crappie night fishing

Moonlight Bite: How To Catch Crappie At Night

When the oppressive sun and stifling heat makes a summer day unbearable, crappie anglers can rely on a cooler alternative.

Crappie can still be taken during the day, but the heat and busy recreational boat traffic on our favorite waters handicap even the most experienced anglers.  However, a better option exists for anyone willing to venture out in the still of the night.

Fishing under lights ranks as a favorite nocturnal pastime of crappie anglers throughout the country.  

Here are some tips for catching crappie under the lights.  

Proper Night Fishing Equipment

Obviously, when night fishing, you have to have some sort of light source. Three types of illumination include submersible fish lights, floating lights and gas lanterns. The submersible model is my favorite because it allows me to control the depth of light penetration and prevents drawing bugs to the glow.

Carry insect repellent in the boat because mosquitoes can ruin your nocturnal outing if you leave your skin unprotected.  

Besides lighting up the water, you need flashlights or other types of lamps for performing various tasks in the boat.

Boat Organization

Before darkness sets in, if you’re not fishing from shore, you should have your boat organized with plenty of walking space available and lights positioned in strategic locations.

Minimizing fishing tackle keeps the floor of the boat uncluttered to avoid any stumbling around in the dark.  You don’t need a lot of equipment, so pick out six or seven jig colors or if you are fishing with minnows get a supply of split shots, slip bobbers and hooks to put in a small tacklebox.

Scouting

An hour or two before dark is the best time to scout areas with your electronics. Use this scouting time to determine the structure and depth you will fish that night. Look for ideal summertime structure, such as drop-offs and channels. On lakes devoid of natural cover, bridge pilings attract nocturnal crappie.

Night Moves

Anchoring or tying to a stationary object in the water works better than trying to hold on a spot with the trolling motor.   

Once situated on your spot, cast your jig or minnow beyond the radius of the light and count it down. When you get a strike then you know the depth where the fish are holding.

If you’ve got a lot of baitfish around and you’re not catching any fish, try varying the depth of the light and sometimes that will make a difference.

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