Early Summer Crappie Tactics from the B’n’M Pros

Early Summer Crappie Tactics from the B’n’M Pros

June 06, 2023

Early Summer Crappie Tactics from the B’n’M Pros

By Phillip Gentry


Early summer can be a challenging time to find and catch crappie most anywhere you fish across the country. The good news is that fish are moving into their summer patterns, the water temperatures are not so hot that the fish are lethargic, and finding fish is not that hard, if you look in the right places.

The downside is that anglers no longer have public waters to themselves. Recreational boat traffic, which has been increasing at a high rate over the last several years, often makes fishing the open water areas where crappie prefer to reside difficult.

Fortunately, the pros at B’n’M Poles have faced these conditions for many, many years and have some advice on how to escape the heat, boat traffic, crowds while finding and catching some quality fish.

B’n’M makes crappie fishing poles to fit every situation you’ll encounter.

As the spring rolls over into summer, veteran fishing guide John Harrison’s favorite go-to tactic for catching crappie is a single jig pole outfitted with a 1/16-ounce jig.

Harrison will head to the mid and upper reaches of most of his local reservoirs looking for areas where a deeper creek channel runs along or near the bank. He’s looking for woody cover that will provide shade to the deeper water access where crappie will hold waiting for baitfish to come by.

“I’ll primarily be fishing stick-ups, stumps, brush, or trees that come up off the bottom and stick up above the water,” he said. “Some fish will still be out deep but the hungry ones and often the bigger ones will be laying in that wood not too far from the bank.”

The guide’s advice is to use a pendulum type retrieve by pulling off about a foot of line shorter than the total rod length. That lets him swing the jig out past the stick up and then lets it pendulum back causing the jig to swim past the stick up.

“My rod preference is a 9-foot Buck's Best Ultra-Lite or a Sam Heaton Super Sensitive with Bottom Seat & Touch System,” said Harrison. “Both of these rods have a reel seat on the underside of the rod and a cut-out in the handle that lets you put your finger right on the rod blank so that even the smallest bite is telegraphed right to your hand.”

Guide John Harrison said single pole is the way to go when summer rolls around.

For trolling anglers, the edges of channels that crappie use to migrate out to deeper water are prime tight line trolling areas. For this type of spider rigging, B’n’M pro staffer Hugh Krutz will often use a single jig on each line that weighs between 1/16 oz and 1/8 oz. For bigger fish, he will even move down to a ¼ oz jig, but admits he misses bites when targeting only bigger fish.

“If I’m targeting water deeper than 15 feet, I can go back to my double hooks minnow rigs weighted with a 1/2 oz egg weight,” said Krutz. “As the summer progresses, I’ll use almost exclusive live bait.”

Krutz said if there’s been any rain in the area, he’ll expect to see the lake rise with some current in the mix.

“Crappie won’t fight the current and will more likely hold in the eddy behind some type of wood cover,” he said. “For Ross Barnett, that means heading out into the standing timber in the middle of the lake.”

One of pro staffer John Godwin’s favorite ways to fish for crappie during the early summer is by long line trolling. While many crappie anglers share his passion for the technique, most will abandon long lining during the summer once the water temperatures heat up. The well-known outdoor personality says this is a mistake.

For trolling anglers, pro Hugh Krutz suggests hitting the highways that crappie use to migrate from shallow waters to deep.

“I love long lining,” Godwin said. “To me it’s the most fun way of fishing for crappie but it’s also real productive in the summer too.”

Godwin said his home waters in Louisiana are either big reservoirs or smaller oxbow lakes tied to the Mississippi River. He said long lining is a great tactic in either type of impoundment.

“The white crappie will roam around and chase bait,” he said. “If you want to catch a black crappie, you gotta troll across the tops of the brushpiles, while the white crappie stay more out in the open.”

Godwin sets up his Sea Ark aluminum fishing boat with eight poles. On each side of the boat, he will start with the shortest rods toward the back and the longest rods closer to the front of the boat. He uses a 10-foot B’n’M Duck Commander Trolling rod closest to the stern, followed by a 12-foot Duck Commander next in line and a 14-foot Duck Commander trolling rod after that.

“It seems like with the fish so shallow, you tend to push them out to the sides of the boat. That’s why I like the longer trolling rods,” said Godwin. “I even started using a 16-footer all the way up. It’s a B’n’M Pro Staff Trolling rod. It seems like those outer rods end up catching all the better fish.”


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