Southern crappie anglers are fortunate. The waters don’t freeze over and crappie anglers can get out and ply their trades without drilling holes to fish through. Just because the surface waters aren’t frozen doesn’t necessarily mean that southern crappie act all that differently from their northern cousins. So, that begs the question: Is there something to learn from guys who do fish hardwater for crappie this time of year?

Crappie anglers often have a bad habit of over complicating the sport. For generations before the modern era of sophisticated gear and tactics, a lot of the old timers caught plenty of fish by using common sense. One of the most common sense themes of crappie fishing is catch them, you first have to find them. To find crappie, you go where the food is.

Last time, Kent Driscoll introduced the new dock shooting rod, the Sharp Shooter 6 from B’n’M, now let’s put it to work on some winter boat docks.

Pro Staffer Kent Driscoll Explains Why 2016 Is Going To Be The Year of Shooting Docks And How You Can Get Started Right Now

Several years ago when B’n’M decided to make its mark in the catfishing industry, we decided that like our rods, we needed to round up the best catfishermen to put on our pro-staff so that we could supply our manufacturing partners and our customers with the latest trends and features in catfishing rods to help us make the best rods on the market and help you catch more catfish.
According to B’n’M pro staffer Kent Driscoll, finding and catching crappie in the fall is very similar to finding and catching crappie in the spring, only in reverse. The biggest difference is that fall crappie are not interested in spawning but are moving from deep water depths, where they spent the summer, to the mid-water and shallower depths to find favorable water temperatures, better oxygen content, and most importantly – food.
In the realm of sports, teams with great skill and good work ethic win championships. Such teams have won in what sports writers like to call “wire-to-wire” culminating in a championship win. The really great teams have won championships “back-to-back” spanning multiple years with their domination of a sport.

Fall fishing for crappie can be a time of feast or famine as water temperatures begin to descend as well as additional climatic factors such as lake levels, water flows, and baitfish migrations. One factor that many crappie anglers may overlook is the color of the water, or more specifically, the clarity of the water.

Pickwick Lake crappie guide Brad Whitehead has seen the world of crappie fishing move from cane pole fishing to multi rod spider rigging to trolling high dollar crankbaits. He believes that all of these methods have a time and place but one thing he has noticed on his home lake is that a lot of anglers simply over look single pole jigging for crappie in the late summer when crappie begin to move into their fall pattern.

Of all the times to be out on the water, late summertime may be the hardest on the angler. Daytime temperatures can soar into the upper 90’s and water temperatures are not far behind. Rather than get upset, B’n’M pro staffer Kent Driscoll has the perfect solution – Go crappie fishing.
Whether it’s live bait or that tournament winning stringer of crappie, help your fish survive during the summer heat
When temperatures soar during the hottest time of the year, crappie in large impoundments will seek out comfort zones in order to survive during the summer. The “comfort zone” is a bit misleading because crappie, being sunfish, also deal with higher water temperatures than a lot of other species.

Post-Spawn crappie anglers often sing the blues when the party is over and finding willing fish is a lot tougher than it was just a few weeks ago. Post-spawn fish tend to stay shallow, but they have lost the aggressiveness of guarding territory and they tend to really space out, making them harder to locate.

Night fishing for crappie is a rite of passage across much of the country as anglers seek a way to avoid the summer heat and pleasure boat traffic that frequently plagues many waterways during the hot months. No stranger to the ways of the night crappie angler,  B’n’M pro-staffer Rod Wall from Ninety Six, South Carolina, has taken this past time and turned it into a science.

It was a series of firsts on Saturday April 18 that led to well-known Duck Commanders Jay Stone and John Godwin hoisting the Crappie Masters first place trophy at the North Louisiana Fairgrounds in Ruston, Louisiana.

Just about anywhere in the country right now, crappie have left some unbelievably deep and open water and are hiding themselves in some pretty hard to reach places. That very conspicuous habit could account for much of the fish’s following because anglers love to pull big fish out of hard to reach areas like boat docks, heavy wooden cover, and lily pads. You can add B’n’M pro staff director Kent Driscoll to that number.

Across the country, many crappie anglers recognize there are two distinct spawning seasons for crappie – the black crappie spawn and the white crappie spawn. Depending on where you live in the country, those may be occurring at various times based on water temperature and prevailing weather conditions.

B’n’M pro-staffer Rod Wall splits his time between fishing national tournament trails across the country and working/guiding for crappie on his home lakes in South Carolina and Georgia. Because the majority of fish in his home lakes are black crappie, early spring time signals Wall that it’s time to begin targeting black crappie in the pre-spawning stages.

You can tell the crappie fishing industry has hit the mainstream by all of the fishing “gimmicks” that abound on the market. Many of these innovations sound good, but are more to attract crappie fishermen than crappie. At the same time, the crappie fishing world has a tendency to follow the bass fishing trends. After all, who ever thought a four inch crank bait would catch a crappie?

Crappie fishing fans have been able to follow B’n’M pro staffer Russ Bailey on television and video for many years. Bailey is the host and producer for B’n’M’s highly successful video series “AnyTime, AnyPlace, In Any Water Crappie - Numbers One Two and Three. He is also the long time host of MidWest Crappie, one of the first and finest television shows dedicated to the crappie angler.

For 2014, Bailey has stepped out big time and announced his new television adventure “BrushPile Fishing”. BrushPile Fishing is a brand new series developed by NKTelco Sports in New Knoxville, Ohio.  This exciting and educational fishing series takes viewers into the world of crappie fishing in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the list goes on.

When water temperatures reach into the 50’s, bass fishing anglers typically break out finesse tackle and drop shot rigs to target specific structure and even specific fish when the bite gets slow. The same tactics work for crappie, perhaps even better than bass, because crappie tend to school tighter than bass in the winter and hold tighter to structure. Because crappie have a higher metabolism than most other freshwater fish, finding them, and presenting a bait to them can result in as many bites and quality fish as any time of the year.

One of the great things about being a crappie angler is that you can learn your trade at any number of lakes across the country. Seasonal crappie fishing patterns remain pretty similar in a variety of places and typically work interchangeably across wide geographic areas. What this means in laymen’s terms is that if you learn how to crappie fish on one lake, these tactics will put you in the ballgame on another lake.

The rise in popularity of kayak fishing among the angling community has become undeniable. It also offers an easy step for novice anglers to get into a boat without the typical thousands of dollars of investment. Would be kayak anglers can get into a boat for right around $500. On the other hand, Kayak fishing represents a return to simplicity. Anglers can leave behind all the hassle of maintenance, expense of gas, long lines at the boat ramp, and just go fishing, practically anywhere.

Many crappie anglers complain when fall conditions make it tough to catch America’s favorite game fish. B’n’M pro-staffer and noted Alabama crappie guide Brad Whitehead doesn’t sweat it. Whitehead said about the time crappie conditions tighten up around his home lakes of Wilson, Pickwick, and Wheeler are the same times when he can head over to the tailrace at Wheeler Lake and catch plenty of smallmouth bass in a manner very similar to jig fishing for crappie.
After a runaway first day of competition, the B’n’M pro-staff team of Richard Williams and David Jones hung on after the second day of the Crappie USA National Championship to take home top honors. In addition the team also weighed in the big fish of the tournament, a 2.41 pound slab as a bonus. The tournament was held on October 17 & 18 on Lake Cumberland in Somerset, KY.

Whitey Outlaw puts the smack-down on warmouth bream

 At B’n’M, we spend a lot of time chasing crappie, big crappie. So does veteran pro-staffer Whitey Outlaw. At times however, Outlaw likes to mix it up and use his specially designed B’n’M signature series rods to chase other species from his home waters on the Santee-Cooper lakes in South Carolina. The swampy upper stretches of Santee-Cooper provide ample habitat for a wide variety of species of fish.

Staring directly into the sun on the last day of August is enough to drive you insane. However, flip the calendar and you begin to notice some tiny cracks in the heat wave that beams down on the water beginning the first day of September. Though it may seem far away, the approach of fall is imminent.

If you keep up with the national crappie tournament trails, one of the names that continues to come out on the top of the leader boards over and over are Whitey Outlaw and Mike Parrott. The team is a consistent producer anywhere they fish, but do especially well in river oxbows and lowland lakes. Even when he’s not on the tour and fishing back home on the Santee-Cooper lakes in South Carolina, Outlaw still heads for shallow water, even when the temperature outside is scorching.

B’n’M Poles has a full staff of professional fishermen whose expertise and experiences on the water go into the design and testing of all B’n’M fishing rods. As an outdoor writer, I get to journal these experiences but seldom get to live them first-hand.

Fortunately, when B’n’M released the new Silver Cat Magnum catfish rods, I saw an opportunity to do a field test that probably hadn’t been tried on a B’n’M Pole – shark fishing. I made this suggestion to B’n’M president Jack Wells during a recent visit and he sent me home with a couple of the new rods in the 7 foot spinning model and asked me to let him know how they performed. Well, here goes:

When Kyle Schoenherr decided on the name “All Seasons” for his crappie fishing guide service, he meant it. Many crappie anglers hang it up when the temperatures soar in the summer and pursue other species or retire to the indoors. Schoenherr said that those anglers are missing some great opportunities at some rod bending action.

After a busy winter and early spring full of tournament fishing on the national crappie circuits, one of the things the B’n’M pro-staff team of Jim and Barb Reedy love to do to relax and unwind is fish for bream. The Reedys call Charleston, Missouri home. This puts them only a short hop from Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake. As soon as May rolls around, the Reedys love to get out on the flat, shallow lake and let their nose do the searching.