Miscellaneous > Fishing

On the move for summer crappie


Mike Frisch
Published Friday, July 17, 2009

Crappie are a very popular target in many areas during the spring. At this time, these fish move shallow to feed and also, a bit later, to spawn. After that time, however, these fish take a back seat to other fish species in some places. That's probably a mistake because crappie can be a fun species to pursue during the summer season as well. Here's a look at ways to target these scrappy panfish after their early season runs to the shallows.

Crappie are often found in shallow bays and other back-water areas after winter's ice is gone. Once they've completed their spawning ritual, these fish often head back to main lake areas and deeper water. One place that they congregate in the summer in natural lakes is along deep weedlines.

The deep weedline is simply the outside edge of the weed growth. Those edges are established because a lack of sunlight prohibits deeper weed growth. Those edges are very distinct, almost wall-like in some lakes. In others, the edges are more random and less defined. Regardless, the weedline can be a crappie magnet in the summer.

Locating weedline crappie usually requires a mobile approach. Many anglers like to hold their boat out from the weedline and move along casting their bait to the weedline and slowly working it back to the boat. A small jig tipped with a soft action-tail like a Power Grub is a good combination.

Plain round jigs work good, but often a jig head with added action like the propeller-bladed Whistler Jig catches even more fish. Another good option is a jig with a small belly blade like the Thumper Jig. Both jigs can effectively be tipped with a grub.

When picking jigs for crappie, I often prefer a 1/16-ounce size tipped with a 2-inch grub. Lots of color combinations will work for summer crappie jig/grub combinations. Some of my favorites feature the colors and color combinations of white, pink, chartreuse, and yellow. It's always a good idea to have a variety of colors available and to experiment to find the colors that the crappie prefer.

As previously mentioned, a mobile approach is often good while searching the weedline. When using this technique, I keep a close eye on my sonar unit watching for depth changes indicating points and turns along the weedline. This is also a situation where the Side Imaging feature on my Humminbird sonar unit comes in handy, allowing me to “see” off to the boat's side to help identify pockets, turns, or points which may hold crappie schools.

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