After spending a morning with Robert Outlaw and his wife Kathy (See Days 1 & 2) catfishing, we caught up to Tony Adams, of Eufaula, Alabama, who guides for crappie all year long on Lake Eufaula. Many people believe that Adams is one of the luckiest crappie fisherman they’ve ever met because he usually can catch two anglers and himself three limits of crappie in 4 hours or less. However, Adams is a prime example of the old saying, “Those who work the hardest usually are the luckiest,” especially when it comes to fishing.
Adams doesn’t catch crappie but actually farms crappie. “I look for natural structure on the bottom of the lake with my Humminbird (https://www.humminbird.com) Helix 12 depth finder. This depth finder not only enables me to see the bottom under my boat, its side scanning capabilities allows me to spot structure on both sides of the boat. I can mark that structure with the GPS receiver that’s in my depth finder. When I pinpoint underwater structure like stumps, logs, trees and/or brush piles, I also look to see if crappie are holding on those structures. Generally most of the time the crappie will be there.
“When I come off the lake, I take 5-gallon buckets, put river cane poles in those buckets and then fill the buckets with concrete to make artificial reefs with handles on them that I then can load into my boat and sink around and near the natural structure I’ve already found on the bottom. I may put out 5-12 of these 5-gallon buckets around structure where crappie are already holding. Then I return in a week or two and see if the crappie are concentrating on the natural underwater structure but also on the artificial reefs I’ve built. I plant these bucket reefs at varying depths, so I can fish them at different times of the year.
“During the summer months, I may fish in water depths of 15-20 feet deep. The crappie may be holding either around the bottoms of these structures, off to their sides, in the middles of the structures or just above the structures. Due to my having so many artificial reefs out, I can locate crappie for my customers to catch fairly easy – even in the hot weather. I especially enjoy fishing for crappie in the summer months because the crappie usually will school on the same structure all summer long. Then I can go back and forth between all the reefs I’ve built and catch good numbers of crappie throughout the summer.”
Another key to Adams’ success in producing good limits of big crappie in hot weather is that he scouts the reefs he’s planning to fish before he takes his clients to those reefs to fish. Adams not only uses his depth finder to identify which reef the crappie are holding on but also which structure has the most crappie on it. Then the next day when he takes his customers to the reefs he’s scouted, they not only catch big crappie but also large numbers of crappie.
“We keep only the crappie that will weigh from 1-1/2 pounds to over 2 pounds,” Adams explains. “We throw back the little crappie.”
While in Eufaula, I always stay at Lakepoint Resort in the Alabama State Park (http://www.alapark.com/lakepoint-state-park), where the rooms have views of the lake, and the food is delicious. Contact the sales director, Sone Kornegay, at 334-687-8011 to learn more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Alabama Black Belt Adventures which cover fishing at Lake Eufaula.