A deep body with nearly symmetrical dorsal and anal fins and a speckled pattern on the body and fins identify the black crappie.
Unlike most other panfish, crappie spend much of their time offshore feeding on small fish in lakes or in large slow-moving clear water rivers.
They nest in colonies from February to April. Nests are fanned by males over gravel or muddy bottoms in depths of 3-8 feet, with big fish deeper. Primary food items are crustaceans, aquatic insects and small fishes.
State Record: 3.83 lbs. Big Catch minimum: 14 inches or 2.0 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts: Specks are a cool-weather favorite and excellent table fare. Crappies are common throughout Florida. Drift Missouri minnows or grass shrimp below a float, with a #4 hook and small split shot. Depth is key, as crappie school at the same level. When crappie move inshore to spawn, a bright 1/16-oz. to 1/8-oz. jig or Hal-flies will produce.
Image Credit: © Duane Raver, Jr.