Fall Crappie Lake Shelbyville

by Steve Welch


Each year I get fired up about fall crappie. Get out your favorite jig pole some Midsouth tubes and my Deep Ledge Jigs and just go catch them. Once the water temps fall into the high fifties the crappie move up shallow and remain there until ice up. I have preached this for years it is the fall bite that is the most consistent. Once we get past the turnover in late September the crappie go nuts and have strings of thirty or more days in a row that the boat gets three limits. If October is that good you should see November even better is what I tell my clients.

I have so many brush piles to run to on my home lake that I can get my limit of fifteen crappie in less than an hour on most days. The crappie are really all that is biting so three rods is all I need to have in the boat. During this time frame I discourage clients on bringing three because I have a special seating system on the front deck which allows us to all set on the nose and hover over deep brush. This way I can keep an eye on everyone's jig on my Lowrance depth finders. We need to be right down in the thick of the brush and also be able to hover without moving one way or another. This takes practice and since I fish about 250 days a year and have for many years I get plenty of practice. I tell folks that hovering is the key for catching crappie way over all the other gimmicks. You can go out and buy all the plastic tubes or solid bodied baits on the market. Get every color imaginable and every jig made and if you can't hover you don't catch a thing. I see it day after day. You cannot buy it by getting one of those fancy Terrova's. They are much more suited for trolling or working a shoreline while casting.

I start my day with running a brush pile every ten to fifteen minutes and bounce from one to another just getting a handful from each. I believe you will catch the big fish off the pile in the first half dozen fish since they are the most aggressive. This fishing style has treated me well through the years as I have on numerous crappie tourneys with this run and gun attitude.

Each pile I try and learn something. What wind direction has this pile loaded or what is the water color that day or what is the surface temperature or what is the water depth. Some piles you can fish every day and some you need to give them time to reload and I believe wind has a lot to do with that. You need wind to push bait towards the pile.

I know you can buy at least 150 different colors of plastic baits but I stick with just a few. My favorite has to be Smoke Glow from Midsouth simply because it glows and is clear so I can load it with Crappie Nibbles and turn it chartreuse, pink or white depending on which color nibble I inject into it. I use my old Bait Pump to inject the nibbles into the plastic tube. Other colors I use are white sparkle, red and chartreuse, glow chartreuse, black and chartreuse to name a few. The water color and light penetration has a lot do with my color selection that day.

My Deep Ledge Jigs are in my opinion the best crappie jigs made. I use a light wire hook so it will bend and then bend right back one you get hung up. I make them in several weights and styles. I make a heavy 1/4oz. that I use 99% of the time because I can swim it back and forth over and in brush and try to bump them into branches for reaction bites. I also make 3/16oz., 1/8oz. and 3/32oz. Plus I make all these sizes with spinners on them. I believe most companies put on too large of a blade when making these type jigs so I keep mine very small just big enough to add some flash when you tight line them in brush and swim it back and forth. You can order my jigs through my on-line store or at several retailers around Lake Shelbyville. The list is on my website as to who they are.

At the time of this writing I only have ten openings for October but don't worry November has a bunch left so don't wait or they too will be gone. Just go to my website at www.LakeShelbyvilleGuide.Com and reserve your date. Also my wife just got me a 2016 calendar so you regulars can get your spring dates nailed down. The walleye trips run from May 15th through June 15th or a little earlier and later than those dates by a few days. The dates for Kentucky Lake spring is March 20th-April 20th. I am pushing them hard and plan on staying there for the entire spawn in 2016. Going to see some real giants for sure. Then the crappie spawn on Shelbyville dates are wide open but won't be once I get through all the 2016 shows.