B’n’M Pros Pick Best Summertime Tactics
Phillip Gentry
Just because the weather and the water are at their hottest doesn’t mean you can’t catch quality crappie. Try of these recommended tactics.
Steve Coleman’s Power Trolling rig allows him to push crankbaits, giving his better control over where he’s fishing.
Green bushes provide shade and ambush points for summer crappie. A perfect setup for single pole jigging.
Shooting boatdocks is a productive year round tactic, but works especially well during the summer when crappie are seeking shade and shelter.
Power Trolling

When most crankbait anglers are spending time pulling crankbaits all over the lake, Steve Coleman of Tiptonville, Tennessee believes that pushing crankbaits produces better results than pulling them in the summer. It’s a tactic he likes to call power trolling.

“It’s a lot easier to control where you fish if you’re pushing crank baits out the front. Most people who troll crank baits troll them way out the back and when you go into a turn, there’s no way to know exactly where the baits are,” said Coleman. “Ronnie and I have made a living fishing break lines over the years. We’ll get on a specific break line and just follow it all over the lake. Ever since we started fishing with GPS units, we started marking every big fish we caught. At the end of the day, we’d go back and map out where we caught our best fish and just about everyone will be on a break line at a specific depth for that day.”

Like most crankbaiters, Coleman chases white crappie with his power trolling rig and has some advice for anglers who are interested in trying to target crappie on any lake.

“Before I set up on a blind lake, I want to know the lake has white crappie in it. Crank baits occasionally work for black crappie but you really have to down size the baits and the fish are so tight to cover that other tactics work better. White crappie suspend more and have bigger mouths so they don’t have a problem eating a 3 inch crank bait,” he said. “If I didn’t know anything about the lake other than looking at it on a map, I’d start on a break line, probably in the 20 foot range. You can determine where the thermocline is using electronics or by graphing fish. That’s where the biggest majority of the fish will be. Start following that break line, trolling about 1.7 – 2.0 mph. A lot of it is trial and error but once you start putting together a pattern, you can catch some good crappie.”

Jigging Green Bushes

As a full time crappie guide on Mississippi’s famous Grenada Lake, John Harrison spends many of his summer days looking for shade under green bushes that line deep water tributaries in the upper part of the lake.

“With the weather and the water in the upper 80’s hot most people would expect we’d be out in the middle of the lake working a deep water brushpile,” said Harrison. “Don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot of crappie that can be caught around green iron wood bushes, especially during the late summer. Crappie come in here because they provide shade, cover and a good place to ambush bait. The overhead shade will make this water just a little bit cooler and that helps draw the fish in.

Harrison has found single pole jigging to be the most productive method as the tangle of bushes can wreak havoc on multiple rods. He also indicated that any old pole wouldn’t cut it. That’s why he prefers B’n’M’s Brushcutter rod.

“About the only way you can fish these tangles is with a single jig pole,” said Harrison. “Get in there and jig ‘em out. A like to use B’n’M’s new Camouflage Brushcutter jig pole. I wouldn’t come in here unless I had a pole that could take some abuse because when you get a bite, you have to haul back on that fish and get him out of there or he’ll hang you up in a hurry. The Brushcutter is IM6 graphite. It’s super stiff where it needs to be but you still get a lot of feel out of the tip for soft bites.”

Shooting Docks

Ten Time National Crappie Classic Qualifier Russ Bailey of St. Mary’s, OH spends countless hours on the water chasing crappie. When he’s not guiding or fishing tournaments, the familiar B’n’M Poles pro staffer is filming video segments for B’n’M popular “Any Time, Any Place, In Any Water Crappie” video series. One of Bailey’s favorite lakes is Alabama’s Weiss Lake where he’s a master at his favorite tactic for catching summer crappie – shooting docks.

“Shooting docks for crappie is effective nearly year round,” said Bailey. “In the early spring I love to shoot docks using a tiny jig with an ice float attached a couple of feet above it. However, now that these fish are in their summer pattern, they’ve moved back underneath boat docks and piers where they can find shade and cooler water.  I have better luck shooting deep boat docks, letting the jig fall slowly and then using a steady retrieve back to the boat.”

Bailey wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, so naturally he’s not inclined to shoot boat docks with some inferior rod. His pick is B’n’M’s specially designed Sharpshooter rod.

“I love B’n’M Sharpshooter rod,” said Bailey. “These are specially designed for shooting docks and they come in 4 ½, 5, and 5 ½ foot lengths. These rods have a solid backbone with just the right amount of flexibility to launch the jig under the docks. I pair this with a wide spool spinning rod spooled with 6 pound Vicious line in hi-vis yellow. The wide spool lets the line peel off the reel with ease and the bright colored line helps me detect bites. This is so important because most of the time you won’t feel the bite while the jig is in free-fall, just a little jump or twitch in the line that let’s you know the fish has picked up the jig.”

Don’t let the heat get you down or keep you off the water this summer. Pick your choice of weapon from our online catalogue at bnmpoles.com then hit the water with the backing of the America’s best crappie specialists . “Wherever fishing takes you, B’n’M has been there.”