Jason Mitchell shares an observation from a recent trip north to chase Lake of the Woods crappies, but if you’re facing a tough bite on dark, stained water where the fish are holding deep and tight to the bottom, this tip will apply anywhere.
On this particular trip, the bite wasn’t necessarily aggressive but bigger lures were the key to triggering more fish. In the heavily stained water of Lake of the Woods, it’s probably much darker at the depths you’ll often find crappies roaming. To get their attention in low light, it seems that bigger, bolder, and louder baits help the fish find you. Mitchell’s top choices for this situation are the Rattlin’ PT Spoon, the Pinhead Pro, glide baits, and the Drop XL for a jig. Large profile soft plastics generally work well for crappies, but it’s not the same if the bite is off and you might need some meat on the end of the hook. In this case, the fish were off in the sense that they were holding tightly to the bottom and wouldn’t chase up the water column. Big lures with a minnow head tipped on the end and a subtle cadence were the key on this particular tough bite day.
Of course, the bite can change from day to day and week to week, but this observation can apply anywhere you are experiencing a tough bite in deep, dark water. Try going with larger profiles in bright and glow colors with a little meat on the end and don’t expect the fish to chase, so keep your cadence subtle.