Crappie are one of the most popular freshwater fish and there are several different ways to go about catching them. Drift fishing is the most popular way to fish for crappie and it is also the most effective. Despite its popularity, being able to successfully drift fish requires a lot of practice and is a difficult technique to master.
The first step when drift fishing for crappie is choosing the appropriate location to fish. Schools of crappie are most likely to be found in the open water which can be a challenge because of the vast expanse of water that needs to be covered. Although difficult, once a school is found it is possible to catch large amounts of fish. Often, the crappie fishing limit can be reached quite quickly after the school is located. In addition to containing larger schools, the open water also typically contains larger crappie than those which are found near the shoreline. In order to determine where the deepest part of the water is located, a topographical map is necessary. These can usually be obtained from the area’s visitor center or from stores which sell bait and tackle. The key is to find deep areas which are on the edge of shallower waters. Once the deepest part is located, look for areas or breaks in which the area goes from shallow to deep or deep to shallow. These locales are ideal for drift fishing for crappie and are typically where the schools are found. Fishing in the deeper section alone will usually be a waste of time.
Once the general location of the breaks is found, the next step is to determine in which direction the wind is blowing as the boat will naturally drift in the direction of the wind. A trolling motor is used in order to keep the boat on the deeper side of break. Depth measures can be used to determine how deep the water is in that area. A boat motor can also be used to keep the boat in the correct position. However, boat motors are known for scaring away nearby fish. When the fishing rod is placed over the side, it is easy to tell when the sinker is touching the bottom. When coming into contact with the bottom, the rod will bend up and down as the depth changes. If the line does not reach the bottom, the line needs to be adjusted. The crappie rig should be placed on the line so that it drifts about 2 feet from the bottom. Marker buoys are also useful when drift fishing. Each time a fish is caught, a marker buoy should be dropped into the water. After you have drifted for about 70 to 80 yards or another fish is caught, another buoy should be dropped. In this way, the fisher is able to keep track of the area in which they have drifted. Once a school is located, keep fishing in that area until no more fish can be caught.