By Dan Johnson

In yesterday’s blog we touched on top spots to fish for prespawn crappies when brutal cold fronts push them out of shallow feeding areas. Today, lets’ look at tightlining—a top tactic for tempting these finicky post-frontal fish to bite.

Start by identifying a fish-holding area in deeper water adjacent to the shallows where crappies fed prior to the front’s arrival. As we discussed yesterday, prime lies include structural sweet spots like grass, brush or stumps along a channel break or shoreline drop-off.

The fish typically suspend low in the water column, and in extreme conditions may tuck tight to bottom or any available cover. Sometimes you can mark them on sonar. Other times you need to fish a spot to find out whether or not it holds crappies.

Since post-cold-front fish are often lethargic, ultra-slow presentations like tightlining jigs tend to out-produce faster paced approaches such as casting and retrieving or even slow-trolling.

A 1/8- to ¼-ounce Lindy Watsit Jig often gets the nod for tightlining, though a similar-sized Lindy Jig tipped with a Fuzz-E-Grub body is another top option. Either way, choose contrasting head and body colors, and use a loop knot to give the jig a heads-up orientation, which mimics a dying baitfish.

Use an electric trolling motor to hover over a fish-holding area and hold the jig close to bottom. Try not to impart much action (the motion of the boat will often impart all the action you need, although slowly raising and lowering it can be effective). Intersperse the presentation with occasional twitches, and if the bite is really off, try slowly bouncing the jig on bottom in 2- to 3-inch lifts.

Keep in mind that spring crappies are mobile even after fronts, so if the bite dies, search the surrounding area in case the school moved on.