While most outdoorsmen are hunting deer or preparing for turkey season in the fall and the winter, Tony Adams is creating habitat for crappie on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula. The brush shelters Adams sinks enables him to consistently produce three limits of crappie in a 4-hour fishing trip for his clients, even in hot weather.
When the weather’s really hot, crappie are looking for deep-water structure to hold on where the temperature is cooler, the bait fish are more abundant, and most crappie anglers don’t fish in 90 to 100-degree weather. By having plenty of spots to fish in hot weather, I don’t have to beat up the same structure day after day. I’ll have new sites that are holding crappie every day I fish with my customers.
I like to fish 4-pound-test fluorescent line with a No. 2 crappie hook and attach a split shot about 12 inches above a live minnow. The shot size used depends on how strong the current is. If the crappie are biting aggressively, I’ll start my clients off fishing live minnows on tight lines. If the crappie are tearing up their feeding, we’ll switch over to jigs and spoons.
The good news about pinpointing crappie in the summertime is that they’ll usually gang-up and hold on the same structure throughout hot weather. When I have a customer who isn’t accustomed to tight-line fishing for crappie, I’ll put a slip bobber on his or her line, but I won’t put the stopper back in the slip bobber. I want the line to move freely through the slip bobber because often summer crappie will bite so softly, picking up a minnow and swimming with it, that you can’t see the bite if you’re fishing the stopper. However, you can spot the bite while watching that fluorescent line as it moves from one side to the other of the cork, or if that line slightly nudges your bobber.
To improve your chances of success in catching crappie, I use my Humminbird Helix 12 side-scanning, down-scanning and GPS depth finder to return to the spots where I’ve sunk brush and also to see how many crappie are concentrating on each place. Usually the afternoon before my fishing party arrives, I pre-fish the places I think will produce crappie the next day to be sure I’ve got active, feeding crappie waiting on my customers to drop down their baits. My busiest time of the year is in the summer when few other crappie anglers are on the water.