Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Catch Crappie and Sunfish in Heavy Vegetation

Fishing for crappie and sunfish can be rewarding for anglers with patience. During the summer season, fishing can sometimes be frustrating as these species often retreat into areas of heavy vegetation. Fortunately, weedless lure designs allow anglers to target these fish in areas where conventional tackle is completely useless.

Black crappie, white crappie, and several species of sunfish are popular among North American anglers. These hard fighting members of the sunfish family are known for their habit of hiding among aquatic grasses and other plants.

Many of these panfish seem to have insatiable appetites and will sometimes attack anything that hits the water near grass beds or other hiding spots.

This feeding behavior can be exploited by anglers, although fishing around dense aquatic vegetation requires specialized tackle and plenty of patience

When fishing heavy cover for crappie and sunfish with artificial lures, the list of options is very short. Lure designs must be weedless, otherwise the angler will only grow frustrated as each cast yields nothing but strands of plant material..

Fly fishermen have the advantage when it comes to fishing areas where grass is abundant. Most fly anglers choose bugs or poppers which are made especially for fishing in areas of dense vegetation.

For anglers that prefer ultralight spinning tackle, small weedless spoons are one option for fishing in heavy cover. These traditional lures are able to wobble across aquatic vegetation without fouling. Downsized plastic worms, tubes or grubs can also be rigged in weedless configurations for fishing around heavy aquatic vegetation on the water's surface.

All of these designs share a few common traits. To be effective in heavy cover, the running line must to connect to the lure at the top center (unlike jigs). Additionally, there must be some shielding of the hook and barb, so that it will not pick up vegetation as it moves thru areas of growth. Weedless lures must also float, be neutrally buoyant, or slow sinking. Any design that sinks fast will tangle in submerged weeds and fail to produce strikes. 

Regardless of the lure chosen, the technique remains basically the same. Anglers move slowly and quietly among aquatic plants, casting towards productive areas. Lures are slowly worked across vegetation or casted directly into open patches of water.

For bait fishermen, dense vegetation also creates challenges. Some anglers deal with plants by making extremely accurate casts into nearby open areas. For the heaviest cover, a specialized crappie pole or cane pole can be useful. These simple rods allow anglers to drop baits into even the smallest of openings. When a bite is detected, the angler must lift the fish straight out of the water before it can entangle the line in the vegetation below.

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