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Catching Hot Weather Crappie after Dark Day 5: What You Can Use to Attract Nighttime Crappie

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Editor’s Note: Nighttime crappie fishing is one of the most addictive forms of fishing I know. Crappie fishing at night in the summer is cool, relaxing, rewarding, and an ideal way to spend quality time with friends and family away from the rest of the world. Also, crappie fishing at night doesn’t interfere with any of my daytime activities. I can fish in the afternoons after work, fish all night Friday and Saturday, and still have Sunday after church to recover.

Crappie fishing tools

Build Crappie Attractors to Concentrate Crappie Spots

You can build crappie attractors quickly and inexpensively and with little effort that will concentrate crappie in the daytime and at night.  You can plan ahead for nighttime crappie fishing in the summer months by building and deploying fish attractors in cold weather. Most rivers and lakes will go through a draw-down during the fall or winter time. Often stumps, brush piles, rocks, and other structures that are usually under the water will be on dry ground.

You can use any type of brush, dead trees, wooden slats, and/or other kinds of structure to enhance or build new crappie hot spots that will pay off for you at night during the summer months when most lakes are at full pool.

Be sure to get a GPS reading with your hand-held GPS receiver, and mark the spots you’ve built as waypoints to pinpoint them once the water rises to fish them at night in the summer. You also can sink crappie attractors when the lake is at full pool and note their locations on the GPS on your depth finder.

A child and crappie fishing tools

Tips for Building Crappie Attractors

Build stake beds.
Often no more than wooden pallets you’ve gotten for free with long wooden slats nailed onto the pallet, all the stake bed structure is vertical and gives the crappie a place to relate to and hold. Using a concrete block or a 5-gallon bucket filled with cement, you can sink these stake beds on the edges of creek and river channels, or where those contour lines intersect.


Use a small cardboard box or a 5-gallon bucket.
Pour concrete into the container, and put river cane into the concrete before it hardens. Support the cane while the concrete dries by attaching a string or a rope around the cane and tying it to the overhead structure.

The rope keeps the cane in place, and then you can load up several of these cane and concrete boxes on your boat to sink in places where crappie will congregate after dark, like bridges, river ledges, creek ledges, and bridge pilings.

Sink Christmas trees or cut hardwood brush.
This will build nighttime crappie-fishing places that will attract crappie.

Find dock lights that remain on all night.
Many lakeside residents have boat houses and docks with lights on them. The crappie and bait fish will congregate around these lights at night. Often you can see the crappie you’re hoping to catch in the water before you ever start fishing.

Man and his stake beds

Also, some lake dwellers place underwater lights around boat docks, and they’ll attract bait and crappie and provide a productive place to find and catch papermouths after dark.

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Expert Guidebooks on Crappie Fishing: Best Sellers

Fishing rivers for crappie and being able to find and catch speckled sides consistently has long been one of the mysteries in the crappie-fishing world.

“One of the reasons that river systems are so difficult to fish is because the water’s either rising or falling in them,” says Ott DeFoe, the 2019 Bassmaster Classic champion.

Rivers also are very susceptible to floods and droughts and constantly have current moving through them. Often fast current or slow current in rivers is created by rain or droughts upstream. When rivers flood, they can wash away fish habitat like logs, sunken trees, manmade brush piles and stake beds. But that’s the time when a river also creates new crappie hot spots that haven’t been available to the crappie or the fishermen before the flood. 

Because river systems are so unpredictable, I’ve felt the best way to get the most useful information on how to fish rivers for crappie is to talk to numbers of anglers all over the nation to learn their best tactics.

In this book, I’ve gleaned crappie-fishing wisdom from three dozen crappie anglers and guides from a dozen states, who consistently catch crappie at all times of the year. The tournament crappie fishermen in this book fish most of the country at different times of the year on various river systems and lakes. And, these anglers use techniques you never may have considered, including:

  • Setting up a casting ring with your electronics to keep you from getting too close to the crappie that are holding on underwater structure, while you’re fishing all the way around the structure;
  • Buying an automotive laser temperature gauge to measure water temperature
  • Evaluating the most-productive places to sink brush and other structure, according to prevailing wind direction, the crappie’s summer, fall, winter, and spring migration patterns, and other factors.


Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter
Yes, you can catch and eat crappie during the fall and winter months. Often, at many places, you’ll catch more and bigger crappies in the fall and winter than you do in the spring and summer. To learn where to find and how to catch cooler weather speckled sides, we’ve interviewed a wide variety of some of the nation’s best tournament crappie fishermen and guides. 

Many of the individuals you’ll hear about in this audiobook are tournament crappie pros who travel the country to fish in crappie tournaments from New York to Florida and from Virginia to California. They use the latest crappie-finding equipment, the best poles, rods, reels, line, and the most-productive baits. Each of the people mentioned in this book has the ability to be dropped out of an airplane anywhere in the United States and catch crappie on any lake close to where they land that contains crappie. 

From over 50 years of crappie-fishing experience, I’ve learned that you get the best advice by interviewing a large number of people who have different tactics and fish under various water, weather, and fishing-pressure conditions.

In this book, you will learn:

  • How to spider-rig (slow-troll), which is one of the fastest-growing techniques for catching the most and biggest crappies in the shortest time
  • How to catch crappie on crank baits and when and where using a crank bait is the most appropriate
  • How to find areas of any lake that will hold large schools of crappies during the winter months – places you can return to time and again and expect them to be there
  • Why competing in crappie tournaments is one of the quickest ways to learn how to catch more and bigger crappie faster
  • Why and how to look for and catch the biggest crappie in a lake


Catch Crappie All Year: Fishing a Single Pole, Using No Boat, and Farming Crappie
I’ve interviewed some of the best crappie fishermen in the nation for my new audiobook, Catch Crappie All Year: Fishing a Single Pole, Using No Boat and Farming Crappie to learn how, where, and when to catch the most crappie with or without a boat while single-pole fishing. I’ve also included information on how to grow a crop of crappie to catch every day of the year. Although I’ve fished in fully rigged crappie boats costing $45,000 – $90,000-plus that can have up to 16 rods at one time to slow troll, I still enjoy….

  • Watching a quill cork sink in a brush top
  • Fishing with an ultralight spinning rod
  • Reeling jigs or minnows along a grass line and feeling that thud when a crappie takes the bait
  • Fishing with family and friends, even if we all can’t fit in one boat
  • Participating in less-expensive and hassle-free yet highly-productive crappie fishing like single poling 

I’ve tried to capture in this new audiobook the old way of crappie fishing with new twists and detailed tactics to aid you in catching crappie all year.


Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer 
You can catch crappie all year long if you know where to find them and what techniques to use to catch them. However, crappie fishing is so technical these days, and we’ve learned so much about how to crappie fish because of the professional crappie-fishing circuits, that one book can’t hold all the information.

This book is the first of a three-part series on how, where, and when to catch crappie, with the best crappie fishermen in the nation. Many of these men have proven they are the best, because they’ve won crappie-fishing tournaments or been successful fishing guides for many years.

This audio version of Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer includes crappie pros like Ronnie Capps, who has won seven national championships and over $1 million with his partner Steve Coleman.

We also have Malcolm Lane, Stokes McClellan from North Carolina, Billy Blakeley from Reelfoot Lake, John Woods, Kent Driscoll, fishing biologist and professional basser Ken Cook, and many others. We asked the questions that crappie fishermen want answered about how to find and catch crappie during the spring and summer months, and these fishing tips are the result.

In the world of crappie fishing, no one man knows it all, and that’s why I’ve interviewed so many fishermen, asked so many questions, and tried to get so many answers for you about how to fish.


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