This topsy-turvy Spring weather has really played havoc with the panfish. Crappies and sunfish have been just as confused as we have been as the temperatures have been colder than normal. I have noticed that on bright, sunny days the fish move in for a brief period and then retreat when the temperatures plummet. Because of these inconsistent weather patterns, the modern angler needs to pay attention to the conditions and make adjustments. Here are some thoughts.
Bright and Sunny Days
Crappies just love sun at this time of May and June! The afternoons can make these fish move into the shallows and bask in the warmth and allows them to chase baitfish that also move shallow. It seems the whole environment changes with bright sun. The midafternoons have been really good for this guide when the sun is directly overhead. If clouds move in, the fish move to deeper water. You can bet the farm on that.
I have had great success using polaroid sunglasses and cruising the shallows actually looking for fish. In May and June you can see these fish moving about in the shallows and they are easy to target with an accurate cast. Many of these panfish are sitting on nests and you can tell by the bowl- shaped depressions in the sand and gravel. Any bait that comes by gets blasted by these aggressive fish. This period only encompasses about two weeks so get them while you can.
When the crappies and sunfish are this aggressive, no live bait is needed. I’ve stuck with tiny, 1/32nd .oz jigs under a bobber. I prefer any jig that features a tinsel tail that glows in the sun. Even marabou style jigs work well. Make sure you trim the tails of the jigs and make them the exact length of the hook for best hooking results. These aggressive fish will often take the whole jig in their mouth and this also helps for fish that are not so aggressive.
On those days when the sun isn’t shining, make sure you explore into deeper water around 6 to 12 feet as those fish will be close by the shallows if not super shallow. They often rest in deeper water until the conditions come into favor.