Presenting your crappie bait in the best spot for the maximum amount of time is the most important thing you can do to be successful for suspended crappie, Ronnie Turner said.
You don’t want the crappie judges to chop you from the competition.
That’s why Turner has a Minn Kota Terrova remote-control digital trolling motor on the front of his boat where he can move efficiently from waypoint to waypoint showing on his Humminbird Helix DI GPS depth finder.
“Keeping a steady speed, putting your lure in the bite zone consistently and knowing what your bait is doing are some of the things that make me catch fish more than anything else,” he explained. “I depend on that combo to keep me on the fish once I find them.”
Turner also has a lot of favorite gear he depends on to catch crappie.
He fishes Shakespeare Crappie Hunter 10- to 14-foot rods, but has also picked up a new favorite in the ACC Crappie Stix.
His go-to reels are all spinning models, with the Shimano Sienna 500 at the top of this list.
He spools them up with Kentucky-style rigs (with the bell sinker on the line between the top and bottom jigs) that he makes himself with 20-pound braid for main line and 6-pound fluorocarbon leader.
In the winter, he sticks with 1/16-ounce jigs because “the bite is a little lighter and they hold onto smaller jigs longer.”
He doesn’t use crappie nibbles all the time, but turns to them when the fish are sluggish.
He fishes shiners and jigs with plastic trailers. Favorite winter colors are blue thunder, monkey milk and bluegrass. He often fishes shiners on a Roadrunner jighead because the spinner and shiner are too much for crappie to pass up.
He also uses an Engel Live Bait cooler with a battery-operated aerator to keep his shiners lively.
Another key component in fishing suspended fish is a good spider-rig setup. For Turner, it’s the Cumberland Crappie system that allows independent height and angle settings for each rod.