Crappie Fishing in Punta Gorda, Fl.

I live in Punta Gorda, Fla., and fish on the many shallow(2-6 ft), small lakes for Crappie. There is often little to no sizable cover, some grass, some small brush areas. They are retention ponds/lakes, and are typically bowl shaped in cross section. Canals enter and leave some of the lakes which are filled with big/medium, and aggressive young bass, and nice/slab crappie. How and when would you fish these lakes from a jon boat w/a trolling motor? What baits would you use, and best time/s of year to be on the water, pre and post span?. I do well but could do better with some expert advice and counsel. A retired doctor would like some detailed help here!!! Many thanks, Paul Dow Dawson

As I’m sure you know, crappie tend to be moody, sulky and downright uncoopertive in summer. But now that fall is here, crappie will begin to move around and feed. As the water temperature drops, look for schools along bottom structure in 10-14 feet of water, and along shoreline cover. In your area, they will most likely keep this behavior until the spring spawn. Look for them around bushes, grass, and drop-offs. Another good place is along inlets. Use a live minnow under a cork, or a double jig-rig and troll or drift to locate schools. You can also jig with marabou jigs along bottom structure. Small french spinners can be effective, especially at night. You can also use very small crankbaits. When crappie are moving and feeding, they’re not all that picky. Getting at the right depth, with the right size is more important than the type of bait, as long as it somewhat resembles a minnow. With all the shallow lakes where you are, this is prime territory for fly fishing. Try casting a small Clouser Minnow, or Crappie Candy fly along the edges of flats, drop-offs and near cover. Crappie will hit Clousers when they won’t even touch live bait. If you need to tie some, the patterns can be found at http://www.flyanglersonline.com/. Any pattern that resembles small baitfish will work. I’ve caught baskets-full with just a plain old Black-Nosed Dace pattern. If you don’t tie, you can find local tiers on the website who would be more than happy to tie them for you. Don’t forget, you will need a Daily Use Permit, or a Management Area Stamp for the Babcock/Webb WMA, to use Webb Lake and Marl Pond. But they are worth it. Happy Fishing


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

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