As the spring quickly turns into summer, anglers will once again need to re-examine their crappie fishing tactics. The techniques that worked in the throes of spawning season are assuredly not going to prove as productive when the sun is sitting high and so are the temperatures. So what should a crappie angler do to have success during the summer months? Here are a few suggestions:
Watch the Weather
During the summer months, I find it exceptionally helpful to pay attention to the weather. Based on my experience, both black and white crappies tend to pass out of spawning mode once the water temperatures exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In the post-spawn season, I tend to find loose schools of them congregating together in the thermocline, the open waters and the shallows depending on the weather and dissolved oxygen levels.
From what I have witnessed, crappies appear to be particularly sensitive to UV rays. Therefore, when the UV rays are brutal, I'd suggest that you target the submerged brush piles and channel drops. I have found that during intense UV rays, the crappies are prone to seek shelter in those areas. On windy days, I have found that the crappies tend to head towards the shallows and rock riprap in search of food.
Lighten Up on the Tackle
Crappies are notorious for having paper-thin mouths and a light bite, so you'll want to choose your tackle judiciously in the summer months. I'd suggest using ultra light tackle with a fast action tip, floats or bobbers and small, sharp hooks. That combination should help you detect even the lightest of bites.
Choose Bait Based on Species
During the summer months, the species of crappie you're angling for should help you decide what bait to use. I have found that Black Crappies tend to prefer live insects and crustaceans over live bait fish. White Crappies tend to favor minnows. Slow-trolling crankbaits are a superlative choice as well, especially when the fish are suspended near the drop-offs and channels. Tubes, jigs with skirts, spinnerbaits, Kentucky Rigs and spoons are also worth a shot. Shad and crayfish imitators tend to work well too.
Break Out the Electronics
Sometimes the fastest way to find loose schools of crappie during the summer months is to bust out an electronic fish finder. In most cases, you can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $220 for an electronic fish finder. However, once you find the school, you'll have a better chance of catching a fish.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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