I love fall crappie fishing! November can have its fishing ups and downs as cold fronts come and go and the barometric pressure rises and falls. The fish are on the feed to fatten up for the cold winter months that follow.
Depending on the weather conditions, crappie this time of year will try and stay near a food source, schools of minnows or shad. As the water cools, sometimes massive schools of bait fish will be freed from there summertime deeper haunts to feed on photo plankton on the surface. As they do, schools of crappie will follow them and eat at will.
If your waterway or lake has docks, this can be an awesome time to fish under, around or near them, especially docks with either man-made or natural structures under or nearby. Brush piles or Moss Back Fish Habitat either hung from docks or secured on the bottom will hold the bait fish and the crappie. Docks are especially good if near deeper water and provide a lot of shade. Crappie must seek shade if the water is clear and there are sunny conditions. Their eyes have no eyelids, so bright light blinds them.
Ledges or drop-offs with downed trees or deeper brush piles and habitat can also hold bigger crappie. We are finding now with Garmin LiveScope that due to fishing pressure, many larger crappies will sit suspended near these structures but sometimes not in the structure.
Also, we have learned that trolling motors, noises in the boat and even talking can spook the crappie off of their structures even 20 plus feet away from them. One must be quiet and stealthy when approaching the fish, especially big ones. Avoid boat noise at all costs. I have found that using a quieter trolling motor such as the new Garmin Force will help to reduce noise once approaching crappie structure.
Many pro fishermen are reviving old traditional casting methods to reach the fish and their structures. Hair jigs, Road Runners, swimming jigs and plastics such as Bobby Garland baits are great for these techniques.
If you find that the fish are buried into the structures, try drop shotting the fish. The weight is on the bottom with a snelled hook and leader above. You will get fewer hang ups with this method and put the bait of choice right in their home in front of them.
Lastly, be patient. One the biggest mistakes most fishermen chasing crappie make is wanting to always twitch and move the baits. Often, crappies will suspend right in front of your baits, eyeballing it to ensure it is something they want. They are unlike other sportfish such as bass. They want a subtle presentation. Sometimes, even no movement is good!
Hope this helps you pursue your fall crappie fishing.
God Bless and Good Fishing!