How to catch late-ice crappies you can’t graph.
Despite what the calendar says, “late ice” will be showing up sooner than expected. When the water starts to run back into the holes, panfish make a break for skinny water. Here’s how Jason Mitchell catches crappies you probably don’t even know are there:
> Often those fish will be suspended just under the ice where they won’t even show up on your electronics. Too often anglers get in the habit of dropping their bait right down to the bottom and right past these fish.
> Crappies may come in so high that they actually need to roll sideways to hit the bait to avoid bumping into the ice above. This is one of the best opportunities you’re going to get for aggressively feeding crappies each winter.
> Target these high-riders by fishing them from the top down — using a long rod to dip the bait just 1-2′ under the ice before you move on, never needing to touch the reel in-between holes.
> I like to fish horizontal jigs and longer-profile soft plastics this time of year so that they glide and swim like a small minnow vs quivering like an insect or invertebrate.
> Slide the palomar knot towards the jig — which goes against everything you’ve read. But causes the jig to really dart and slide out more on the stroke.
One of Jason’s favorites is the Clam Drop-Kick Jig. No matter which tungsten jig you’re using, it’s important to make sure they’re tuned, just like you would a crankbait in the open water.