John's Journal... Entry 49, Day 1
EDITOR'S NOTE: To catch hot-weather crappie, a fisherman must know what causes crappie to leave their deep-water haunts and move into shallow water when the temperature climbs high enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.
As sweat poured from my brow, I watched my quill sink. I set the hook and wrestled a fat slab crappie to the surface before putting my waiting dipnet beneath the fish.
The speckled side weighed 2 1/4-pounds -- one of the many big crappie Phillip Criss of Adger, Alabama, a crappie guide, and I caught in air temperatures ranging from 90 to 105 degrees in the middle of the day in 4 to 8 feet of water.
Crappie, basically slack-water feeders, will change their feeding patterns when a hydroelectric company pulls current through a lake. A moving current causes the water's temperature to cool. Then baitfish will move to shallow water and feed along the edge of the current. The crappie will begin to feed actively on those baitfish.
"I look for shallow, underwater points where an old creek channel runs into the main river channel," Criss, an avid crappier, explained.
The crappie holding in the creek and river channels will move to the upcurrent side of an underwater creek channel to hold in the slack water when current starts coming down the lake.
When I fished with Criss, we cast upstream using light spinning tackle, wire crappie hooks and small pieces of shot lead to get the bait near the bottom. Every time our minnows got close to or passed over the lip of the underwater creek channel, the crappie would attack. If the cork didn't sink after it had floated 2 to 3 feet away from the lip of the break, we reeled our lines in and cast upcurrent. When the fish quit biting about 1:00 p.m., Criss suggested that we try the blow-downs on the main river channel.
Tomorrow: Shallow-Water Blow-Downs On The Main River Channel