One of my favorite things to enjoy about spring is fishing for the black crappie and bluegill.  The crappies are spawning right now and are in mostly shallow water at this time of the year.  Bluegills will soon start spawning.

As these fish spawn, the females come in close to shore and built a nest; usually just a shallow depression in the soft bottom of the pond or lake. When these fish are on the spawn, they become aggressive and hit a lure or bait viciously.  

I like to use a spinning rod with a soft rubber jig and a foam bobber. You always need to fish with regard to the wind, if any.  The ideal method is to fish into any wind; that way the jig bounces up and down as the wind causes wave action as you reel slowing back to shore, keeping a tight line.  Hits can be quite hard or just the bobber hesitates for a bit. Practice will sharpen your senses and after a while you will be able to sense a strike the instant it comes.

I fish from one spot to start. Casts start near shore and I use a clockwise casting method. If a fish bites, cast into the same spot again as pan fish like to school at times. When the action slows at 12 o’clock, cast at 2 o’clock and start over.

Using this casting method, one can cover about 50 feet in both directions.  Then move slightly along the shore and start the method again. I usually only cover 100 feet or less in either direction from my starting position.  

A cross wind is also OK for this type of fishing. No wind means the angler needs to give the jig twitches as the jig is retrieved to shore. One trick I learned just accidentally one day a few years ago is that sometimes one does not even have to cast. Just dip the jig into the shallow water and watch the action. Hits come almost immediately. That trick was fun to learn and I always use it sometime during each spring fishing trip for crappies and bluegills.  

Next time we shall discuss keeping your catch and preparing it for the table. In my opinion, pan fish are better tasting that trout and much easier to catch.

Get out and enjoy the great outdoors and the many wonderful things in nature that God gives to us each day.

Jim Collins is an outdoor writer for The Sunday Review. He lives in Alba, Pennsylvania with his wife, Linda Marie. You may contact him at: jimcollinsinsurance@ or (570) 673-3622.