John's Journal...


More Crankbaiting for Crappie

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Kent Driscoll of Cordova, Tennessee, has enjoyed fishing for crappie for 30 years. He's fished in crappie tournaments for 10 years, winning numbers of local tournaments, several one-day tournaments and finishing third in 2000 and fourth in 2002 at the North American Crappie Classic. Each spring and summer, Driscoll fishes the Crappie USA Circuit, Crappiemasters and the new Crappie Angler's Association, using a wide variety of tactics that produce crappie all year long. Let's learn how Driscoll finds and catches crappie.

Question: Kent, how do you have your poles positioned and rigged when you're trolling crankbaits for crappie?

Driscoll: On the rod in the No. 1 position, which if I'm sitting on the butt seat in the front of the boat will be the pole to the far left of me and the pole to the far right of me that's being held by my two rod holders, well, that No. 1 pole is a 14-foot pole with 12-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line on a Cabela's Depth Counter bait-casting reel. Up the line, I put a 2-ounce egg sinker. Below the egg sinker, I'll tie on a barrel swivel. Then on the bottom eye of the barrel swivel, I'll tie a 4-foot leader of 12-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. At the end of the leader, I'll tie on a ball-bearing snap swivel and then hook the snap swivel into a Bandit 300 series crankbait.

Click to enlargeQuestion: What's your favorite color of crankbaits when you're fishing for crappie?

Driscoll: Most of the time on this first rod, I'll use some type of pink color. Some of my other favorite colors are plum and black, chartreuse-purple and chartreuse-blue. If I'm fishing on a dark day, I'll use a dark-colored crankbait. If the day's clear, I'll fish a bright-colored bait. The colors I choose for crankbaits on these type of days are the exact opposite kinds of colors that I'll select for jigs if I'm jig fishing on these same types of days.

Question: Okay, Kent, now that we've got the first rod on each side rigged with a modified Carolina-rigged crankbait, what will the second pole on each side moving toward the front of the boat have tied on it?

Driscoll: The second pole on each side will be a 16-foot B'n'M Pro Staff pole spooled with 12-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line and a Cabela's Countdown reel. I'll tie a Bandit crankbait on the end of the line with no lead, and I'll let out 75 feet of line behind the boat before I engage the reel and start pulling these crankbaits. I want to have the tip of the rod at a zero-degree angle so that the tip of the rod is just inches above the surface of the water.

Click to enlargeThe third poles on each side will be 14-foot B'n'M poles. I want the crankbait on this pole on each side to run in-between the crankbait on my No. 1 rod, which is running straight under the boat with the lead, and my No. 2 pole, which is the 16-foot pole that's running a crankbait 75 feet behind the boat. Once again, I'm using 12-pound-test line and a Cabela's Depth Counter reel on this pole. I'll let the Bandit crankbait on this pole out to 100 to 120 feet behind the boat. Then this third pole has the crankbait swimming at the farthest distance behind the boat. This way, the crankbait on the No. 1 pole is swimming almost directly under the boat, the No. 2 pole has a crankbait swimming farthest away from the boat, and the No. 3 pole has a crankbait swimming the farthest behind the boat. And because I'm using three different lengths of poles, I have each crankbait swimming in its own little zone and at different depths. The crankbait the farthest behind the boat, the No. 3 pole, will be swimming deeper than the No. 2 pole, and the No. 1 pole will be swimming the deepest of all.

The No. 4 pole on each side of the boat will be 12-feet long, with 12-pound-test line and a Cabela's count down crankbait reel. I have a shorter line on the No. 4 pole because the crankbaits on this pole are usually going past right over the top of the brush. So, if these crankbaits get hung in the brush, I can simply let out line until the other crankbaits on either side of the boat run past the brush and catch the crappie that will be holding on either side of the brush before I have to get over the brush and try and get the crankbaits free that are on the No. 4 poles.

Click to enlargeI'm using various lengths of poles and different amounts of line to let out behind the boat or being fished under the boat to make a wide sweep as I troll the crankbaits and cover more water with more lures than the anglers who only troll one or two crankbaits at a time. I also have different-colored crankbaits on each one of my poles. Using this system, I can quickly and easily determine the depth of water that the crappie are holding in and the color of crankbait they prefer on that day. Once I know the color of crankbait they want and the depth of water that they're holding in, then I can rig all eight of my poles with that colored crankbait and fish all of them in the depth that seems to be producing the most crappie.

To learn more about Mossy Oak Fishing Line, go to For more information about B'n'M Crappie Poles, visit



Day 1: More Crankbaiting for Crappie
Day 2: The Depths Driscoll Runs Crankbaits
Day 3: How Driscoll Decides What Lures to Troll
Day 4: How Driscoll Trolls Minnows and Jigs
Day 5: How to Find Crappie on a New Lake



Entry 293, Day 1