John's Journal...

What Tips Will Help You Catch Crappie

Day 3: How to Pinpoint and Fish Deep Brush for Crappie

Editor’s Note: Competitive bass fishing is one of the best activities that can take place on a lake to help crappie fishermen. Tournament bass anglers will go to great lengths to ensure they can find and catch bass on places no one else knows. They’ll sink brush on points and river ledges, in the center of bays, along river and creek channels and in areas where bass naturally travel and hold. This brush bass fishermen sink also makes ideal crappie hot spots. Because the crappie don’t know the brush has been sunk solely for bass, they’ll move into the brush and hold there just like bass will.

Click for Larger View“Use your depth finder to survey main river and creek points and secondary points on lakes that have heavy bass-fishing pressure, and you’ll find brush on just about every one of these points,” Jackie Thompson, a bass-fishing and crappie-fishing guide on Lake Eufaula near Eufaula, Alabama, explains. “This brush usually will be sunk on the break line, and crappie will hold where they find the brush. These brush piles on points can provide productive crappie fishing during the prespawn and postspawn. The crappie will use the brush on the points as staging areas before they move into the creeks to spawn and also when hot weather runs the crappie out of the creeks and back towards the deep water.”

If you find the brush shelters built, you can consistently take crappie throughout most of the year but especially during the spawn. Keeping the location of your brush shelter a secret is also a very-important key to finding more crappie in your brush each time you fish it. By locating deep-water brush shelters where most crappie fishermen don’t fish, you increase your odds for having productive brush shelters to fish year-round.


Where to Sink Deep Brush:

Click for Larger ViewSam Spencer of Montgomery, Alabama, formerly Alabama’s Chief of the Fisheries Section of Alabama’s Department of Conservation for two decades, has studied how and where to sink brush in lake to act as effective crappie attractors because his family likes to catch and eat crappie. “The first thing I learned was that hardwoods like oak, hickory and poplar seemed to attract more crappie than pine, cedar and other evergreens,” Spencer reports. “I didn’t really understand why these hardwood trees seemed to be preferred by crappie, but I knew I consistently caught more crappie off the hardwoods than the evergreens.”

Once Spencer determined what type of brush he should be sinking to catch crappie, he started to study what kinds of areas he should sink his brush in to produce the most crappie at any time of the year. “I’ve learned that the brush shelters, sunk in coves with little or no other brush in them, consistently produce the most fish prior to, during and after the spawn,” Spencer mentions. “Apparently the less cover a crappie has to select from, the more fish your brush shelters will attract.”

Click for Larger ViewAnother factor that makes deep-water brush shelters in the centers of coves very productive is because crappie often move in to the center of a cove prior to the spawn and hold in the deep water there before the spawn, waiting on the water temperature and the photoperiod to become right and trigger the spawn. Even if the brush shelter is in no more than 8 to 10 feet of water in the center of a cove prior to the spawn, the crappie will move into this brush as the weather warms up and hold there. After the crappie spawn, they’ll generally return to this deep-water brush before going back to their summer, deep-water homes. “As the time for the spawn draws near, most crappie fishermen are looking for papermouths on the bank,” Spencer says. “Very-few anglers will be looking for or fishing deep-water brush in the center of a cove. Therefore, brush piles placed at these locations rarely will be found or fished but will pay crappie dividends.”

Click for Larger ViewAnother favorite site of Spencer’s to place brush shelters in the deep water is along rocky banks and sheer rock bluffs. “Most crappie fishermen seldom look for crappie in these spots. Since these areas usually are devoid of any type of cover, you can concentrate crappie in them.” Generally, Spencer waits two or three days before he returns to fish these brush shelters once he sinks them. “But I have sunk a brush shelter in the morning, gone back to it in the afternoon and caught 50 crappie from that spot.”

To learn more about how to catch crappie in the spring and summer, Click here, or visit, and type in the name of John E. Phillips’ latest crappie-fishing book, “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer” that’s now available from Kindle books and contains information on all aspects of fishing for crappie and the best, most-productive tactics from anglers all across the country.

Tomorrow: How to Find Natural Deep-Water Brush Structures for Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about "What Tips Will Help You Catch Crappie "

Day 1: When to Set the Hook on Crappie with Sam Heaton
Day 2: How to Fish on the Rocks for Crappie with Rick Solomon and Mike Walters
Day 3: How to Pinpoint and Fish Deep Brush for Crappie
Day 4: How to Find Natural Deep-Water Brush Structures for Crappie
Day 5: How to Fish Brush at Boathouses and Docks and on Creek Ledges for Crappie

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Entry 660, Day 3