By late January, crappie populations in all but the most out-of-the-way fisheries have experienced at least a fair amount of fishing pressure, leaving some of the slabs a bit jaded about biting just any old shiny thing that descends from above.

Good news is, you can still enjoy great catches.

After spending years fishing pressured metro-area lakes, Lindy pro Paul Fournier has forged a foolproof plan for tackling lure-shy crappies.

First, he identifies the best spots a lake has to offer. In shallow basin fisheries, he looks for deep holes, bottom content changes and subtle differences in weedgrowth. In deeper systems, the outside edge of deep weedlines and soft-bottomed main-lake flats are worth a look.

Once on location, he drills a 20-hole grid that starts shallow and covers the edge of the break, transition or weedline and spills into deeper water. Next, he uses sonar to scan the underwater world for signs of life—knowing that multi-fish “Christmas tree” readings portend good fishing.

Fournier’s tactical arsenal holds many tricks, but one of his favorites for tempting tough-bite crappies is actually a one-two punch. The first drop is often a small, horizontal-hanging Lindy Toad or Tungsten Toad sweetened with a skin-hooked waxworm or eurolarvae.

His second strike hinges on heavier metal, such as a small Lindy Rattl'n Flyer or Frostee Spoon, with waxies strung between the treble tines.

Both lures are fished above the crappies with subtle rodtip twitches, to slowly coax the fish higher in the water column. If a slab rises but refuses to hit, Fournier drops the lure down to where it last was jigged.

After two or three jigging sequences alternating between the Toad and spoon, he gives the Toad one last chance, dropping it just above the fish, giving it a jiggle and then letting it rest for 20 seconds, then jigging it again.

“If that doesn’t to it, I’m on to the next hole,” he said.