The Reel Deal: Summertime Crappie
by Lindsey Lucas
We’re all anxious for Fall, but if you’ve ever roasted under the sun out in a September dove hunting field, you know summer is still with us.
But don’t worry – the hotter it gets the more feverishly crappie will seek out crankbaits.
Since we started trolling crankbaits for crappie, my Dad and I have heard or read people commenting about how “that’s not real fishing.” We always explain that our time on the water can be very limited so like most anglers, we want to capitalize on what time we have to put fish in the freezer.
We study crappie and see that in the summer they like to scatter out and not stay in one big group or by shorelines any longer. That will change when temperatures do begin to drop, but in the heat, crappie tend to scatter. We’ve learned that trolling crankbaits works best. Knowing the nature and behavior of the crappie and what they do at different times of the year is key to landing huge slabs year around.
Since it was so hot the day my family and I went out, we wore swimsuits underneath some clothes. We got down to the lake a little later than we wanted. Our boat just got out of the shop, we were just going to take it on a boat ride and see how it was running.
But, of course, my Dad and I decided to bring some of our 16-foot poles in the boat, “just in case.” We got to the lake around four o’clock and off we went. We are pleased to find the boat running like a dream. After a nice boat ride, we decided to go to a shallow cove and let everyone jump in for a quick swim.
Dad and I stayed on the boat casting for crappie while the others swam. Once they were done swimming, it was time to get serious about fishing.
We went close to a line of docks and set all six of our poles out and tied on some Pico Crankbaits, short and long bill to get an idea on how deep the crappie are. Dad didn’t bring any of the boat’s electronics on this trip because it was supposed to be just a quick trip to see how the boat was running, so we went old school.
Pulling crankbaits can be a lot of fun watching the poles bend and trying to guess what you’ve got on the line. And they sure do get the job done. After only an hour and fifteen minutes we loaded up and got photos with our crappie. We In that relatively short time trolling we caught 15 keepers averaging 11-12 inches, with the largest being 14 inches.
We threw back several small fish. We also caught a huge blue cat that Dad said would have gone 20 pounds, but it snapped the line right next to the boat. Hot or not, summertime fishing is one of my favorite times – perfect for family boat rides, swimming and fishing all in one day.
(Lindsey Lucas, 15, is a relatively new contributor to CrappieNOW. She is obsessed with all things outdoors with dreams of becoming an accomplished outdoor media provider and influencer. She hopes the tips and experiences she shares will prove inspirational for other young men and women in her Gen Z age group.)