John's Journal...

Hot Weather Crappie Fishing

Day 3: Adam McClellan Explains How to Shoot Docks for Crappie

Editor’s Note: Crappie don’t die after the spawn. But most of the time, you’ll have a difficult time finding them and seldom in shallow water. Some of the best crappie fishermen in the South have shared their secrets with us for catching crappie in weather so hot, eggs almost can fry on the sidewalk.

Click for Larger ViewAdam McClellan from Cumming, Georgia, fishes the toughest lake in America – Lake Lanier, near Atlanta – and explains, “It’s an extremely-clear, deep lake with a lot of boat pressure and little structure. In the summer, I’ll shoot docks for crappie, which is like shooting a bow. You have to aim the jig and time the release of the jig with the release of the line. Then the jig will shoot forward on a limp line. I like a short highly-flexible lightweight rod like the B ‘n’ M ( 5-foot SharpShooter with a lightweight open-face spinning reel. I’ll spool it up with Bass Pro Shops ( Mr. Crappie Hi-Vis 4-pound-test line in bright-gold or yellow to be able to see my line.”

McClellan likes a 1/32-ounce jig, if he’s using a plastic jig body, or the white, pink and blue-ice colors in the Diamond Flash Spike-It grubs ( for summer, if he’s fishing plastic baits. “I’ll also use the 1/24-ounce jig on bright days,” McClellan reports. “I prefer to fish an older pier or a roofed dock, both of which provide shade where crappie can hide in the hot summer.

Click for Larger View“I get as close as I can to the pier or the dock, hold the rod in my casting hand, open the bail on the spinning reel and hold the line with my index finger. I leave about 6 inches of line from the end of the rod to the jig. With my other hand, I take the jig between my index finger and my thumb, with the hook pointing away from me. I pull down on the jig, bending the rod until it’s shaped like a C. Next, I hold the rod as close as I can to the surface of the water. When I’m ready to shoot the dock, I aim the jig at the spot I want to hit. I release the jig a fraction of a second before I release the line, so the jig springs forward toward the tip of the rod.”

Click for Larger ViewJust before the jig reaches the tip of the rod, McClellan releases the line with his index finger, causing the line to come off the reel with the full force of the rod as it springs forward. If you shoot correctly, the jig will hit the surface of the water at a very-low angle and will skip as much as 10 to 12 feet under the dock, which is much further than you can cast. Look for piers without any boats or jet skis to find docks that offer crappie shade and quiet.

Click for Larger ViewMcClellan lets the jig sink down and watches for a strike on the line. When the jig sinks to the depth where he thinks the crappie will hold, he’ll use a slow, steady retrieve. In the hot summer months, the boathouses and piers in the deeper water generally will produce the most crappie.

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: Brian Carter on Fishing Summertime Brush Piles and John E. Phillips on Night Fishing for Crappie

Check back each day this week for more about Hot Weather Crappie Fishing

Day 1: Use Correct Equipment and Fish the Right Depths at the Right Time of Day for Crappie with Roger Gant
Day 2: Know the Speed of Your Crappie Jig, Learn to Read A Depth Finder, and Use Fish Attractants Roger Gant
Day 3: Adam McClellan Explains How to Shoot Docks for Crappie
Day 4: Brian Carter on Fishing Summertime Brush Piles and John E. Phillips on Night Fishing for Crappie
Day 5: How to Catch Summer Crappie with Ronnie Capps

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Entry 836, Day 3