With a new year having just dawned, many North Texas anglers are convinced that good fishing is still weeks away.

But don’t tell that to former Bassmaster Elite Series and current Major League Fishing pro Brent Chapman.

Because according to him, some of the year’s best action happens now, at least when it comes to catching a mess of plump crappie.

“Yeah, it’s a great time to fish for them,” said Chapman, the 2012 BASS Angler of the Year.

“In fact, it’s one of the best times of the year since the fish tend to school up in the winter months better than any other time of the year,” he added.

“When the bass fishing starts to slow down - and the deer hunting is over for the year - the crappie seem to bite really, really well.”

And that’s why Chapman puts a six-step plan into place as he searches for big wintertime crappie to fill up the family freezer.

What are those six steps?

“The first is that I use bigger baits in order to try and catch bigger fish,” said Chapman.

“The second is that I use braid with a fluorocarbon leader so they can’t see my line.

“Third, I’ll mark my line with a marker when I find the right depth since depth is critical.

“Fourth, I’ll rely on good electronics to help me (find them).

“Fifth, while I love to use jigs, I most often use minnows,” he added.

“In fact, I’ll have one rod rigged with each and I find that I catch a lot more fish by using these two-rod set up with these baits.

“And finally, I make sure I dress warmly since you can’t really catch fish too effectively if you’re cold.”

Where does he put such a plan into practice on a body of water?

“My target areas are usually around creek channels, wherever the bait is, it’s the key,” said Chapman, a multiple winner of GEICO Select Major League Fishing events along with four BASS events.

“Typically, what that entails is that the bait gravitates into the creek channels, especially in the bigger creeks and that’s most often where you’ll find the crappie, is on the edge of the creek channels,” he added.

While some anglers bide their time until winter is over, Chapman isn’t one who is prone to do that.

“I love to fish and I love to eat crappie,” he said.

All of which sounds like a fine way to spend a January day.