It’s hot this time of year. That’s not just me sharing my thoughts on the heat of summer; fish share this sentiment and act accordingly. When the summer hear drives us into a swimming pool or air conditioning, it causes fish to seek deeper, cooler waters, and crappie are no exception. You may be surprised to learn that, to catch slabs when the sun is high this summer, you’ll have good luck using a simple bamboo cane pole, a float, and minnows. Keep reading to learn how this setup will fill your livewell and later, your stomach.
Known for being deep water fish already, crappie dive to depths of around 25 feet if they can, which can make them difficult targets for traditional crappie tackle. This is where cane poles come in. Arm yourself with a good 10-12 foot cane pole, light line, a cork float, and a bucket of minnows, and hit the water.
Tie on a length of line equal to the length of your cane pole and attach the float near the rod’s tip. Early in the morning, when crappie hold around 10 feet, you can drop the minnow into the water and let the float rest on the surface. Simply wait for the float to let you know when there’s a bite and pull up on the rod. When the hours pass and it gets hotter—around 11 or 12 usually—crappie will begin to move deeper (20-25 feet). This isn’t a problem, though, and all you’ll need to do is locate an object or structure at that depth, such as a sunken tree. Once you find a spot like this, anchor your boat and drop your line in. You’re set up with 10-12 feet of line, so once you see the float stand up, you’ll probably have quite a few more feet to go. To compensate for this, start feeding your pole into the water, tip first. This will double your depth and allow your minnow to get right down into the strike zone and stay there.
Where a jig will move away from crappie when it’s retrieved, even at deeper levels, submerging your cane pole to reach the deeper fish keeps the bait in front of them the entire time. When a crappie strikes, all you need to do is pull the cane pole, the line, and the crappie out of the water in one fell swoop. Yeah, it really is that simple.
While cane poles have been considered to be farm pond tackle for many these days, it’s important to remember that they paved the way for what fishing has become today. As innovative and high-tech as rods, reels, and lures have become, there’s still something to be said about a bamboo cane pole and a live minnow. This setup can help you catch crappie this summer when jigs might fail, so keeping a sturdy cane pole around can be the best decision you make this season.