One of  the country’s most successful professional crappie fishing teams, the Reedys are masters of fishing with spider rigs.

With two anglers in the boat the Reedys have a division of labor that has proven successful for over past nearly 20 years of crappie fishing.

Jim is in charge of running the trolling motor, watching for fish on the locater, catching fish and netting fish.  Barbara gets the poles and minnows to the front and takes caught fish to the back to put in a live well.  Both are responsible for their own poles.

Some lakes have a limit of three poles per angler.  Others have limits of 2 poles per angler.  Each pole can be rigged with two hooks.  Team Reedy prefers pre-rigged minnow rigs that have a hook at the end and a ½ ounce egg sinker 8 inches above it.  Twenty-two inches above the sinker is a three-way swivel.  One eye of the swivel is tied to a line going back to the pole.  The other has a 9-inch line with a hook on it.  Both hooks are baited with a minnow.

The main line is composed of 6-pound Hi Vis line which allows us to see any sideways movement made by a fish taking one of the minnows.  Jim explains that in vertical jigging, fishermen often miss bites when they miss that sideways movement.

Other than the number of poles, spider fishing is basically jigging with 14-foot poles.  That is where the resemblance ends.  On the front and back of the Reedy boat are mounted brackets that will hold multiple rods.  Jim explains that fishing from the front is spider rigging and from the back is trolling or long line fishing.

With water temperatures about 40-degrees matching a slightly lower air temperature a strong southwest wind makes things a bit uncomfortable.  Six rods fan out from the bow.  Each rig is set at a different depth.  By slowly trolling forward over submerged boulders and brush piles structure is located at about 20 feet and the bottom falls away to about 35 feet a short distance away.

The rods are in a spider rig of rod holders.  The boat seats are near enough to the rods so as to be within easy reach.  They are far enough away that they do not interfere with movement from the seats to a particular rod.

Crappies are usually on the move in cold water in pursuit of schools of shad staging near the deep water structure.  They can be on the sides or even over the top of the brush and rocks.  For this reason the lines are set in varying depths from one foot off the bottom upward in one foot increments.

Spider rigging is a great way to find and catch crappie in cold water.


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