As we noted in the first installment of this post, the practice of spreading up to eight rods across the front of your boat and then slowly presenting a spread of baits in a vertical presentation offers an effective way to target late spring-summer crappie under docks, in brush piles and over ledges.
Jigs and/or bare-hooked minnows will tempt the fish, but the management of 12- to 14-foot rods from which those baits suspend merits consideration in two main areas:
Rod rack systems vary and some like the simplicity of a fixed T-bar design with individual holders that move side to side for spacing adjustment. For optimal control of each rod’s position Crappie tournament pro Whitey Outlaw uses the Driftmaster Crappie Stalker system (driftmaster.com) with individual rod holders independently mounted to his deck. Each collapsible holder moves laterally for spacing, as well as forward and backward for specific angles.
You’ll often need to adjust for daily conditions and boat weight (number of anglers, fuel, gear), but personal space also matters. With a 2-person team, each may prefer different rod spacing and distance. Versatile rod holders address all considerations. Another option: Tite-Lok Widow Maker.
You’ll also want to consider where you’ll put those rods when not in use – i.e. running to and from fishing spots. Much longer than bass rods, crappie poles won’t just lie neatly on the front deck, while stacking them next to the passenger seat can yield frustrating entanglements.
Elevated, locking rod racks like the Rod-Safe or Driftmaster Rod Locker blend convenience with security for a space-conscious and orderly method of rod storage.
Manager your rods and you’ll find spider rigging more productive.