November 15, 2023

How to Catch Black Crappie in SE Massachusetts

by Ryan Collins

Black crappies have a beautifully spotted pattern along their sides. They are a cool-looking fish with a mouth similar to a bass. Black crappies bite well but don't fight as hard as other species like smallmouth bass.

For some reason black crappies never made it to the Cape in big numbers. Yes some ponds do have them, but crappies are caught with great consistency in other ponds throughout Massachusetts.

As far as freshwater table fare is concerned, black crappies (along with yellow perch) are at the top of my menu. Both species of fish have nice white fillets which are perfect for frying.

In this post we'll dive deep into fishing for black crappies.

As I mentioned above black crappies aren't plentiful on Cape, but they can be found in good numbers just off-Cape in the town of Plymouth and beyond.

How To Catch Black Crappies

Black crappies feed on minnows, crustaceans, insects and many other different types of small creatures and fish. Fishing with live shiners and small panfish style jigs can work very well.

Casting small pan fish jigs can be an absolute blast. As you'll see in the video below, the 1/8 ounce Eagle Claw tin ball  head jigs with 2 inch soft plastic tails can be an exciting way to fool crappies.

I was pretty amazed at this footage when I watched it for the first time!

How To Find Black Crappies

Fishing from a Jon Boat with a trolling motor can be a highly effective way to freshwater fish on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts. 

Black crappies will often hang out in schools in specific areas of a pond, so having the mobility of a Jon Boat (or kayak) is really helpful. 

For example, during the April 23rd 2021 trip which is featured in the video at the top of this post, we'd often catch several crappies back-to-back in one spot, and then nothing in another.

For some reason, the crappies were holding in the southernmost section of the pond. Fishing around submerged timber in this area seemed to be most productive.

Other Species You May Encounter

Black crappies are not the only species of fish you will catch on panfish jigs. Yellow perch will often be in the mix, and we encountered several schools of them throughout the trip featured in the video.

Another surprise species was the bluegill.

Bluegills are a colorful fish which eat insects and other small prey items. Jeff caught one bluegill that was pretty hefty and put up a nice fight on the ultra-light tackle.

Of course "Mr. Pickerel" will also want to get in on the panfish jig party. Pickerel have rows of sharp teeth, so it is basically a miracle to land them on the panfish jigs without getting cutoff!

In Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier in this post, black crappies are not native to Cape Cod. However I did find this list of ponds and lakes where black crappies are known to swim in Massachusetts.

Going for black crappies is just one of the many springtime freshwater fishing adventures you can have on Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. I really enjoy fishing the ponds during the spring before saltwater fishing really heats up. 

How has your fishing been recently? Please LMK what you think by commenting below. 

Tight lines! ?

About the author 

Ryan Collins

I'm fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I've been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

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