Dan Dannenmueller says getting away from others means less-pressured fish and a quiet, peaceful day.
Fish Where Others Don‘t
by Tim Huffman
Finding a unique spot, or a prime area away from the crowd, can lead to a good day of fishing. The following are a few tips from seasoned experts with examples of why, where and how to fish where others don’t.
A shoreline, ledge or laydown away from the crowd.
“Crappie Dan” Dannemueller, two-time Crappie Masters Angler Team of the Year and CrappieNow Publisher, says there are times when a fisherman must get in with the crowd because that is where the fish are located. However, it’s not the ideal situation to enjoy an all-around great day on the lake.
“I personally like to be away from the crowd for a variety of reasons. First, fish are less pressured. Pressured fish means there are fewer of them but more importantly, it means fish are spooky. Multiple boats mean more noises and disturbances so fish become spooky and less likely to bite.
“The second reason,” Dannemueller says, “is concentration. Other noises and watching for other boats makes it easy to become distracted instead of watching rods, electronics and other things important to catching fish.
“The third thing is the enjoyment of being in a quiet place to enjoy a day outdoors.”
Dannenmueller says finding a place to fish where others don’t can take time, doesn’t always work, but is worth the effort whether tournament or recreational fishing. He and his partner finished second place on the Alabama River a few years ago because they found an area that was untouched.
“The area was a little hole that was attached to the river during high water but would get cut off during low water. The river had been high and I caught fish in the main creek and a hole just off the creek. As the water went down, the hole became harder to get into. At tournament time, it was accessible but I had to use my trolling motor and my boat would drag a little on the sandbar. It was probably an acre big but was holding several big crappie and a lot of good eating size crappie.”
Dannenmueller spider-rigged using BnM 16-foot BGJP poles, Gamma line and double-hook minnow rigs that included Road Runners with Bobby Garland plastics.
“A weekend fisherman should try to find a spot away from other fishermen. Look for crappie along a shoreline, ledge or laydown. Maybe find a hole off a creek or river like I did. It’s likely you’ll catch a mess of fish. No matter what, it’s a great way to spend a quiet day on the water.”
Have a few spots most others don’t know about.
Gary Rowe, Oklahoma, loves to catch crappie where others don’t.
He says, “First, I don’t want others to see where I’m fishing. The number of crappie fishermen today is probably ten times greater than it was five years ago, at least in Oklahoma and on my home lake, Ft. Gibson. There is a lot more pressure on the fish.
“Secondly, LiveScope has made it easier for fishermen to catch crappie and they are targeting the big fish. I believe it has already caused a reduction in size of the fish we catch. So for me, fishing where others don’t involves having my spots that aren’t hit often by other fishermen.
“I have one log that produces a few crappie every time I go there, and has for years. Nothing can be hidden from electronics, but I don’t see others fishing the log and it’s my go-to spot when fishing is tough.”
Rowe uses a quality spinning rod and reel with 4- or 6-pound test line. A 1/16-ounce Bobby Garland Baby Shad has been his favorite jig for many years. However, his newest top bait is the Garland Itty Bit with a 1/48-ounce head. He says there is nothing else better than the tiny jig when crappie are a finicky.
Cast to windy banks.
Kyle Schoenherr, three-time classic champ and a guide in Illinois says, “Lake Egypt is a hot water discharge lake so surface temperatures are warm even in the winter, but wind direction is important. Most fishermen like to get in places out of the wind, but because the wind blows warm water, I look for the wind-blown side of the lake. If there is a north wind for two days, the fish will be on the southern banks.”
Schoenherr says this isn’t a secret, but it’s often something many of the other fishermen don’t do. He keeps his casting presentations at one- to four-feet deep and sometimes uses a float. A Road Runner is one of his favorite jigs for casting. The willow-leaf blade in chrome gives the look and flash of a shad or minnow. It works when fishing with or without a float. The 75th Anniversary BnM 7-foot spinning combo, matched with 15/4 Gamma Braid, completes his gear.
“Casting a jig has become popular with LiveScope, but it’s fun to do without watching a screen all the time, too. This tactic also works around shallow stumps in low water and other situations. It can usually get you away from the crowds.”
Lots of beds.
Tony Sheppard, Jenko Fishing and National Champ, recommends getting away from crowds by having as many beds to fish as possible. He has placed hundreds of beds on Kentucky Lake, so he picks the ones as far away from other fishermen as possible. He knows the beds haven’t been fished and it prevents fishermen from watching and marking his spots. The hard work making beds has paid big dividends in fun fishing and tournament wins.
Sheppard’s gear includes Jenko 7- and 7.2-foot Big-T Trick Sticks, and K-9 high-vis braided line with a 6-foot monofilament leader. His uses a variety of baits with the new Jenko 1.5-inch Baby Mermaid being one of his favorites.
Fishing where others don’t can mean getting away from the crowds or simply choosing to try places other fishermen don’t fish. Either way, it can lead to more peaceful fishing and some quality catches.
(Tim Huffman has specialized in crappie fishing writing and photography since 1988. He is currently Senior Writer for CrappieNOW Digital Magazine, freelance writer and book author. His new 2022 book is Crappie Annual & Product Guide. Books are available at Grizzly Jig Company or from Amazon.com.)