John's Journal...

How to Find and Catch Big Crappie

Day 4: Fishing Bass Spots for Big Crappie

Editor’s Note: Fishing over the years with some of the greatest crappie fishermen in America, I've discovered a couple of all-important secrets to catching really big crappie. If you fish for crappie in a lake that traditionally has homed monster-sized crappie in a state that manages its crappie in places where no other crappie fishermen fish, you'll consistently catch bigger crappie. You can adapt these strategies to where you fish and catch big slab crappie throughout the year.

Click for Larger ViewThrough the years I interviewed and fished with many tournament crappie anglers and learned so much from them. One of the fishermen told me, “You can catch some of the biggest crappie in any lake by fishing deep water on main-river points.” Bass fishermen know they can catch plenty of bass off main-river points. For that reason, you'll find brush and cover planted by tournament bass fishermen on those main-river points on almost every lake throughout the nation. You can locate these brush shelters by using your depth finder. Most crappie fishermen, especially on bad, cold, windy, rough days in the early spring will retreat to creeks and coves to fish visible cover out of the weather. Therefore, the least amount of crappie-fishing pressure on most lakes will occur on those main-river-point brush piles where you have to contend with boat traffic, heavy wind and sometimes blowing rain. However, I always find the biggest crappie in these places.”

Click for Larger ViewTo catch crappie on deep-water, main-river brush piles, many anglers like to fish 1/16-ounce or 1/32-ounce crappie jigs. If they catch little crappie off these brush piles, then they change the colors of their jigs, since often big crappie prefer a different color jig than little crappie like.

Flood-Water Crappie:

“I only seriously fish for crappie 3 to 4 weeks during the early spring prior to the spawn because at that time of the year, I can catch the most and the biggest crappie,” Danny Wiles of Birmingham, Alabama, says. Wiles likes to fish when the weather and the water is so rough that most crappie fishermen won’t even think about putting their boats in the water. “I like for the lakes to reach the flood stage,” Wiles reports. “I want water to flow over the spillways, the wind to blow, the current to flow strong and the water to look like a chocolate milk shake below the dams. On those kinds of days, you won't see other crappie fishermen on the lake.”

Click for Larger ViewIn flood-water conditions, the strong currents force the baitfish to eddy holes, pockets downriver, behind rocks or into underwater holes on the bottom. The baitfish also will stack up behind trees that have fallen into the water, breaking the current. “Under these types of weather and water conditions, the really big crappie will follow the baitfish into those eddy holes and gorge themselves on baitfish in preparation for the spawn,” Wiles advises. “In a half day of fishing under these conditions, I usually can catch my limit of 35 crappie, weighing 1-1/2- to 2-pounds each. And in my catch, I'll usually have 5 to 10 crappie that will weigh more than 2-pounds each.”

Click for Larger ViewYou don't have to go to major reservoirs and fish in a tailrace to catch really big prespawn crappie when the rivers reach flood stage. Often, you can find numbers of large crappie by walking the banks of small streams and creeks during flooding conditions as crappie move up them, searching for spots to spawn. As Wiles explains, fast-moving current and muddy water creates eddy pools, and then the baitfish and the crappie will stack up in those eddy pools. One of those small pools in a creek or a stream that you can fish from a bank often will produce a catch of the biggest crappie you ever have taken.

To learn much more about crappie fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, "Crappie: How to Catch Them Fall & Winter,” "Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” "Catch Cold Water Crappie Now” and “Catch Crappie All Year: Fishing a Single Pole, Using No Boat and Farming Crappie” 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. To receive for free the “Crappie Catchers’ Cookbook,” by John and Denise Phillips that offers free recipes, go to "".

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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: Fish from the Bank, Duck Hunt Crappie and Fish for Big Crappie in the Heat

Check back each day this week for more about How to Find and Catch Big Crappie

Day 1: Weiss Lake Guide Shares His Crappie Catching Tips
Day 2: Catching Big Invisible Crappie
Day 3: Catching Big Crappie with Brute Force
Day 4: Fishing Bass Spots for Big Crappie
Day 5: Fish from the Bank, Duck Hunt Crappie and Fish for Big Crappie in the Heat

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Entry 833, Day 4