Author Topic: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling  (Read 9831 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Piscolli

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2573
    • View Profile
Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« on: November 29, 2014, 10:46 AM »
Long lining is a term we use typically to describe trolling at speeds above .5 mph with a decent amount of line out, usually 20í +. This is a great technique for covering a lot of water and different depths. Long lining is mostly used in open water situations like the winter months and early spring before the Crappie schools have split up and headed into the coves to make spawning beds. But you can do this to cover structure also, just be prepared for lots of snags. Iíll explain how I combat this problem later.

The trick to long lining is to find a repeatable pattern so when you find active fish, you can quickly get back on them. When I say repeatable I mean depth and speed first, second would be rigging. Other factors can play a part in your pattern as well, like the position of the sun. But if your new to long lining, I would recommend you stick to depth first. And remember that knowing what depth your bait is at is not as important as being able to get your bait back to that depth if you find a bite. I realize this may sound crazy so let me explain how I find depth.

With multiple lines out rigged with similar amounts of weight I use a simple method, counting. Take one rig, open the bail and count to 20, then another at 30 and one at 40 and so forth. If I can see fish on my graph at a certain depth I may tighten this up to say 20, 25, 30 or whatever. If Iím solo Iíll go with counts that are further apart to cover more depth. If I have 1 or 2 other people on board then we can try tighter counts. But the important thing is that by doing this, once we catch a Crappie or 2, we know how much line to let out. So my baits at say a 30 count may be 8í deep or 12í deep or whatever, I donít really care because I have found the correct depth for that situation and can easily repeat it. All you have to remember which rig is at what count.

We all know that depth is the most important factor in Crappie fishing as Crappie usually only feed upwards. Being too deep, even by a foot could mean that you drag your baits through schools of Crappie and never get a bite. So I start with shorter counts and work my way down.

Rigging can vary greatly. Double grubs, pre-made Crappie Rigs from Walmart/ BPS and crankbaits have all been good to me in the past. Two 1/16 ounce lead head grubs about 30Ē apart then tipped with minnows and trolled at .8 mph is very common in AZ.  Crankbaits can produce a bite on tougher days but youíll need to speed up to 1.25 mph or faster. Heavier rigs will of course sink faster and troll deeper. Also remember that monofilament line floats so when fishing lighter rigs, simply letting more line out may not get your bait deeper. At some point the buoyancy of the line will over power the weight of your baits. I recommend using either a fluorocarbon or braided line. Fluoro naturally sinks and braid sinks once soaked with water.

After Roosevelt Lake shot up some 70í after the heavy rains of 2005 I found myself long lining over the tops of newly sunken forests of trees. Now this is good because Crappie love to hang out in trees but bad because you spend most of your day snagging, breaking off and re-rigging. After sending several frustrated days at Rosey snagging and re-rigging, I put some serious thought into a solution for this problem. What I came up with was simple and very effective. Create a weak point where my rig will break when snagged then come up with an easy and fast way to replace it. 

So I spooled up my trolling reels with 20lb Power Pro Braid. 20lb braid is the same diameter as 6lb mono. Plus the dark green braid is somewhat hard for the Crappie to see in the murky green water of our desert lakes. Besides, Iíve never known our desert Crappie to be ďline shyĒ like trout or other species. After running the braid through the eyelets of my rod I tie a snap on the end. Sometime if the fish are deeper Iíll put a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce bullet weight on the line before the snap. The rest of my rigs are pre-made leaders using 10lb fluoro with a swivel on the top. I make this at home and have several versions. Two 1/16 ounce lead heads, a 1/16 on top and a 1/8 ounce on bottom, a snap on bottom for a casting weight and 2 hook leaders above, whatever. Then I store these leaders on a Lindy Rig holder or a piece of pool floaty.   

The point is that I have now created a weak spot, the fluoro leader. And I can easily and quickly replace it with a pre-made leader by simply un-snapping the broken rig and re-snapping a new one. Then add a couple grubs and/ or minnows and Iím back in the water. No tying knots on the water! In many years of rigging like this I have only broke my main line (braid) maybe a half a dozen times. Rigging this way has saved my countless hours on the water and kept my baits in the water longer. I am also far more confident in trolling into tree lines or over structure.

Another thing that will help you while long lining is to use long rods (10í +) in the front of your boat and short rods (6í -) in the back. Aim your front rods straight off each side and the back rod somewhat straight off the back. This will allow you to cover more water and it prevents getting the front and back rigs from snagged together while making sharp turns.

This is my way of long lining. It comes from years of doing it and experiences from fishing with other Crappie Anglers. I hope this helps your hours on the water be more productive. But itís really all about what works for you. So experiment and talk to other anglers. But most important spend as much time on the water as you can. Try and take something from every trip to the lake, whether you boat 50 Crappie or none. There is always something to learn from your day.

The Arizona Crappie Association practices and promotes the immediate release of all Crappie under 10Ē in length. Promote/ Protect 
Bill (Piscolli) Eveland
Arizona Crappie Association
Promote Protect

Offline OneBlade

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1604
  • Colorado Blade
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2014, 06:59 AM »
Thanks Piscolli for the detailed refresher.  I think someone requested info like this on another thread.

Offline Piscolli

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2573
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2014, 07:29 AM »
IAMMAC told me I should do this weeks ago but I kept forgetting. Thanks for the idea Mac!
Bill (Piscolli) Eveland
Arizona Crappie Association
Promote Protect

Offline Art Chamberlin

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2014, 11:10 AM »
Kasey andI will be doing long line trolling as part of our seminar Thursday evening at the Mesa Sportsmans Warehouse at 6:30. We will also show our drop-shot bass techniques (which will also work for crappie) and our bluegill riggings. It would be great to see some of you there,,,,,,,,,Art

Offline IAMMAC

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 529
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2014, 02:47 PM »
Hey Art, are you going to be at the I-17 Sportsman's anytime soon?

wadefisherman

  • Guest
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 06:41 AM »
Ahhhhaaaa...so that's how you do it!  :3some:

Offline Art Chamberlin

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 09:24 AM »
Mac, I haven't heard from the Yorkshire and 17 store in a couple of years so I doubt it......Art

Offline IAMMAC

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 529
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2014, 09:20 PM »
Darn it, Mesa is such a long trip but I'll see what I can do.  Been looking at a rifle at the Yorkshire store so maybe I'll buy it in Mesa.

Offline Fishless

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3014
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2014, 05:17 AM »
long what :dontknow:
"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Bernard Books

Offline SteveJ

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 100
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2014, 12:16 PM »
From the real face to the first eye there is 16 inches. 
3 pulls I have 4 feet, etc. etc.
Start with one line at 15 the second 17.
Easier for me as I might hiccup when I count seconds.

Offline sparkchaser

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1406
  • Alamo Lake
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2014, 06:12 AM »
From the real face to the first eye there is 16 inches. 
3 pulls I have 4 feet, etc. etc.
Start with one line at 15 the second 17.
Easier for me as I might hiccup when I count seconds.
Yea this is how I try to keep track of how much line I have out as well.
SEA.....HAWKS....

Offline Art Chamberlin

  • AZCA Members
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
Re: Crappie Basics- Long Line Trolling
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2014, 10:14 AM »
Sharp's magic marker on the Spiderwire Stealth Hi-vis braid is the ticket for us..........Art