The Slabs of Fall: Autumn’s Most Popular Sportfish?

Because of their massive popularity, fall crappies have increasingly become pressured crappies. Use these sometimes forgotten tactics for catching a frying pan’s worth of cool-weather fillets.

Fall fishing has struggled to gain traction with some anglers, but one subset provides a notable exception: fishermen targeting black and white crappies. A lot of people fish crappies in the autumn, and that increasing pressure means savvy slabs that you’ll need to finesse if you want bites.

Terry Tuma
Terry Tuma

Target pressured fish with light line, 2- or 4-pound-test. And use light hooks – not just from a size perspective, but weight, too! A lighter hook will impart more action, plus your minnow will survive longer.

Think jigs. A jig provides a visual aid to the fish and also bulkiness so you can control your bait. Remember that different shapes and colors can make a major, major difference when fishing among other anglers. Think white, pink, or chartreuse in fall conditions.

The old reliable and too-often forgotten jig-spins work for more aggressive fish, too. Cast them into the prime areas or troll. I find they can be very, very productive.

Once you locate specific fish locations, get suspended and use a bobber, especially slip-bobbers given the depth we’re fishing.

Finally, if you do run into aggressive fish, consider small crank baits. Many anglers avoid crank baits or anything with rattles, because fish hear for long distances and we fear spooking them. But crank baits activate the lateral line of crappies. Really, that’s a crank bait’s primary MO, jig spins too for that matter, so give them a shot over an aggressive bite!

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