Editor’s Note: This fall there’s been almost never-before very-high temperatures in the 90+ range. Where I live near Birmingham, Alabama, we’ve had 6 weeks of 95+ temperatures from late August through the first part of October. So, crappie fishermen must use summertime tactics to catch October crappie across much of the South. In other sections of the country, anglers will catch crappie with fall strategies. With 4 feet of snow falling in the U.S. Northwest the first week of October, some anglers must use winter methods to catch crappie there. This week, we’ll look at catching crappie now. Today’s crappie anglers are catching more and bigger crappie than ever before by going deep for crappie, which takes planning, close observation and special lure techniques for warm-weather crappie.
“Some anglers believe that bigger crappie take bigger jigs,” expert crappie fisherman Gordon Elkins says. “My friend Hal Barber catches plenty of really-big crappie using a 1/4-ounce jig and trolling it with a big, round cork in the mouths of creeks and along submerged rivers in warm weather. Hal believes that the 3-inch grub on the 1/4-ounce jighead produces bigger crappie than little jigs do. Too, many live-bait fishermen have discovered that bigger minnows catch bigger crappie.”
Andy Stone, who enjoys fishing for crappie year-round but particularly in warm weather, uses big shiner minnows in open water on old creek channels in the middles of lakes to catch crappie. “The larger the minnow, the bigger crappie it takes to swallow it,” Stone reveals. “I prefer a little current or wind on a lake. When I’m fishing for big crappie, I try to anchor upwind or upcurrent along the ledge I want to fish. I set my big, round, red-and-white cork, so that the minnow floats about 1 to 1-1/2-feet off the bottom. I like a big cork because it catches more wind and will move the bait along the ledge.
“As the cork carries the bait along the ledge, I continue to feed-out line. When a big crappie hits, I set the hook and reel it into the boat. Using this technique with the shiner minnows, I catch bigger crappie and occasionally a nice-sized bass. Also, I can cover a good portion of the old creek bank while staying anchored. I can catch more crappie in a school before they move off, because I’m pulling the crappie away from the school and not up through the school. Furthermore, I don’t spook the crappie as badly as someone trolling through them or fishing on top of them, because I’m further away from the school. I’ve found that big crappie are extremely spooky. I can catch big crappie all year on creek channels using this method. Deep-water crappie are affected less by weather conditions than shallow-water crappie.”
To learn more about crappie fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ brand-new book, “Crappie: The Year-Round River Fisherman’s Bible” at https://amzn.to/2mxWIt4, available in Kindle and print now and by January, 2020 available in Audible.
Tomorrow: Using Fall Crappie Tactics