Fishin’ in the New Year
Lake Shelbyville’s crappie fishing finished the year as strong as I can remember and 2024 is going to be even more incredible. The winter pattern is in full swing, and those cold-water SLABS are feeding, feeding and feeding. Technique is vital in this colder water and bait selection is paramount to have the best day on the water possible. In closing, I will go over a little bit about what a trip with England Expeditions is like.
This year has the potential to be the best crappie fishing Lake Shelbyville has seen in years. The length, weight, and thickness to the SLABS that we ended the year with are those exact fish we are targeting now. The population numbers of white, black and hybrid crappie are all trending upwards and with multiple classes of fish being caught daily shows that Lake Shelbyville is thriving. So come to the lake thinking you can catch 100 crappie a trip and expect to catch some bigger fish than you have caught in years past!!!
The water temperature is around 35-37* on Lake Shelbyville bringing the winter pattern into full swing. Pace and tempo is key when presenting your baits to these cold water crappie. I prefer to start each trip with a Dean Martin Hair Jig (1/16th oz), 1 inch Charlie Brewer Slider and a 1.5inch TopHate Jig Guppy Gobler. I increased my bait size after that, but I continue to use the 1/16th hair jig in this cold water. Depending on the day it might take a couple bait changes to get them dialed in. The speed at which you drop through the water columns needs to be as slow as you have fished all year. Keeping your bait above the fish is more important now than all year long because they are not feeding down in this colder water.
Vertical jigging is how I will start every trip and once I find active fish, I will start to put action on the bait controlling the speed and pace with a pendulum toss. Fish can and will be holding tight to structure looking for any additional warmth from the structure they are holding on so fish tight to the structure and work your way out. The crappie are going to be holding in water from 3-15 feet deep daily. On a real sunny day, you can find those SLABS in the shallow water around the three-foot water column or suspended a foot and a half below the surface in water as deep as 15 feet. The shallower crappie are typically the more active and aggressive fish so do not forget to get in there and fish shallow. Corking shallow water where you can find isolated structures is another great technique because some days the fish are going to be spookier than others. Casting a cork and letting it sit with controlled movement gives the fish time to commit.
Craig’s Sporting Goods in Shelbyville, Illinois is having their 3rd annual KIDS DAYon January 13th!!!! It is an open house event with vendors present and AMAZING GIVEAWAYS!!!! Last year the prizes that were given away totaled over $3,000.00 and all you had to do is show up!!! They also have a deal going that day that for every $10 spent you get a ticket to win a trip with ENGLAND EXPEDITIONS and then there will also be a $10 raffle for a trip also where each ticket is $10 for a chance to win a trip again with ENGLAND EXPEDITIONS!!! So please if you have a young adult bring them along if not, please come check it out yourselves. Hope to see as many people as possible and more than last year for this great event.
England Expeditions is a full-service guide operation that provides all bait, gear, tackle, and safety equipment. After each trip I will clean and package the fish we caught that day. I also have bottled water on the boat, but everyone is welcome to bring a small cooler with drinks and snacks if they desire. After booking a trip I contact each client a few days before their trip and discuss departure time and location and discuss how the bite has been. To book a trip please visit www.englandexpeditions.com or call 217-520-3653.
CATCHING MEMORIES ONE FISH AT A TIME