It started out as a pretty sure bet. Angling partner, Steve Taylor and I were headed to a honey hole that has been as consistent for crappies as any place I have ever fished. With mild temps and an overcast sky, we were certain the fish would be biting.

With the aid of a GPS, we quickly located the spot in the deep basin that characteristically holds the most fish. To our surprise, it was very quiet.

Eventually, we did locate a small cluster of suspended fish that were hiding under an area of snow. We quickly drilled out a dozen holes and dropped our jigs.

Although we landed several fish quite quickly, things slowed down in a hurry. The nervous crappies gradually moved out of the area and we were sitting with eight fish between us.

As we packed up, we knew exactly where we were headed to next. We had put together a game plan ahead of time and would execute it as planned.

Although our second location held a few fish, it was not much better than the first. The nomadic crappies gave us few opportunities and we managed only two more fish.

We never dropped a line at our third stop. Although we checked a large basin for suspended fish, we did not find enough to warrant a hole drilling operation. We moved on to another lake.

When we arrived at the landing of our second lake, we were dismayed to discover there was a fishing contest taking place. We quickly vacated the craziness at the landing and proceeded to still another body of water.

We spent considerable time searching at our third lake before we found suspended fish. Like the first location, these crappies were under a big section of snow.

This group of crappies was more cooperative than the other fish had been, but the size varied greatly with many fish under six inches. We eventually put four more quality fish in our buckets before we called it a day.

Not every outing is going to be stellar. That is a given in the fishing world. Anglers have to expect that some days are going to be a little rough.

One of the ways to combat this issue is by having a plan. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have struggled at one location only to hit a home run at the second, or maybe the third. Being mobile and continuing to look for fish is a must and part of the success factor.

Another consideration to think about is the process of putting together a nice meal of fish. It may not happen at just one spot. It may be a matter of a few here and a few there. Although there were no limits on this day, Taylor and I both went home with plenty of crappies for supper. A person is not a failure because limits were not caught.

Every winter is a different from the one before. Learning just where fish are active and where they are not is part of the fishing process. Using this information to put together a game plan for each outing is essential.These game plans help anglers to become consistently successful.