The month of March is like the Daytona 500 to fishermen. It is the beginning of a new fishing year with hopes and dreams of this year being better than the rest.
You may have hopes of catching that giant slab you have been chasing for years, or you may dream of standing in the winner’s circle after a local tournament. Whichever the dream, this is the best time of year to turn that dream into reality. The water is now in the mid to upper 50s and the fish are on the move to more shallow water. This is the time of year that I’m the most excited to get out and fish. Partly it’s because I have been practically hibernating all winter, but mostly it’s because the fish are more active in the spring than any other time of year. There is something about being able to catch dozens of beautiful crappie in less than five feet of water that just sparks something in an angler’s soul. In this article, I go over successful techniques for catching crappie in March.
During March, crappie begin to move into shallow water (less than 5′). They are on a mission to find an area in which to spawn and are waiting for the water temperature to rise to near 60 degrees to begin spawning. Two ways that I like to fish for crappie in shallow water is to cast either a 1/16 jig or use live minnows.
First, you may want to try using a 1/16 jig with a tube bait or twisty tail grub. With this artificial bait, I make a long cast (it is important to use full spool of light line-4lb-6lb test), and then reel the bait in very slowly. When you feel the slightest “tick”, lean back and set the hook. You do not want to set the hook too hard because you will rip the lure free from the crappie’s soft tissue mouth.
Another successful option for bait is to use live minnows. Simply, cast a minnow using a slip bobber towards visible structure (stumps, logs, rocks, steak beds) that are sticking out of the water. When using the slip bobber, set the minnow so it is 2-3′ beneath the water; crappie will come up to the bait. When the bobber starts moving, don’t react . . . keep watching . . . until it is taken completely under the water. Then set the hook, careful not to rip it out of its mouth. You may find it works well to count to three before you set the hook, just to make sure the fish has the bait.
Even though the month of March can still be somewhat cool for us anglers, the crappie are excited that the water is beginning to warm up. Trust me when I say it is time to get out on the water and start fishing. Crappie are ready to be caught in shallow waters, and if you try these techniques, I am confident that you will have successful fishing trips. Every day that the sun is out and temperatures are warming up, the fish are too. I hope you are able to get out on the water soon.
Safe fishing and God Bless,