What are some basics to catching crappie at night this time of year? I'm probably going to try and go to Alan Henry Tuesday or Wednesday night and try to get after some crappie, but I'm not sure what depth to look for, or what jig colors. I figured black and chartreuse would be a good start and move on from there and experiment. I don't really want to deal with using minnows in my kayak, but I may buy a couple dozen anyways.
But mainly, what depths should I be looking for, and what color jigs should I use to catch crappie at night?
I am NOT a kayak fisherman, nor have I fished Alan Henry...but I night fish...I have a couple questions for you to consider...are there any feeding flats? IF so, is there any submerged trees, points, roadbeds, ditches, or other structures on the feeding flats? Where can you find Shad/baitfish in large numbers? These are important questions to answer...Also, take a cruise around the lake and look for spots with nightlights over or near the water and brush/structure in close proximity.
Crappie move up in the water column and feed where shad or other baitfish are located. There is an old saying "the fish are moving up to feed" that you need to remember. If crappie are hanging out in 15ft of water, and you are catching them only bottom, at dark you will begin to catch them shallower, say at 12 or 10ft. If you have green lights out (or a Coleman lantern for that matter), once the Shad start showing up, the crappie will move right up under them (2 to 5 ft) and pick them off as they circle the light. Don't fish in the light though, fish n the darkness just outside the lights edge, because that is where the crappie will be picking off the baitfish. If you can catch some Shad, use them and hook them through the lips or belly hooked.
Normal jig colors are black/pink, black/chart, purple/white (TCU alum), AND...(drum roll please). Thermocline Silver Flash...I use the LIL FRY personally, but the key is to match the size of the bait to the size of the Shad. Thermocline has various sizes/profiles on his website, and shipping fairly prompt...Under the lights, this little bait outshines them all, but I have also had success with pearl white, as well...If you have no external lights, work on the colors with contrast...black/pink for example.
TAKE MINNOWS...you will need them until the Shad show up...especially, while you are learning the ropes...even I do when night fishing...but I only get 6 dozen or so, anymore...I have a net that I can catch Shad in when they show up...and I have lots off Silver Flash baits available to use...I use the Silver flashes as soon as the Shad start showing up...once I start catching them on jigs, I pull my minnow poles out of the water and go to one pole and jig as usual, except I use a really small jig head 1/48 or 1/64, to slow down the rate of fall, because that is when they are going to hit it (on the fall).
Well these are some basics, hope it helped...good luck and good fishing!