Many fisherman swear by the use of a long pole fishing technique called doodlesocking. In the simplest of terms, doodlesocking is basically the use of an extra long fishing pole using a jig as bait. These long poles are usually anywhere from 10 up to 16 feet in length. Some of these poles are broke into sections, some are telescopic, and some are a combination of both. Some use pole and reel combinations, while some are simply just a pole.
What makes these poles so good in the early Spring, is that Crappie have moved in from the deep water, and are either just offshore preparing for the spawn, or on their beds spawning in the shallow waters. When the Crappie are in the shallow water, it is easier to get them to bite if you can use your long telescopic pole, and extend to where they are without spooking them.
An advantage of doodlesocking for shore anglers is that the long poles used enable the fisherman to reach the deeper waters just offshore when the Crappie are in their pre-spawn and post-spawn stage. An advantage for boat fisherman is that the long poles can be dropped by a submerged tree without getting close enough to bump it and disturb the fish underneath.
When doodlesocking, try to drop your jig near cover such as submerged trees, underwater ledges, Lilly pads, boat docks, and fallen brush. If you can find structure next to a deeper channel, then that is usually a prime location. Work every angle of the cover before moving on to the next. But, Crappie are nomadic in nature, so don’t obsess about a particular spot. Even though you may have caught fish in that same spot yesterday, it does not necessarily mean that they are there today.
Once you have fished a spot, move on to the next. If you are fishing a submerged tree, try dropping the jig straight to the bottom. Raise slowly, and if you hit an underwater branch, hesitate, and twitch your rod. If nothing, then raise until you bump the next branch or pull the jig out of the water.
In some instances, the fish are really shallow. Just pick up and drop your bait as close to covered structure as you can. Crappie are not super aggressive, so work slowly and patiently.
Start with a light jig like a 1/32 oz, and move to heavier jigs if feel it is needed. Sometimes you may be on a hot bed of action, and you want the bait to fall faster, In this case, use a heavier jig. Doodlesocking is all a matter of trial and error, but when you find the right combination, you can experience some serious results. Don’t be afraid to try different weights and color combinations.
If you are not getting any bites with a jig, you may want to try putting on an attractant to the jig. Another idea to enhance your offering is to lip hook a minnow on the jig.
Doodlesocking has long been a favorite method of catching Crappie for many fisherman, and will continue to be so for years to come. The low cost of the equipment needed, and the ability for the beginning angler without a boat to be able to reach out to prime fishing, will always make this a popular technique.