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Search Grid Huckabee covers a lot of water for postspawn crappies, trolling along riprap (a), breaklines (b), and points (c). Jason Lee

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Search Grid Huckabee covers a lot of water for postspawn crappies, trolling along riprap (a), breaklines (b), and points (c). Jason Lee

Many reservoirs are now releasing water to draw down high levels, while crappies are moving into postspawn patterns. This creates a challenge: “The fish could be 4 feet deep in 20 feet of water,” says Todd Huckabee, a Crappie USA pro, “or 10 feet deep in 10 feet of water.” Here’s how he searches for slabs.

Slow-troll along breaklines, riprap, and points. Huckabee is partial to jigs now and stresses going slowly enough that the lines drop straight down for proper action. “The fish are moving to colder water, following the baitfish, which you’ll often find in faster-moving current,” he says. “The key is to use a graph to locate baitfish. You find the baitfish, you’ll find the fish.” To maximize search results, Huckabee fishes two rods, each rigged with different jigs, at different depths.

Huckabee fishes with a Quantum 10-foot Meat Dragger rod (a rod he designed) and a Quantum Energy Code Red baitcasting reel. The rod’s extra length delivers more hooksetting power and keeps the lures away from the boat to cover more water. The reel, which has a 10-bearing drive system and an externally adjustable centrifugal brake, has a special Flippin Switch that lets him place baits precisely in tight cover. He uses 8- to 10-pound-test Silver Thread AN40 line for enhanced strike detection.

Lethal Dos Pumpkin-­chartreuse and white-chartreuse are productive jig color combos for Huckabee. Jason Lee

Huckabee rigs two jigs per rod, spacing them about 18 inches apart. Tie the first jig with a Palomar knot, leaving a 2-foot-long tag end to which you fasten the second jig with another Palomar. Huckabee adjusts the jig depth until he gets into fish. In calm conditions he’ll use 1⁄8-ounce jigs top and bottom. In strong wind or current, he’ll use a 1⁄4-ounce jig as the lower lure. He’ll often tip the jigs with 2-inch Yum Woolly Beavertails. He uses the Lindy X-Change Jig System to cut down on time spent rerigging.

Classic Tap’s Tips

Liquid Duct Tape: Amazing what you can do with liquid cement. Being fast-drying and waterproof, it’s ideal for plugging a boat leak, patching waders, or replacing a loose rod ferrule. And being flammable, it makes an excellent fire starter, too.
Light Idea: You don’t have to fill your boots or waders with water to locate pin-prick holes. Hold a flashlight inside, and where light leaks out you can be sure water will too.