I consider crappies to be more glamorous because they are in very few waters on Long Island where I live. Sunfish seem to be everywhere. I'm only aware of them in the Peconic River System, Twin Lakes in Wantaugh, and once in a blue moon Brady Park in Massapequa. As far as Westchester and upstate waters they seem to me to be much more common. The Mohawk River in Albany has quite a run where people come from all over. They are similar to bluegills/sunfish in that they are a "panfish"-approx. the size to cook in a pan and that they don't run larger than a foot or so. Crappies do run larger than they do but a 14 incher is a good one. Oddly, I never seem to catch tiny ones and they all run the same size. About 10-12 inches. We have black crappies up here and the south has white crappies which are very abundant there. They are not oval like bluegills/sunnys but are not as streamlined as a bass. They have large fins, very large eyes, a greenish body with many black flecks, and a elongated lower jaw like a largemouth bass which is relatively large when open. The mouth is very delicate. Grabbing them by the lower lip paralizes them, like a bass, and is the best way to land them. I find them mysterious because there seems to be a window of opportunity for you to catch them. They hug the shoreline on warm spring days and seem to be everywhere and then vanish once summer arrives. I'm told they move out to deep water. The most effective way to catch them is a small Mister Twister grub (my favorite) or a marabo crappie jig suspended about 3 feet below a small bobber while using light tackle. Of course. adjust length depending upon the depth of the water.
The hits are very subtle and a s-l-o-w sinking of the the bobber or a dragging sideways is often the bite. The best presentation is to just let the bobber sit still and let the tiny ripples of the "waves" impart all the action to the lure that is needed. When you strike do it gently. They are not nicknamed "papermouths" for nothing. Cast far and reel in at varying distances from shore to locate pods of fish. They do relate to structure and a fallen tree in the water in May is almost a guarantee. It's not uncommon for them to nail a swimming plug meant for largemouths (I've caught them on crankbaits too!!); but the tiny grubs and feathers are the most effective. Many years have passed since since those warm springtime days fishing for crappies and the best lures may have changed also. But as a kid I remember wanting to do nothing else because I was crappie fishing.
(This post edited by Fishing Friend on 03/30/2003)