November marks the beginning of the 10th Annual Shad and Crappie Derby! Early season focus will be black crappie – the shad don’t show up until late December. Visit https://coastalanglermag.com/orlando/shad-crappie-derby/ for complete information.
Right now, the speckled perch (crappie) bite is strong in the lakes. Jessup’s pilings are a great place to drop a minnow tipped jig to the bottom and lift in 2-foot increments with a slight twitch. Lake Monroe is usually where the winning fish comes from, hint: November is the month! Deep river bends don’t frequently catch fire until after the second cold front for specks. In Lake Harney, you’ll find folks drifting minnows under a bobber on windy days and limits will happen. During the full and new moon phases, try a lily pad patch near where the river enters and exits the lakes.
Slow trolling techniques are important – speed matters. Longline speeds are productive in the 1.0 to 2.0 mph range, while spider rigging effectiveness varies from .5 to 1.2 mph. Jig colors and depth is also a big factor. Set your baits at different depths and change colors until you find what the fish like that day. Heavier jig heads and slower speeds will allow the baits to run deeper, crappie like to hug the bottom in most cases in the lakes. Crappie jigs that work great in these waters: Ron’s zip jigs, Jiffy Jigs, 2” curly tails, 2” paddle tails. Colors: Pink, green, chartreuse, red/white, black, blue/white, yellow, orange, purple, and combinations thereof.
When Christmas time nears, we will look for hickory shad, American shad, and blue back herring to show up again. Get ready by checking your tackle and lures. Small spoons and shad darts, ice jigs, fly equipment. Although the shad are not supposed to eat during their spawning run, a minnow tipped jig trolled against the current at about 2.0 mph sure works great!