The sun was fighting a losing battle with the moon for supremacy over the morning; and the full moon was winning. Its silver glow on the ripples of the lake reminded me of icing, spread lightly over the top of a chocolate cake.
It was early morning, just before daybreak and the many minnows we had left over from yesterday’s fishing trip, were very much alive, thanks to the cool night we had just experienced. Hopefully we could add to the few crappie we had caught the day before.
I was visiting my favorite crappie lake almost in downtown Winter Springs, Florida. Although it is the beginning of spring, the big crappie are just now starting to bite. I used to get excited steel bite pro as a 12 year old boy on his first fishing trip, when I heard the words fishing and full moon in the same sentence.
Through the years I have noticed that the larger crappies tend to school up and bite more voraciously a few days before the full moon. The crappie were holding at about three and a half feet in depth, far enough away from the bottom to avoid any debris that might be lurking there.
Today we were fishing an old pier that except for the steel frame stuck in the muck that was destroyed by an errant hurricane that rambled in from the Atlantic. That was the storm that raised the water in the lake by about six feet.
Big Crappie on this lake seems to bite live bait a little better than jigs, but I give them a taste of both. When I break out my ultra-light tackle with a chartreuse jig tipped by a minnow, I catch a boat load. The slower I retrieve the lure, the more bites I get.
The only problem is recognizing a crappie bite. They suck in the jig and minnow so delicately that it hard to tell if you have scraped the bottom or if a crappie has taken your bait. I use a 1/16th ounce jig with the minnow trailing behind. With my rod and reel I use a two pound test line.
Over the years I have wondered why Crappie are more active on the few days leading up to a full moon but appear to become more lethargic when full moon finally arrives. I don’t have the answer but that’s all right; using a rod and reel you can only catch one at time anyway.
It’s best to have a fishing dog in your boat if you are really serious about catching crappie. My brother in law has a Toy Dachshund that rides along with him in his boat. The dog goes wild every time a fish is caught. He once was able to point and bark when he was near a school of crappie, but now he is not a reliable crappie spotter.
My brother in law loaned him out to a friend for a few days and when he brought him back, the dog was ruined for crappie fishing. It seems that the friend who was borrowing him was more into cat fishing than he was crappie fishing. He taught the dog to point when they were near catfish, bream or shell crackers.
Now, when the dog goes fishing, he points and barks at every kind of fish that lurks beyond the surface. For a truly dedicated crappie fishermen, that’s not acceptable.