John's Journal...

What Tips Will Help You Catch Crappie

Day 4: How to Find Natural Deep-Water Brush Structures for Crappie

Click for Larger ViewWhile the weather was still cold, and before most anglers even thought about crappie fishing each year, the late Curt Edney of Midfield, Alabama, would bring-in limits of prespawn crappie. No one ever really understood where Edney was fishing or how he was able to take so many big crappie. But one day almost 25-years ago, he shared his secret. “I know where there are hundreds of big trees under the water no one ever fishes,” Edney said. “The less fishing pressure a site gets, the more big crappie you’re likely to catch – especially if those hot spots are well away from the bank and no one can see them.”

Click for Larger ViewEdney, who fished in the days before the depth finder was used in fresh water, had developed a unique strategy for finding deep-water brush piles. “I look at the bank and try to locate old stumps or holes in the bank where a tree once has stood that’s been blown into the lake by high winds, “ Edney explained. “At most of these spots, the trunks of the trees in the water may be rotted away. However, often the limbs in the top of the tree still will be preserved under the water. To locate the top, I look at a live tree on the bank near where I see the fallen tree’s stump or stump hole and guess where the top of the nearby live tree will land if that tree falls. Then I put my boat in about the spot where I think the top should be and begin to cast a 1/4-once jig. I’m not really trying to catch crappie; I’m just hoping I’ll get hung on some tree limbs.

Click for Larger View“I swim my jig close to the bottom. Once the jig gets hung, I move my boat until I’m straight over the spot where my jig has hung. I carefully ease a marker buoy over the side of the boat. Then I break off my jig and re-rig with a 1/16- or a 1/24-ounce crappie jig. I bend the hook on the jig to make it directly in line with the lead head of the jig. Then the head of the jig acts as a bumper to keep the point of the hook from being hung in the brush as I try to pinpoint the limbs and brush under the water. Most of the time, I’ll find and catch crappie out in the middles of the creeks and bays where other people never fish. Click for Larger ViewOnce I’m through fishing an area, I look for a landmark on the bank, note the spot in my logbook, pull up my buoy and leave the region.” The next time Edney returned to this site, he didn’t use a marker buoy to find the deep-water tree top. He just knew where it was and fished it. Today anglers can use their GPS receivers to locate the waypoints where they’ve found brush.

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 Fish Brush at Boathouses and Docks and on Creek Ledges 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 4