Concentrate on cover in deep water for fall crappie
Jeffrey “JJ” Dubea of Alexandria is a mechanic for Shell Oil and the owner of Addicted to the Thump Guide Service. When he’s guiding for crappie, he specializes in the use of LiveScope, the latest in marine electronics technology, which allows a real-time view of fish and structures beneath the water in stunning clarity. If the Predator from the movie franchise had a side-gig as a fisherman, he’d be using something like LiveScope.
Dubea posted online a “victory lap” photo of a 3-pound crappie he caught from Lake Cotile in Rapides Parish on Sept. 14, 2020, at about 9 a.m.
“It was a hot morning for fishing,” Dubea said, “but I’d decided to do a little LiveScoping for that week’s clients.”
A friend, Justin Smith, joined him on the trip, and they had managed to land several 2-pounders as they completed their reconnaissance work that morning.
“We rounded a point, and immediately saw the (large crappie) 50 feet from the boat under a laydown,” Dubea said. “We eased up to the fish, and started pitching jigs to it from about 20 feet away.”
Big crappie, big fight
The fish was holding at a depth of 18 feet on a horizontal laydown. The second pitch did the trick.
They caught their fish on a 13-foot Ozark jigging rod with an ABU Garcia black max baitcasting reel. The big crappie smoked a Chasing the Thump jig in KK Gold color on a 1/16-ounce jighead and No. 4 sickle hook.
“Immediately, I knew that it was a big fish,” Dubea said. “We fought to get it out of structure for a solid 10 minutes, and were excited when we finally got it in the net.”
The fish went straight into the livewell.
“It was one of my most memorable trips to date,” Dubea said.
Tips for September Crappie
In general, Dubea said fishermen should focus on deep cover in September. He likes to fish stumps or trees in 20 to 25 feet of water, fishing slowly with a light jig.
“I will not use anything heavier than a 1/16-ounce jighead,” Dubea said. “Because the crappie are still spooked from their time in shallow water. Look for crappie hugging tight to timber and natural structure.
“September is also the time to break out the long poles. A 12- or 13-footer is my usual choice,” Dubea said. “I recommend using a 1/16-ounce jighead along with a 1/8-ounce egg weight pegged about a foot above it to help get (the bait) down faster.”
As far as colors are concerned, Dubea likes monkey milk, KK Gold and bluegrass. Hair jigs will work, too, and he recommends Slab City Jigs in various colors to get the job done.
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