Long Lining Fall Crappie
Phillip Gentry
Magnolia Crappie Club angler Brad Chappell learned an eastern tactic – long line trolling – to catch more crappie out west.
Chappell found that a tactic designed for trolling in clear water also caught coolers full of suspended crappie.
Long line trolling really shines in the fall when crappie follow migrating schools of shad.
B’n’M’s line up of sensitive yet strong rods, available in a wide variety of lengths, help crappie anglers tailor their tackle to specific needs.

Question: Brad, you’re home lake is Barnett in southern Mississippi, where single pole jigging and tight line trolling are a way of life for crappie anglers. What made you want to learn something different?


Chappell: Just about everyone on Barnett either jig fishes or trolls. Then we had a couple of guys from Georgia join the Magnolia Club that were long line trollers. They really put the beat-down on everybody in the club and I told my fishing partner Bo Hudson that we needed to learn how to long line if we were going to win anymore tournaments.


Question: Long lining was developed as a clear water tactic. What made you think that long line trolling would work in Mississippi or any other lake that had dinghy water?


Chappell: A lot of our crappie suspend year round and long lining is designed to target suspended fish. I remember that first summer when we made up our mind to learn how. Barnett wasn’t a good choice because those fish hold tight to cover when it’s hot. We made several trips out to the oxbow lakes at Lee, Chotard and Ferguson and we loaded the cooler with crappie every trip.


Question: Tell us how long lining works?


Chappell: In long line trolling, single or double jigs are cast out to the side and behind the boat and are trolled to the rear. Speed, weight of the bait, line diameter, and the amount of line out all combine to determine the depth you’re fishing. We use 10 rods, so when we troll, we have 20 jigs spread out behind the boat. When we troll through a school of suspended crappie, it looks just like a pod of bait passing through. It’s pretty common to get several fish on at one time.


Question: How do you rig for this kind of trolling?


Chappell: We use a variable speed trolling motor on the front of a bass boat that will allow changes in the boat speed down to .1 of a mph. A T-bar rod holder rack, each containing up to four rod holders is attached to each corner of the boat. I run 6 identical 9 foot B’n’M rods, 3 in each rod rack, from the rear of the boat while Bo fishes 4 rods, 2 per side, in the front. The amount of line out has a lesser effect on trolling depth than jig weight and boat speed, a good long cast is about right for the amount of line out.


Question: Which of our rods do you use?


Chappell: I love B’n’M’s “The Difference” rods by Roger Gant on my end of the boat. The tips are so sensitive that you can see the action the curly tail jigs make when they’re swimming. Bo puts either Capps & Coleman trolling rods or Buck’s Graphite jig poles in the front. He uses the 14 foot rods to get further out away from the boat to keep from crossing his lines with mine..


Question: What patterns work best for long line trolling ?


Chappell: Depending on where we fish, it works great year round, but I really like long lining in the fall when shad begin migrating back into the creeks and river channels. Crappie will follow these shad migrations so all we have to do is troll along their migrations routes, the edges of the channels, to find and catch crappie.


Question: You mentioned using curly tail jigs. Whay are those important and what brand do you use?


Chappell: The curly tails put out a lot of vibration. I think that’s important to help fish locate the baits. When you combine multiple baits, up to 20 at a time in our case, I think it excites the fish because they can hear our school of baits coming, even in murky or dinghy water. That’s one reason we love to long line the Bobby Garland Stroll’r jigs. They’ve even become a major sponsor based on our success in using them. That tail on the Stroll’r  has more action than any other bait we’ve used.


Whether you’re long lining, tight-lining, casting or jigging, B’n’M has got the perfect pole to match your needs. Check us out at www.bnmpoles or call 1-800-647-6363 and ask for our brand new 2012 catalog.