Hey you. Yeah, you.
Don’t give up yet and don’t winterize your boat! This can be the best time of year for the big Crappie to stack up on stump rows and brush piles.
Generally speaking, we don’t catch a lot of small fish this time of year. During the summer the same spots you fish now will be full of small fish, but during winter they tend to hold bigger fish. I can’t tell you exactly why — but it doesn’t really matter does it?
Grab a case of Hot Hands to keep in the boat, get some good Gortex insulated bibs and a parka. I use Cabelas Guide Wear that I’ve had for 15 years and absolutely love it. You will stay toasty. Expensive but worth the investment. Windproof and waterproof.
Tuck the hand warmers in your fingered mittens and some in the toes of your boots (they make special ones for boots), grab your favorite crappie fishing rods (from ACC Crappie Stix, of course), and you are good to go. Oh, don’t forget base layering. I’m not selling any brand here I’m just saying it works.
I use the cheap Walmart stuff, and just having polyester next to your skin is amazing. Cotton retains moisture and is bad news.
Some people use heaters, but I don’t think they are worth the trouble and risk. I’d rather place hand warmers right where I need them than move a big ass heater around in a boat all day.
Put a jigging rod in each hand, tie on 3/16 ounce heads with a 3″ bait of your choice — I like Team Ricky jigs — and go to town on stake beds and brush piles.
I would not fish right now if I had to play in a minnow bucket. There’s no need during winter, as they will readily smack a jig and you don’t have to buy, keep alive, or put your hands in the cold water. I’m not anti-minnow; there is a time and a place, but winter ain’t it!
Crappie don’t stop eating! I have broken ice to get to certain stake beds and they will try to knock the rod out of your hands.
That’s all I have for now so stay warm and be careful out there (wear your life jacket) and have fun catching monster winter time crappie. Thanks for reading. Andy Lehman