If you’ve taken a step outside lately, then you’ll definitely agree that summer is here in full force. With temperatures consistently in the mid-90’s throughout many regions, fishing can be rough enough to endure without the added factor of fish seeking cooler areas to keep their body temperatures regulated. Crappie are no exception and when summer hits, some anglers have trouble getting slabs to the boat. Here are a few tips to help you catch more crappie during the dog days of summer.
One key to catching more crappie during the summer months is knowing where to look. When the summer heat is at its hottest (July and August), look for them on creek channels or river ledges in a lake or river where the water is cooler and there’s an oxygen-carrying current. Any crappie holding in such areas will be situated between 20 and 20 feet, though, which is deeper than most anglers are used to fishing. This isn’t a problem, though, and you’ll just need to make sure you’re using the right tackle.
If you’re using a depth finder and have located fish, it’s a good idea to mark the area by throwing out a buoy. Once you’ve found the fish, back your boat off and anchor. Start off with a smaller jig (1/24 or 1/16 oz) and cast it to where the fish are holding. Once the jig hits the water, feed out line from your reel so that the jig can drop vertically and doesn’t swing in an arc back towards the boat. I recommend using hi-vis line, since you’ll be watching your line the majority of the time. Crappie will tend to strike during the fall, so once you see it twitch or stop, set the hook.
Fish are fish, though, and sometimes they can be quite selective about what they bite on. If this is the case, then I suggest switching to heavier line and perhaps a lighter jig. The thicker line and lighter bait will fall slower, which will allow the crappie to see the bait longer. If the opposite occurs and fish are feeding aggressively, use a heavier jig and lighter line. This will cause your bait to sink faster and get to the bottom quicker.
Fishing can try our patience during even the most optimal times of the year, and when you add such unrelenting heat to the mix, it can become miserable. If you can handle the summer months and change your tactics to seek out fish, then you’ll have no problem pulling in your limit on crappie this summer.