Captain Jim Porter
Location: Stick Marsh/Farm 13, Florida
Credentials: An accomplished fishing writer and professional guide since 2002, fifty percent of all Porter’s trips are for crappie, during which he routinely boats fish weighing two pounds or better.
Number of years guiding: 7
Contact: (321) 951-7841; stickmarsh.com
Favorite Spinner: Mepps Aglia Ultra Lite
Color: Gold with yellow tail
Weight: 1/18 oz.
Details: “Crappie react well to flash, and a gold spinner has always been a productive standby, but I honestly don’t use them that often. I’ve always found that Colorado blades have better rotation at slower speeds than other styles. I’ll cast and give a quick wrist snap just to get it turning, but once it’s going, you can slow down to the speed you need and the blade will stay in motion.”
Luhr Jensen Hot Shot
Favorite Hardbait: Luhr Jensen Hot Shot
Size: 1 ½ in.
Details: “These are odd looking crankbaits, but they have a very erratic action that makes them want to run to one side, then run back to center for a few beats, then go the other way. I think the give off a different sound wave because of that action. To effectively fish crankbaits for crappie, you have to know the size of the fish you’re targeting. I use them primarily when I know there are lots of ten-plus-inchers around. Big crappie hit them no problem, but smaller fish will shy away from larger baits.”
Favorite Jig: The Perfect Crappy Jig
Color: Gray Ghost
Weight: 1/16 oz.
Details: “I developed these jigs because I wasn’t happy with what was out there. The eye is offset so the jig hangs horizontally instead of tail down, which is unnatural. The marabou tail also undulates constantly, even while sitting still, which really triggers strikes. I actually don’t jig a jig at all. I find that a slow, steady retrieve is more productive. I think that might be because the jig doesn’t look nervous, therefore it’s more vulnerable because it doesn’t act like a baitfish that thinks it’s in trouble.”
Favorite Soft Plastic: Bass Pro Tripple Ripple Grub
Size: 3 in.
Weight: 1/8 oz. jighead
Details: “Many curly-tail grubs are molded in one piece, so the tail is stiff and takes some aggressive jigging to get it moving correctly. The three strands on the Tripple Ripple have a nice wiggle even when worked super slowly. Lots of guys fish soft plastics under corks, which is effective but can also hold you back. Even when you think your depth is set just right, the lure will always find the one branch or rock sticking up higher and hang up. If you skip the float, you can adapt to quick changes in depth or structure height more efficiently, which means more time in the water.”