South Carolina crappie expert Whitey Outlaw competes in big-time tournaments from his 20-foot boat. But when he wants to load up on slabs for fun and fish fries, Outlaw climbs into a 9-foot sneak boat powered by a foot-controlled electric motor secured to the transom. From this stealthy craft, he dips a tiny jig into tight cover and snatches crappies that haven’t been pressured by other anglers. Here’s how.
1. Crafty Craft
Most fishing kayaks can be set up for Outlaw’s method. Go with a 10-footer; anything longer would be difficult to maneuver in flooded cover. Besides reaching untapped water, a sneak boat will help you pluck crappies from any shallow cover, including docks and windfalls.
2. Slab Supplies
Outlaw fishes with a 10-foot B’n’M Santee Elite graphite rod. It has no guides that can catch on the limbs and branches of flooded bushes and other dense crappie cover. The fishing line, 8-pound mono, threads through the rod blank and exits out the tip. The business end of the line is usually knotted to a 1⁄16-ounce Rockport Rattler jig dressed with a Glitter Head.
3. Delicate Drop
As Outlaw makes his final approach, he sculls silently with a short paddle. He dangles the jig about 2 feet below the rod, then, with his free hand, pulls the exposed line above the reel. Once the jig contacts the rod’s tip, Outlaw pushes it into the cover and drops it straight down below the surface. He lets the jig hang for a few seconds, bounces it a few times, and moves on to the next piece of cover. “If a crappie’s there,” he says, “it jumps on the jig pretty quick.”
Photograph by Windigo Images