FLORIDA WINTER CRAPPIE FISHING
While a majority of the fisherman throughout the US are setting up ice tents, augers, and double layering their clothes, Florida anglers are putting on shorts and applying sunscreen. Florida is one of the best places to fish within the United States. With temperatures usually staying above 80 degrees most of the year, this makes Florida a prime destination for fishing. While Florida is known for its spectacular Saltwater Fishing, it is also one of the best states for freshwater fishing in the United States.
I headed down to Central Florida to escape the frigid cold of the Midwest. With temperatures reaching negative 38 degrees (with wind chill), it was time to go to Florida for some 80 degree weather and bass fishing. I have never fished the Orlando area so I was basing a lot my fishing excursion off of internet research. As most of the big named lakes like Lake Apopka, Lake Ivanhoe, Lake Howell, usually require a boat or kayak for good fishing, I wanted to switch it up and fish the run offs of many of these lakes. Plus it also gave me a chance save me money on boat rentals.
When I was finally geared up, I searched for openings along the road that had access to fishing. A lot of the spots that looked good did not have any gaps to stand or cast. After driving around for 40 minutes, I was able to find a spot that looked promising for some good size largemouth bass.
The waterway I found was on the back end of the lake, where a drainage runoff/creek met the lake. As having a lot of experience fishing rivers and dams, I had a feeling there would be some good fish in this area. Since the runoff did not have any weeds or lily pads, I was throwing a lipless crank bait. A red and white lipless crankbait to be exact. I was power fishing the pockets and working different angles of the area.
After about 25 minutes of casting, I wanted to switch it up and take a different approach on retrieving the lure. I was casting to the other side of the bank and working it throw the pocket. This time I wanted to reel in and let the crank bait sit on the bottom of the pocket between the two points. Once the crank hit the bottom, I did a 1-2 hard retrieve and then let it sink back down. On the 4th time of slow rolling the retrieve like this, my line took off. Hook set!
The line was tight and it was a good fighting fish. I can tell by the way it was swimming and fighting it was not a bass. When it came to the surface it was surprisingly a Black Crappie. A really good sized aggressive Black Crappie. The blue colors between the black in the this fish were vibrant and bright.
On average, a full-grown crappie will measure 10 inches (25 cm) from nose to tail and weighs between a half-pound and one pound. This Crappie I caught was 2.2 Pounds. A beautiful Florida Black Crappie and also my personal best Crappie.
About 5 minutes later, strike! Another Crappie hits. This Crappie was was another nice slab. Pushing about 2lbs. At this point I knew I knew this spot was a gem. I was with my brother and this gave us an opportunity to try different approaches to landing these keepers. As I was taking a faster with ripping cranks (was secretly hoping for some bass) my brother took a much slower approach. He was finesse fishing with the Storm Wildeye 3-inch shad.
Overall, exploring new spots payed off. When water temperature in Florida usually tends to stay above 50 degrees, Crappie fishing can be ideal anytime of year. Crappie tend to stick together and stay in schools. When spawning, these schools protect the thousands of eggs. The result of our success was based off of us finding the pockets throughout the body of water where they were conjugating. Some days may seem slow but if that is the case, always stay on the move. You never know when you might find the honey hole.