North Carolina Sportsman

Take a shot at Wylie’s early winter crappie

Phillip Gentry - December 23, 2012  Video Included Video Included
Former national champion crappie fisherman Mike Parrott sets his sights on boat docks for catching some slab crappie at Lake Wylie on the North Carolina-South Carolina border.
Phillip Gentry
Former national champion crappie fisherman Mike Parrott sets his sights on boat docks for catching some slab crappie at Lake Wylie on the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

Seasonal patterns dictate the movements of crappie, no matter which lake you are fishing. However, on many clear lakes such as Lake Wylie on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, crappie movements may be more vertical than horizontal as the seasons change.
Mike Parrott, a tournament fisherman and past national crappie-fishing champion, said that a particular segment of Lake Wylie crappie takes up year-round residence around larger residential and commercial boat docks.

“Everything these fish need can be found around these big docks: depth, food and cover,” said Parrott, “I think these fish even spawn under these docks. All they have to do is move from shallower to deeper as the weather dictates.”

In order to target crappie that hide under the boats and floats that make up a large boat dock, Parrott employs the tactic of “shooting.” In one hand, he holds the bait, typically a small crappie jig, while holding the line tight to the spool of a spinning reel with the other.

“It takes a bit of practice,” said Parrott. “You bend the rod over and hold the jig between your thumb and forefinger under the reel. Release the jig and simultaneously release the line, which sling shots the bait forward, parallel to the water, causing it to skip up under the boat or dock or whatever you’re shooting at.”

Winter time on Wylie means a very light bite, so Parrott uses 4-pound test line and a 1/64-ounce jig. Allowing the jig to free-fall after the shot, Parrott intently watches the line for the slightest tick, movement, or simply piling up on the surface, indicating a fish has inhaled the jig.

In the attached video, Parrott demonstrates more tips for shooting winter crappie on Lake Wylie.