John's Journal...

How To Catch Summertime Crappie with Ken Cook

Day 4: Fishing for Summertime Crappie

Editor’s Note: Ken Cook quit his job as a fisheries biologist in 1983 to become a professional bass angler. The Oklahoma resident participated in a multitude of tournaments, including BASS and FLW events, for many years, staying on the water fishing for bass about 200 days a year. After retirement from his long career as a professional bass angler, he now has devoted his life efforts to making Tarbone Ranch ( in southwest Oklahoma a destination for others who share his passion for all things wild, offering a limited number of hunting and photographic safari opportunities for trophy game animals - deer, elk and bison. Cook still remains a consummate student of fish and their behavior.

Click for Larger ViewEven though there may not be as many crappie fishermen out on the lake during the hot summer months, generally there still are just as many bass fisherman as there are at most other times of the year. Bass fishermen know that crappie make tasty treats to take home for supper and can provide a lot of fun catching when the bigmouths become lockjawed. They’ve also learned that they can fish the same areas as they do for bass, and by downsizing their tackle, using ultralight rods and reels, making slower presentations, fishing little jigs in the same water and the same depth of water as they fish for the bass, they can catch crappie to eat. Often when bass fishing is slow, and the bass angler gets those little pecks on his line, he can convert over to crappie fishing and catch a good mess of slabs, even if the bass won’t hit. Then the anglers can take the crappie home to eat and still catch and release the bass.

Click for Larger View“Fishermen can eat crappie because crappie are such a prolific fish,” Ken Cook says. “In most lakes across the country, there are healthy crappie populations that can be harvested heavily each year without impacting the resource, because crappie can withstand much more fishing pressure than bass. In many parts of the nation crappie are so overpopulated that the fish’s growth becomes stunted. To prevent overpopulation and overharvesting of crappie, abide by the rules and regulations set by the Fisheries Departments in each state. State fisheries biologists know what they’re doing, and set seasons and bag limits for crappie on particular lakes to allow maximum harvest without impacting the resource adversely.”

Click for Larger ViewCook believes that crappie fishing in the middle of the day during the summertime can provide a fun break for the bass angler who knows that midday fishing for largemouths can be tough. “I’ve never met a fish that I didn’t like, and crappie not only provide a fun tug on the line in the middle of the day, but they’re delicious eating fish and a good freezer stocker,” Cook says. “And although bass seem to be most active early and late during the hot summer months, crappie may feed three or four times a day and usually are more likely to be active in the middle of the day than the bass. So there’s no reason why the bass fisherman can’t return home with a mess of fish to eat if he uses his bass tactics to catch crappie when the bass aren’t biting.

Click for Larger View“Another advantage of using little jigs and minnows fished on light line in cover along the breaklines of major creek and river channels is that these baits will catch anything that swims. Just because you’re crappie fishing doesn’t mean you won’t catch catfish, bluegills, white bass, sauger or even hybrid striped bass. So, although you’re primarily fishing for crappie, you may take almost anything that swims.”

To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, "Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter,” "Catch Crappie All Year” and "Catch Cold Water Crappie Now” by clicking on each, or go to ", type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. You also can download for free John and Denise Phillips’ “The Crappie Catcher’s Cookbook” at

Check out our new website at

Share this page with a friend!

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Using More Summertime Tactics for Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about How To Catch Summertime Crappie with Ken Cook

Day 1: Learning from Longtime Bass Pro Ken Cook How to Find and Catch Summertime Crappie
Day 2: Understanding pH Breaklines and Thermoclines to Catch Summer Crappie with Ken Cook
Day 3: Using Some of Ken Cook’s Favorite Crappie Tactics
Day 4: Fishing for Summertime Crappie
Day 5: Using More Summertime Tactics for Crappie

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 830, Day 4