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Better Ways to Find and Catch Hot-Weather Crappie with Brad Whitehead

Big-Motor Cranking for Crappie

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Brad Whitehead of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a crappie-fishing guide on Pickwick Lake and the Bear Creek Watershed in northwest Alabama, uses a War Eagle 754 VS boat, designed by Roger Gant because it’s specifically set-up for side pulling, a form of trolling where the electric motor is placed on the side of the boat. Then instead of pushing the boat forward, the trolling motor is used to pull the boat sideways.Click to enlarge With this form of trolling for crappie, three or four anglers can fish with their lines straight out in front of them, and each angler’s lure will travel through new water. Knowing how and where to find and catch crappie when the weather’s extremely hot is the number-one concern on most crappie fishermen’s minds this month. This week, Whitehead will tell us where to find hot-weather crappie and how to catch them.

Question: Brad, how do you catch crappie during the hot-weather months?
Whitehead: Side-pulling crankbaits can drain the power out of your trolling motor, if you’re side-pulling long distances. But if you use your big engine, you can pull crankbaits all day for about $5 worth of gas. If hot weather doesn’t bother you, you can fish all day and catch crappie from daylight to dark using these hot-weather crappie tactics.

Question: How do you keep your big outboard from pulling your crankbaits too fast?Click to enlarge
Whitehead: I use a Davis Happy Troller trolling plate on the back of my big engine. Because trolling plates are most commonly used up North for walleye fishing, many southern anglers never have seen one. The Happy Troller is a 1-foot-square aluminum plate with a spring that flips over the prop or behind the propeller on the outboard. Using this aluminum plate, I can direct a portion of the prop wash down, thereby reducing the speed at which the motor’s pushing the boat. With the Happy Troller trolling plate, Ican keep my big engine moving at exactly the right speed to pull crankbaits for crappie.

Click to enlargeQuestion: How do you set-up your boat to fish for crappie using this tactic?
Whitehead: I’ll put eight of the 6-foot, 5-inch B ‘n’ M Buck’s Graphite Crappie Spinning rods in my rod holder off the back of the boat. On the front of the boat, I have 10- and 12-foot B ‘n’ M Pro Staff Trolling rods to cover a lot of water in a short time and find and catch a number of crappie. Using this technique, I’ll catch active crappie that want to bite.

Question: Do you catch any other fish using the big-engine-trolling system?
Whitehead: Yes, I do. I’ll catch saugers, bass, catfish and white bass.

Question: How many fish will you catch in one day of fishing?
Whitehead: I generally will catch 20 to 30 crappie, four to five saugers, four or five bass and one or two catfish and white bass. At the end of the day, on a really-good day, I’ll have about 40 or 50 fish in the boat.

Tomorrow: Downrigging for Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about "Better Ways to Find and Catch Hot-Weather Crappie with Brad Whitehead"

Day 1: Fast-Trolling
Day 2: Side-Pulling Crankbaits
Day 3: Big-Motor Cranking for Crappie
Day 4: Downrigging for Crappie
Day 5: Crappie in Cool Water Now


Entry 519, Day 3