So within minutes, he had downsized his offering: a smaller jig and smaller tail (Micro Nuggie). (Boedeker carries three rods, each rigged with a different sized jig.)He started catching fish as soon as he downsized his bait and tail. He caught five nice crappie in quick order, then he noticed the suspended fish were gone. He dropped down to just above the bottom and caught a bluegill.
“When crappies are suspended, they’re feeding,” he explained. “When they settle down to the bottom, they’re not generally feeding aggressively. Crappies are almost always going to be on top of the bluegills, though, so just fish for the high ones. If you drop down to them and catch bluegills, odds are they’re all bluegills.”
He fished awhile longer, caught a few more ‘gills, then moved. He immediately caught another crappie. I watched closely. Boedeker said he used two-pound-test, high-visibility line (yellow).
“I never use more than two-pound test, but there’s a lot of difference in line,” he said. “Our average run-of-the-mill line, for the same pound test, will be at least twice the diameter of a super premium line. I have some European line that’s 2.2–pound-test that’s .003 diameter. Some two-pound-test is almost .006 diameter. That’s a heck of a lot more drag on your line when you’re using small jigs and you’re trying to get it down there fast.”
Boedeker was using short, flexible, home-made fiberglass rods with simple spring tension spools for reels. He held the rod tip just inches from the hole to negate the wind. (“I’d rather fish in 10 below than a 10 mile-an-hour wind,” he said.) He kept the tip moving, eyes glued to the line. When he detected something unusual in the line, he used a short, quick hook set.