As we progress into fall, more and more people flock to the woods for their annual hunting rituals. However, fall can be an absolute bonanza for big fall crappies and perch as they start gorging in preparation for the upcoming leaner winter months ahead. It is during fall when slabs and bulls feed more heavily on minnows, which makes it the perfect time to fish with the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe Mini.
The Bait and Line
At 1 5/8” and 3/16 oz., the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe Mini is the ideal size for crappies and perch as it is a little bit smaller than the average size fathead that perch are feeding on and it is a little bit bigger than the average size crappie minnow that they use as their forage. The sleek upper half of this lure make it an appealing entrée or morsel to big bull perch and slab crappies. The UV patterns like UV Purple Tiger and UV Blue Tiger are great colors to use in tannic or dirty water on cloudy days, whereas the Blue Chrome or Black Silver are great options on clear bodies of water on sunny days. If your system has perch in it, then going with a Hot Perch, Hot Tiger, or Green Perch pattern could be a solid selection regardless of water clarity and how cloudy or sunny it is outside.
The preferred line that I like to go with is Yo-Zuri Hybrid 6 lb. test as it is always possible that predators like largemouth bass and northern pike will be accompanying the crappies and perch you are chasing. If you have a lot of northern pike in your system, which is fairly common on bluegill and crappie waters, then you may want to consider upgrading your like to Yo-Zuri SuperBraid 10 lb. or 20 lb. test as you can reduce the number of bite offs significantly with this high quality line while not compromising any action of the Rattl’N Vibe Mini.
Weeds and Transitions
Once the water temps dip into the mid-50s, many of the crappies and perch that frequented lily pads and shallow cabbage begin moving out from these structures as these plant bases begin to die off due to cold. At this time, I look for the submerging weed line that often still has green weeds that drops into 12-15’ of water. After the submerging weed line is found, the Mini can be a great bait to cast, jig, or troll. My favorite method is to use my ice fishing poles and jigging over the side of my kayak when I have found the weed edge. I release the Mini to about 2-3 feet above the fish and then use 1-2’ lift and fall drops back to the original starting spot above the school. Usually, if there is an aggressive crappie in the area they will come rifling up through the water column, sometimes as much as 6’ to engulf the lure. If fish come up to the lure but do not bite it, then it may be time to make more subtle lift and falls along with just shaking the end of the rod tip. This shaking movement which gently elicits the rattles but does not move the bait in any direction can sometimes be a great option for reluctant biters. If the fish are still not cooperating as can be the case after very cold nights or during cold fronts, putting a 1-1.5” piece of nightcrawler, plastic grub, or half of a crappie minnow on the back hook of the Mini can coax those stubborn fish into biting.
While the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe Mini is arguably one of my favorite lures to use year-round for everything from trout to walleyes and northern pike, it is during the fall that it really shines for large crappies and perch. If you are looking to up your game for large bulls and slabs in fall, stock up on the Minis as they could help you land some of your biggest perch of the entire year.