Editor’s Note: “I can’t wait for you to get here to Lake Eufaula,” Mayor Jack Tibbs of Eufaula, Alabama (http://eufaulaalabama.com/, told me on the phone. “Tony Adams, who will be your guide, assures me he’s found a spot where you and him should be able to limit out on crappie in 2 hours, and at the same time, Tony will have jugs put-out for catfish. He thinks you should be able to catch 100-200 pounds of catfish too in that 2-hour-time period.” I wanted to leave immediately for Eufaula, right after talking to Mayor Tibbs. But I remained at my home outside Birmingham, Ala., went to Eufaula the next day and enjoyed the fishing trip of a lifetime. Pam Swanner with the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBA), a non-profit group promoting the 23 Black Belt counties’ hunting and fishing, (www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org) helped me set-up my trip and had put me in touch with Mayor Tibbs.
When Adams had located the spot we were going to fish for crappie (See Day 1), he had three rod holders set-up on the front of his boat and three on the hack of the boat. He told me, “I have two rods rigged for tight-line fishing, and one rod rigged up with a slip bobber, but I don’t put the stopper in that slip bobber. I let the line go through the bobber and use the bobber as a strike detector. I fish with one to two, No. 4 size shot lead(s), depending on the wind, up the line, and a No. 6 wire crappie hook about 8-10 inches below the lead with 4-6-pound test line, depending on how thick the cover is where we’re fishing.
“There are plenty of spots this good or better on Lake Eufaula for catching crappie, but you must have a very-good depth finder to locate them, see what kind of structure is there and learn the sizes of crappie holding there. Sometimes floods will move Lake Eufaula’s structure, and you’ll have to use your depth finder to relocate the structure and the crappie. If there’s a big flood event, the structure may be moved so far away that you can’t find it. An important factor to remember when you’re looking for brush and crappie hot spots is to know where the transducer for your depth finder is located on your boat. Then you can position your boat properly to catch the crappie you see on your depth finder. On my boat, the transducer is on the back, right-hand side behind the driver’s seat. So, when I see structure or fish on my depth finder, I know that the crappie are just behind the boat. I’ll throw my buoy over my head toward the left side of my boat. That way the buoy lands away from the fish, and I know which side of the buoy to let our lines down to catch crappie.”
Because Adams has so-many spots he can fish successfully and rarely, if ever, does he find anyone fishing those same places he’s discovered, he catches crappie weighing 3/4- to 2 pounds. When I asked Adams why he had three rod holders and three rods for each person fishing with him, he answered, “Three rods per person just seems like a good number for someone to use. There will be times that the crappie are biting so fast that you may not be able to fish but one rod at a time. But by putting out three rods, front and back, I can learn at what crappie depth the crappie are feeding. For instance, if I set one of the rods to be 6-feet deep, another at 8-feet deep, and a third rod at 10-feet deep, the rod I get the most bites on will determine the depth of water we need to fish that day to catch the most crappie. Early in the morning the crappie at Lake Eufaula usually bite at the 6, 8 and 10 foot depths. But later in the day when the sun is up, we may have to fish our baits at 10, 12 or 14 foot deep to catch them.”
Although Adams says that minnow size generally doesn’t matter, he still prefers to fish smaller shiner minnows rather than larger minnows and says, “I like my minnows to be very active, and that’s why I keep the water so cool in the minnow buckets.” I also learned that Adams has a unique way of measuring his line, so that his minnows will fish at the depths he prefers. “I lay the lead on the line over the side of my boat,” Adams reports. “I pull my rod straight up as high as I can reach, with the bale open, because I know that I’ve just let out 8 feet of line. I flip my bale on my spinning reel, lower my rod tip down and put my rod in the rod holder. If I want to fish 10 feet deep after letting out 8 feet of line, I’ll lower my rod tip until it almost touches the water and pull off about 2-more feet of line.”
You can contact my guide, Tony Adams at 334-688-7505 or firstname.lastname@example.org and see photos of his fish on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/tony.adams.5477). While in Eufaula, I stayed 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.
If you want to hold a crappie-fishing or a bass-fishing tournament at Lake Eufaula, you can contact Mayor Jack Tibbs at email@example.com or call 334-695-3765. You also can call 334-343-6173 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Alabama Black Belt Adventures.
“Minnows for Crappie” – https://youtu.be/8irXdo7pqm4
To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, and print and Audible books by going to http://johninthewild.com/books/#crappie or to www.barnesandnoble.com for Nook books. To receive and download for free “The Crappie Catchers’ Cookbook,” by John and Denise Phillips, go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books.
Next Week: While at Lake Eufaula, I also enjoyed as great day of catfishing and learned some new ways to rig, fish, store jugs and bait for catfish and bass fished with Mayor Tibbs.