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Deep Water Crappie "Texas Style"
Mark Howard and Jim Gilbert

Why Deep Water in Texas?
  If you want crappie action year round you had better fish where the fish are. In Texas, only for a short period of time during the spawn (February - March) will you find concentrations of crappie in shallow water.

  Most of the year Texas crappie will be in deeper waters -- especially during the hot "dog days of summer".  And, when it really gets hot, you better plan on deep water tactics after dark! 

What is Deep Water?
  Deep is relative to the lake being fished, but for the most part I'm talking about the 20' to 40' areas. The point is dipping minnows or crappie jigs around the trees in 4' to 12' of water is not going to reward you with a limit catch of crappie. More likely you will just get skunked, sun burned and frustrated.

 What Bait is Most Productive Year Round?
  Minnows, minnows, minnows -- it's that simple. Jigs during spawn can produce some fast fishing, but for the rest of the year crappie prefer s-l-o-w presentations of bait and that means crappie size minnows.  

During hot and cold weather crappie rank as the pickiest eaters on earth and just flat will not expend energy eating something that is not eatable.

What Rig to Use?
  Sorry, but leave the fishing pole at home. Rod and reel is mandatory for deep water. Feeling the light bite of a slow feeding crappie can be tough, so I like to use a 6 1/2 to 7' medium light graphite rod and 10'-12' test mono line -- reel type is not important. There are two reasons for the stronger line test. 1) I can't tell you how many times while crappie fishing deep water I've had BIG bass and catfish leave town with my minnows  and  2) crappie like all fish will wrap you around the first piece of structure you let them get to.
THIS IS IMPORTANT, for now comes the real secret of deep water crappie fishing.

Where to Fish?
  Fish where the crappie are -- submerged structure! In Lake Ray Roberts, as in most all Texas lakes that means submerged brush piles. Some of the newer lake maps such as Top Spots Maps will actually show you where brush piles were built during lake construction. But, finding the brush pile using even a good map, GPS and fish locater can be a real challenge. 


Anchor right on top of the pile so your bait presentation will also be right on top of the pile. A custom brush pile anchor is a must for this situation. I use self built 15 lb block of lead poured around an eyebolt. The compact shape and weight when dropped in a brush pile will hold any boat during any wind right on target.

Be aware! The brush piles marked on maps get fished hard so get on the pile early (or after dark). Your only other option here is to fish with a guide on his private brush piles or build your on secret piles. 

What More Needs to be Said?
  A lot, but the basics have been covered. Hopefully, you can look forward to continued crappie fishing articles covering such things as:

  • Seasonal movements and the hang out habits of crappie. 

  • Ways to build your own brush piles.

  • Where to place a brush pile.


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