If you want to get out of the summer’s intense heat and fill your cooler with as many crappies as possible, then you should consider night time crappie fishing. For many anglers, the summer’s sultry weather sees them become night owls.
While you can still catch crappie during the summer days, many experienced and hardcore anglers agree that you can catch more when the moon is shining bright and the bats are flying around your head.
When crappie fishing during the night, there are some techniques that you should follow. While it can be hit or miss for many anglers (this includes the daytime too), nocturnal crappie fishing on a full moonlit night with little cloud cover can see crappies take more bites than ever.
Today, we are going to discuss crappie fishing at night and show you some of the top tips to see you catching more fish than ever before.
Crappie fishing at night from the bank
Not all anglers own a boat so their only chance of fishing comes from the shoreline or riverbanks. The best time of year to fish for crappie from a bank is during springtime.
As the water warms and the days begin to lengthen, it is the best time to fish for these fish. You could even say it is the season when crappies come to you.
During their spawning season, crappies migrate from their deep holding points toward the shallows. The cover these fish look for is generally within just a few feet of a riverbank too. This gives land-locked anglers a better chance than ever to hook some great catches.
While the exact timing of migration varies from region to region, when they do, males will head to the shallows where the water warms first. Once the spawn has truly begun, the females will follow, and, together, they will cluster in the very shallow waters by the banks.
While you can fish during the daytime, the night hours could be even more productive for you. When night fishing from a bank, you should throw brighter colors onto lighter jig heads. We recommend using a 1/32 jig head.
The more delicate action and smaller size tend to entice more crappie to bite during the night time. While many anglers use a large 12V light system when fishing from a boat, this just isn’t practical when sitting on a bank.
Instead, we suggest tying a few glow sticks together and tossing them in the water. Most of the time, these will have the same effect, weigh very little, and not break the bank when fishing on the bank!
Where can I find crappie at night?
Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean you can not find a good deal of crappie in the water. However, when looking for the best locations to fish for crappie at night, try and find an area with illuminated water.
While crappie can be caught in the pitch black of night, the easiest and most effective way of catching these freshwater fish is to cast your rod out over areas of illuminated bodies of water.
You also need to consider where the fish may be at the particular time of year you are fishing. During the summer months, crappie tend to be found in main bodies of lakes and the lower halves of larger creeks, usually around the channel edges.
More often than not, bridges are the best areas for night time crappie fishing. This is because they create funnels that center on a creek channel. These have great support from the bridge’s pillars and riprap at the ends.
Other areas to search for crappie at night include docks, near their channel edges. Also, check the deeper ends of flooded timber stands and nearer the surface of deep water spaces nearby.
You should also do some research and locate schools of baitfish. Crappie love feeding on baitfish such as shad, shiners, and minnows. And, at night especially, young yellow perch and bluegill also tend to school up.
If you locate any baitfish schooled up (by sight or with your fishfinder), then this will generally be a great place to fish for crappie because bigger fish will usually follow these bait balls around lakes.
Try and go on a full moonlit night, too. The full moon produces the brightest lights of all the moon’s phases which helps crappie feed better in the dark and help you find more..
What is the best bait for night fishing?
Finding and catching fish can be a grind during the hot summer months. That is why we highly recommend night fishing to avoid the sweltering heat and help you catch more fish.
When fishing for crappie at night, jigs and minnows are the best baits, by far. The same goes for daytime crappie fishing too.
Although fishing for crappie at night is popular amongst many anglers, night time fishing is most common with catfish anglers and bass anglers. However, lure and bait selection are just as important as the location in which you fish, maybe even more so under the cover of darkness.
Some of the top bait and lures for night fishing include:
- Big worms (nightcrawlers, red wigglers, wax worms, mealworms, etc)
- Cut bait
- Baitfish (sardines, herring, mackerel, bonito, etc)
While artificial lures such as spinners, chatter baits, and spinnerbaits can be very effective for night fishing, nothing beats live bait. Scent can play a huge role in night fishing due to the diminished visibility during this time.
For saltwater fishing, we recommend using cut bait, baitfish, squid, and other similar baits. The fresher these baits are, the better. Even better is if you can catch smaller fish and cut these up to use as bait. This will match the local food items and increase your chances of a bite.
For freshwater angling, most fishermen and women use artificial lures like poppers or spinners. But live worms are some of the best pieces of bait to attract a bite.
We suggest using worms such as red wigglers, wax worms, mealworms, or nightcrawlers. These have a superb reputation for helping fishermen catch huge amounts of bass, crappie, trout, and catfish.