more from this young angler and many more like him in future editions of TheFisherman.com.