Crappie fishing at the beautiful Lake Manatee this past week was made difficult by blustery winds that we had daily associated with the numerous fronts that came our way. We were still able to produce some nice slabs in the 14-inch range, but numbers were down.
Water temperatures staying in the mid- to upper-60s is triggering the fish to start the spawn. I'm seeing a few fish starting to have small amounts of eggs in them, and this will just increase as we go along now with the major part of the spawn occurring around the full moon in February.
As this process progresses, the fish will move into shallower water and will not feed as much as they have the past few months. This does not mean you will not be able to catch crappie; it just means your tactics will have to change and the fishing can be tough at times.
As for now, Ron's Fish Bites jigs in yellow and hot pink worked well this week and of course always tipped with a lively fresh minnow. Sunny days right now also have been better fishing as opposed to the cloudy days I usually prefer for crappie fishing. Bass have been very finicky with the weather we have been having, and the same goes for bream as they have pushed way up under the hyacinth with the steady winds we have been having.
Capt. Mike Senecal