Florida Black Crappie

In Florida, black crappie are not just another fish in the pond. In fact, they are considered "the other white meat" by many of us who love their clean, white meat and delicious gentle flavor. Florida black crappie are more numerous than the state's black bass and just as sought after. After the Florida largemouth black bass, Florida black crappie are the second most popular freshwater species targeted in Florida.

Black Crappie Stocking by FWC

You'd be surprised to find out how many more people would rather fish for crappie than Florida bass. Approximately 1.2 crappie are caught per hour in Florida, and only 0.7 bass per hour. Florida black crappie are not only sought-after by people, but they're also on the main menu for black bass too. Unlike bass and other predatory fish, black crappie stocking is rarely needed. Because of drawdowns throughout different seasons, the FWC still wishes to stay ahead of the game to keep this species healthy and plentiful.

Crappie are a very prolific fish. It only takes a couple crappie to start an entire school. This is one of the reasons for the seriousness of the FWC black crappie stocking program. Last year alone, the FWC, produced nearly 20,000 crappie for stocking throughout the state. Florida black crappie provide the best opportunities for young -- and old alike -- to catch fish. Almost any lake, stream, pond or canal with freshwater in Florida has black crappie in it. Catching a Florida black crappie can be done easily with worms or crickets. You can also easily catch crappie using a cane pole, flyrod or a spinning rod. Introducing kids to this feisty fish is almost a guarantee that they will both (fish and child) be hooked up. With a little adult guidance, the kids will (hopefully) continue the sport, and the crappie will, in most circumstances, see a frying pan. It's important to do what I do. I feel, and encourage the young to enjoy the many pleasures of our healthy pass-time.

Florida Black Crappie

The Florida black crappie; The other white meat, far outnumbers largemouth bass in Florida's ponds, lakes, streams, and pretty-much anywhere there is water. They're a ton of fun on light fly rods or even cane poles for children new to the sport.

Some Florida Black Crappie Facts

  • There are more black crappie in Florida waters than there are largemouth black bass

  • Unlike “lunkers” or trophy bass, crappie are primarily table fare

  • Black crappie can be found in almost any pond, canal or lake in Florida

  • Black crappie can be caught on fly, spinning or cane poles

  • Lures or live baits, such as worms or crickets, will catch Florida black crappie
  • Florida black crappie are scrappie fighters, and great fish to target for the child that's new to fishing!

Florida black crappie are also called Florida speckled perch or 'specks' for short. Florida black crappie can be caught anytime of the year, summer or winter, however, anglers find that the best time of the year (for filling your bag limit of 25) is from late Fall through Springtime, before water temperatures rise too high.

Crappie Bag Limits in Florida

The possession limit for specks are as follows: Anglers can take a bag limit of 25 per day, per licensed angler. If you are fishing with a cane pole in the county of your residence, no license is required. The only other speck that is found in Florida waters, and is not a black crappie, is the black nosed crappie. The black nosed crappie is only found in Lake Seminole, Florida. They get their name 'black nosed' from a black stripe that runs down from their top (dorsal) fin to their nose. Though the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) states that these black nosed crappie seem to be a natural occurrence in Florida waters, they have only been caught in Lake Seminole. A crappie is a crappie, so bag and possession limits are the same for this cousin to the Florida black crappie.

  • Florida black crappie are also called speckled perch and specks

  • Bag limit for Florida black crappie is 25 per day, per angler

  • Angling with a cane pole in your county of residence does not require a fishing license

  • Two types of crappie are found in Florida; black and black nosed

Crappie are school fish. If you find one, then generally you find a whole lot of hungry fish. Crappie seem to be on the bite all the time except just after the passing of a weather front. Prior to fronts passing, black crappie feed repetitiously. After the passing of a front; they seem to develop “lockjaw” and bites are few to far between. When fishing for crappie, it's location, location, location. Crappie chools are always on the move in search of a meal, when they're not in bedding season. Crappie can be found along the shorelines, around structure and even in the middle of a vast open lake, like the big “O” (Okeechobee). It does not matter if it's a canal, ditch, golf course pond, just about any freshwater waterway in Florida have black crappie in them. From the Fall through Springtime, structure is the key, as fish will hold in schools according to size, suspended in layers. These suspended fish stay within their own sizes. Drifting into a zone of larger fish may result in being dinner themselves!

Hook Line and sinker Speck

Ed Anderson, the author's son, holding a tasty and scrappie Florida "Panfish", to which includes: bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), flier sunfish (Centrarchus macropterus), redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus), redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus), spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus) and the Florida black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus).

Black Crappie Spawning

Spawning occurs shortly after water temperatures reach 55 to 65 degrees, where females deposit some five thousand to twenty thousand eggs, then happily swim off to feed leaving the surrogate male to defend the nest until fry stage. This is the best time to catching Florida black crappie because the females are "on the feed" and the males will strike at anything that looks to invade the nest area.

Crappie spawn at the same time of the year as largemouth bass do, so you will often see them in the same areas. These fish are just waiting for a beetle-spin bait to flash by before grabbing it. If you do hook a bedding female, she will put on a show for both the largemouth in the water, and the commonly-seen Florida alligator.

Once the waters warm up past spawn temperatures, crappie tend to leave to the middle of the lakes and ponds, holding on structure. Until the young grow to around six inches in size, they will stay in the freshwater estuaries -- where they were born -- for safety and easier foraging.

A small hook in the number 4 size, light wire, a split shot heavy enough to submerge the float 1/4 to 1/2 of its size and any insect or worm will land you a mess of Florida black crappie, on spin cast or cane pole. Beetle spins, Rooster tails and small jigs in the 1/32 to 1/16 ounce size can be very appetizing to these ferocious eaters. For the fly guy; poppers, dry and wet flies will all work. Florida black crappie are fun and easy to catch. Day or night (with a light), angling for the Florida speckled perch will enlighten children tand adults, as they are pleasing on the catch and tasty in the pan. "Florida black crappie, the other white meat."

Here is a list of lakes in Florida that hold large numbers of the Florida Black Crappie provided by the FWC!


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