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On Sale - February 6, 2023
March-April 2024 Issue: On the Cover

The A to B of Prespawn Crappie

Find ‘Em Between Here and There

In-Fisherman March-April 2024 Issue
Toshinori Takyama, President of Roman Made Lures, has caught many giant bass from Japan's Lake Biwa on his big wooden glidebaits.

Understanding prespawn crappies pays big dividends. Up North, catching early-season panfish fills the time between ice-out and the walleye opener. In the South, fish national tournaments that move from Florida north in the spring seem to be perpetually ahead of the big event. While the shallow crappie bite peaks for only a few days, prespawn patterns cover multiple months from midwinter into the warmer weather of summer.

A big-fish attitude helps. Prespawn isn’t a time to load the boat because all crappies are spread out a bit. Forward-facing sonar is here to stay and, quite simply, 2-pounders make larger dots. This goes against the limit-everyday attitude that panfish anglers crave, but battling a tackle-testing crappie on a long single pole can become addictive while more than enough bites can be had from a few dinner-sized fish along the way. This is big-bait season, too. When you find crappies this time of year they fire up over almost anything, so stock up on 1/4-ounce jigs and 3-inch plastics that show up easily on sonar. And, chilly water keeps crappies from moving too fast, so when you find one you have a chance.

Big fish and big baits take big confidence. Winter and summer are the times when fish are concentrated. Spring and fall are when fish are dispersed. This doesn’t mean that fishing is poor; it means the attitude of the angler must match the attitude of the fish for success.

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More Inside This Issue:

Glory of Glidebaits: Enticing Giant Bass

The focus of today's story is one of the fastest-growing lure styles on the market, one that's exciting in its development and its promise of enticing giants. Avid anglers don't blink at spending several hundred dollars for a single custom-made glidebait,

Hunt for Bronze Monsters: Biggest Smallmouths Swimming Today

On November 3, 2022, the bass angling world stood still. That day, Ohio native Gregg Gallagher set a hook into the largest smallmouth ever recorded from anywhere around the Great Lakes, Canada, the Midwest or the Far West. Fishing on the Ontario side of Lake Erie with his son, Grant, his bass officially weighed 10.15 pounds. It measured 23.75 inches in length by 19.38 inches in girth.

Whistling for Walleyes: Jigging with Flash, Spin, and Vibe

Some things just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly, jigs and walleyes are a natural, unsophisticated pairing that satisfies on a lot of levels. A jig with a minnow, ‘crawler chunk, leech, or soft plastic just gets the job done in myriad walleye fishing situations. How could the system possibly be made any better—improvements to rod, line, and even reel sensitivity, withstanding? For starters, if you haven't already, try fishing a jig with a spinner attached under the head. They whistle, vibrate, spin, and undulate in a way that in some circumstances turn a regular jighead into a walleye-catching marvel.

Shallow Gator Patrol: The Bite for Backwater Pike

Turning lemons into lemonade is not just an optimistic saying, but a mentality that pike anglers must adopt each spring, as high water often wreaks havoc on traditional fishing spots but in turn creates small pockets and vast new shallow areas where pike find relief from adverse conditions. Locate these sanctuaries and get the presentation process right and you can drink in the sweet taste of success.

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