"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Crappies Like Bait That Moves
Copyright © 2009 by Bill Scifres

With crappie fishing knocking at our door, it is well to remember that the little minnow that moves is much more attractive to Ol’ Papermouth.

That is not to say, that a small minnow that produces hardly more than a wiggle will not take fish. They certainly will. What I am saying is that the angler who raises his rod tip periodically tends to take more fish, because crappies like bait (live or artificial) that is falling in the water.

That is what pumping the rod tip lightly (sharper movements . . . even jigging) does to artificial lures. Crappies will take bait that is falling much more readily than one that is rising, I believe. But they are more apt to take a small minnow if it is doing more than sitting with a slight wiggle. Larger minnows--say a couple of inches long--are strong enough to show more movement and they still will take crappies.

Generally, though, the angler who gives small minnows a bit of up-and-down movement will take more fish than the one who casts out his bait, sits on his bucket (five gallon variety) and watches as wave action is the only movement his minnow gets.

Even tight-lining is a good way to take crappies if the angler is aware of water depth and see-saws his bait (live or artificial) in an up-down manner at several depths.

As a kid, on a solo camping-fishing-hunting trip to an old bayou, I learned first-hand that movement of bait is the key for crappies. 

It was late afternoon and I had yet to get something for the skillet and supper. Standing on a high bank near my campsite, I was fishing with my flyrod outside the edge of a bed of lily pads across the way with a bobber and piece of night crawler for bait.

Soon my bobber came off the catgut leader and I was flipping the bait (without sinker) over the bobber and trying to pull it to a point I could reach. As the piece of crawler rose and fell in my attempts to snare the bobber, the line suddenly tightened and I was hooked to a crappie . . . pan size. Another cast, this one forgetting the bobber, and the crappie’s mate took the piece of crawler.

As the two fish sizzled over an open fire, the “movement theory” solidified in my mind. I still use it.

WOODPECKERS--I have been watching a pair of downy woodpeckers going through their mating ritual for several days, along with a third party that is presumably another suitor for the female’s attention.

One male seems to be the favorite in these goings on, but occasionally a second male enters the picture.

The principals flit about from one spot in the trees to another, but always only a few inches apart and always very cognizant of each other, but oblivious to all else around them.

A friend asks me how you separate the male of the downy from the female. It seems that male and female look very much alike, except the male has a small red patch on the back side of the head. The hairy is, of course, larger and has a longer bill, but is otherwise a carbon copy of the downy.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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