Tag Archives: Ted Takasaki

Midsummer Crappies: You Can Catch ’em!

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
Ted Takasaki’s satisfied smile says it all: you can still track down and catch crappies long after the easy shallow spring pickins are over! Follow Ted’s advice on what to look for, how to use side-imaging sonar to find possible hotspots, and what tackle to tempt summer crappies with. Here, Ted holds up a crappie caught on a Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub, fished under a Thill slip float rig.

This may come as a surprise – open-water crappie season lasts far longer than April and May.Sure, boats crowd the shallows when crappies are spawning and the morel mushrooms are popping up in the timber. But, this good tasting fish can be caught from lakes or reservoirs right through summer if you know where to look. We’ve caught crappies when the temperatures topped 100 degrees. Friends were jumping off the back of the boat to keep cool while we set the hook on a keeper slab at the front.

A lake map and a good sonar unit, like a Humminbird with side-imaging technology, will make the task easier.

Make sure the targeted water has crappies worth catching. Good walleye lakes with deep water often have good crappies. But crappies are notorious for boom and bust cycles from year to year. Check in with the Department of Natural Resources biologists that survey the panfish populations. In the Northwoods, target lakes others might overlook. The harder a lake is to reach, the better the panfishing may be.

Vegetation is the key in natural lakes and in reservoirs that have weeds. Summer crappies often suspend off the outside weed lines, especially cabbage weed, between 5 and 20 feet down. As always, look for the irregular bends along the edges where fish stop on their migration routes.

Cast a small jig, like a Lindy Quiver Jig and a minnow. But minnows can be hard to keep healthy in hot weather. Try small plastic baits like tubes or twisters or a YUM Beavertail. Simply cast along the weed line and let it fall. Crappies will take it on the drop. Or, try casting small lures like a 3/16-ounce Cordell Super Spot.

Lindy rigs are good search tools worked along the edge. A NO SNAGG sinker and a small hook or a number 6 or 8 Aberdeen hook works best. Use a light-action 7- or 8-foot St. Croix rod. The rod should flex so you don’t pull hooks out of their paper-thin mouths. Use light line like 4-pound-test monofilament. Once fish are found, draw away from the weed line, anchor and use slip-bobber rigs.

Wood is often the right cover in reservoirs. Look for standing timber on points in deeper water. Crappies will hold tight to the trunks and in the limbs. The key is finding the right depth. Tight-line small jigs and plastic or minnows on longer rods. Let the bait down to the bottom and reel up a turn or two. Nothing? Reel up another foot. Repeat until an aggressive fish takes the bait and tips off the location of others. Rather than reeling in that first one, lift your rod and swing the fish to you. Use the rod to measure the active depth. That makes it easy to return the jig to the right spot time after time. Slip-bobbers can do the same task.

Though harder to find, deeper brush piles and fish cribs are deadly during the hot months. Lake maps often feature the cribs. Brush piles can be tricky to spot. A side-imaging Humminbird can scan the dropoffs on points fast. In a reservoir, the brush farther from shore can be prime. It’s overlooked and often untouched. Finding the brush is a matter of checking the lake map for turns in the old river channel where brush might collect. Use your sonar to pinpoint the spot, drop a buoy or use an electronic “marker” on a GPS to stay unnoticed by other boats. Tight-line a small jig. Braided line often lets you pull a jig free if you get snagged.

Crappies are color-sensitive. Mix it up until they show a preference.

Mark active spots on the GPS. Leave when the action stops and move to find other places holding fish. You’ll have a milk run of places to return later that day or on other days. One good thing about deeper spots – they tend to hold fish more consistently than the shallows.

Crappies can get harder to find as the summer wears on. They move over mud bottoms where they form tight, silo-shaped schools that may be 10 feet in diameter and 25 feet from top to bottom. Or they move to deeper water and suspend around schools of small baitfish. Search for them with your electronics, then drop a marker buoy. One way to target them is to cast Lindy’s Little Guppy jig. An easier way is simply to troll or drift open water. If state law allows, use a three-way swivel and a double three-way rig with a small ?-oz. Fuzz-E-Grub jig as the dropper and a small 1/32-oz. Little Nipper on the trailer. Move slowly with your trolling motor.

Where trolling isn’t allowed, drift with baits set at different depths until the active depth is determined. Split shot of different sizes can help keep the baits in the zones. Best depth may depend on the thermocline (where deeper water, with less oxygen, meets water on top, which has more oxygen). Fish generally try to find their comfort zone temperature-wise, but oxygen is the deciding factor. If there’s no oxygen at the temperature they like, they’ll have to settle for warmer water. The thermocline will appear on a good sonar as a line across the screen at a certain depth.

Crappies may also seek cover under docks at certain times of day. Use a short 4-1/2 foot ultralight rod, 2- or 4-pound line, and a tiny 1/64- or 1/32-ounce Little Nipper. Open the bail on the spinning reel, hold the line tight, take the jig in the other hand and pull the line back until the rod bows. Point the rod tip at the target under the dock and let it fly.

Lastly, night fishing can be very effective and a fun way to spend a summer’s night under the stars. Check the same wood piles and weed edges that produced crappies earlier. They’re most likely still there. Anchor quietly and use Thill Splash Brite floats, which light up upon contact with the water, rigged as slip bobbers. That’s the makings of a midsummer night’s dream.

Hi-Tech Sonar and its Use

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson Pro fisherman Ted Takasaki hoists a monster walleye he caught with the aid of modern sonar. Technology behind ‘depthfinders’ now includes side-imaging sonar, which Takasaki uses regularly in professional tournaments. The same advantages he finds can be yours, as you seek to make good use of limited fishing time.Continue Reading

Rigging with the Legend

Rigging with the Legend

By: Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson An exclusive interview with Lindy Rig inventor Ron Lindner Ted Takasaki hoists a Lindy Rig-caught walleye. There would be no way to count the total number of walleyes caught on the famous Lindy Rig, but after reading the thoughts of inventor Ron Lindner, we hope you add to theContinue Reading

Dancin’ for More Crappies

Dancin’ for More Crappies

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson Hall of Famer Ted Takasaki with a dandy springtime crappie caught using the system described in this article. Mr. Slip Bobber, Greg Bohn, outlines what you need to know to find and catch crappies as they seek warmer water in the spring. When north woods guide, Greg Bohn, fishesContinue Reading

Icin’ Down Some Crappies!

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson   Whether you live near natural lakes, reservoirs, or both, use the advice in this article to find and catch winter crappies. After the fishing is over, the fish fry just might be the best part! There’s nothing like a midwinter fish fry with crappie fillets as the mainContinue Reading

Trophy Walleye Trip Planner

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson   Pro fisherman Ted Takasaki hoists a monster walleye against a rich October sky. From spring through winter, follow Ted’s Trophy Walleye Planner to find big fish on purpose. Catching eating-size walleyes for the skillet is fun. But, who wouldn’t want to see a 10-pound walleye in the net? Continue Reading

Be Loud, Be Heard on the Ice

by Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson   Typical of fish caught on the Lindy Darter, even during midday, this walleye inhaled the bait with gusto. Try Jon Thelen’s aggressive approach to winter fishing and you’ll be unhooking fish rather than dealing another hand of cards. Most ice fishermen choose a serene approach, fearing they mightContinue Reading

Fall Over for Walleyes

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson If you look in summer spots, your fall walleye fishing will be frustrating. But follow Hall of Famer Ted Takasaki’s transition formula and you just might score a monster like this! Though the calendar doesn’t say so yet, weather forecasters count the time around Labor Day as the startContinue Reading

The Eyes Have It

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson The rich colors of an above-water sunset belie the low light conditions fish face as they play out nature’s game of predator and prey. Read all about the art and science of color from the playbook of Hall of Fame angler Ted Takasaki, who poses here with a dandyContinue Reading

Lindy Riggin’ Fall Trophies

By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson   What a monster! Fall is trophy time for walleye anglers, especially if you key on the fine points presented by Hall of Famer Ted Takasaki. Here, Ted holds up a bruiser taken on a Lindy Rig baited with a big minnow, along a steep break-the same recipe youContinue Reading