Editor’s Note: “The fastest I’ve ever finished a two-angler limit of 60 crappie was 45 minutes,” Tony Adams, a crappie farmer on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula on the Chattahoochee River, explains. “Catching 60 crappie in 1-1/2 hours isn’t uncommon, and most of the time from April to October, my two fishermen will catch their 60-crappie limit – 30 each – in 3-1/2 hours or less.” As the great baseball player Dizzy Dean once said, “If you’ve done it, it ain’t bragging,” and I’ve seen Adams do it. In the movie, “Field of Dreams,” the voice in Kevin Costner’s head told him, “Build it and they will come,” so, he built a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa corn field that people paid to come and see. Tony Adams builds crappie condos throughout Lake Eufaula to provide places to fish and catch crappie. He also pre-scouts his underwater structures before trips to identify locations with the most crappie on them. We asked Adams how, where and with what he builds these underwater structures for crappie fishing and why he puts them out. You can use these same tactics to make your crappie lake a reliable place for you to find and catch crappie throughout the year.
In 2021, we’ve started to build larger habitat for crappie. I’m hoping to get a boat that will carry four people crappie fishing by this spring, so I want to create some larger structures to hold more crappie and allow people, regardless of where they’re sitting in the boat, to catch crappie. Recently I’ve put-out some big cedar trees and a big magnolia tree, and I won’t know the results until later in the year about how effective those bigger trees are for producing crappie. I believe that maybe by having bigger structure out, the larger structure can hold bigger crappie and possibly more crappie than my buckets do. Another advantage of having a bigger tree to fish around is that the crappie can move up and down easier in a big tree than they can in a small tree.
To put out big structure, you need the use of a pontoon boat that doesn’t have rails around its sides, since putting out a big tree is tough in a regular bass or crappie fishing boat. We sink big structure that we attach concrete blocks to, use clothesline wire that’s encased in plastic and wrap it around the big trees. We want that big structure to lay-down rather than stand-up off the bottom. If a cedar tree is 12 feet around the limbs, when you sink it on the bottom – that means there will be 6 feet or more of structure that will be up off the bottom. The stump of the cedar tree only may be 8-12 inches, but the diameters of the limbs will be big. When friends and I reach the spot where we want to sink the cedar tree, we’ll drop a buoy and roll the cedar tree and its concrete block off the side of the pontoon boat. Usually the tree will fall right where we want it to be.
We also have put out a big magnolia tree in 2021. We still don’t know how effective a magnolia tree will be for attracting crappie, however, when someone cut down a magnolia tree, the people asked if we’d like to have it. I said, “Sure, I’d like to try it.” Because a magnolia tree has longer limbs coming off the main body of the tree, we put it out the same way we put out our cedar trees.
Over the last 32 years, I’ve sunk many-different kinds of structure in various places to try and learn what works best to catch crappie. I’ve also sunk structure in places where I’ve thought I could catch crappie based on the wind direction and bad weather conditions. If the wind is very strong on the main lake, I know I want to have places where I can catch crappie up in the creeks. Many of my clients don’t mind fishing in bad weather. If I’m scheduled to take someone fishing, I want to take him or her where he can be as comfortable as possible and still can catch good-sized crappie. I have to take many things into consideration when I decide to sink structure, and I don’t know how this magnolia tree will work out – but I hope it works.
To get in touch with Adams, call him at (334) 695-3003, or go to his Facebook page, “Gone Fishing with Tony Adams” at https://www.facebook.com/Gone-Fishing-With-Tony-133709770592006/ and see where he posts pictures every day that he takes anglers out fishing.
To learn more about crappie fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Crappie: The Year-Round River Fisherman’s Bible” at https://amzn.to/2mxWIt4, available in Kindle, print and in Audible at https://adbl.co/382m0SR. You may have to cut and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of this book for free and hear 10% for free).
Tomorrow: Questions Tony Adams Often Is Asked about Building Crappie Structure