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Pro's Tips

Mark McGuire
Cast 'n' Drag Technique for Crappie

This technique for crappie is a very productive way to work man made brush piles, natural lay downs, and rock piles in any body of water. It is also very productive 12 months out of the year. First let me say, being a Crappie Guide here in Oklahoma my clients love this technique since they have rod in hand, are casting, and feeling the thump. I have been using this technique on Ft Gibson and Wister Lakes this past month with great success with big numbers and big fish being caught over structure and laydowns.

First it's important to locate the structure in the desired depth of water and mark it with a marker buoy throwing it upwind, backing off and throwing over the structure. It is also important to use a good Hi Vis line, either a braid or mono that can be easily seen. You should watch this line as the bait falls as the crappie will sometimes strike the bait as it falls. Another important thing is to leave the bail open and let the bait fall naturally instead of closing the bail and letting it pendulum into the structure. By doing this, you will get many more strikes. I like using the 1/16oz Crappie Pro jig with your desired plastic of choice. After the line goes slack you should then close the bail and slowly reel the line towards the boat and through the structure. As you feel the tension or resistance on your line as it is reeled across the limb or rock, lightly flick the rod tip to flip the bait over the structure.

This creates a reaction strike since the crappie has seen the bait, and thinks that is trying to get away. Another tip here is to use a jig that either has a molded weed guard in it or a stick guard, which the fisherman places on the jig itself. This will lessen the chance of the fisherman getting hung up and having to retie many times during the day, which will result in a less frustrated fisherman.

My setup for this technique is a light action 6' or 7' rod, 4lb or 6lb Hi Vis Line, Hi Quality spinning reel (I prefer a reel that will hold at least 150yds of 6lb line in case you do break off a few times you still have enough line left to cast). Another tip is to jerk as if you were worm fishing for Black Bass. You have to remember you have down sized your tackle and are using a jig that is guarded with fiber, light wire, or a stick guard. You still have to drive the hook into the fish's mouth. One of the hardest things I come up against with clients is getting them to jerk hard enough to set the hook when using this technique.

This is a deadly technique during anytime of the year, especially now in the cooler months when the crappie are really relating to structure. It has worked on all three of the lakes I have fished since early September resulting in big numbers of crappie falling to this technique. If you try Cast 'n' Dragging for Crappie you will fall in love with this technique. Good Luck and Tight Lines.

Mark McGuire -

Big Jim Dant
Mark Twain Lake, Perry Missouri

Heck we all remember hunting around hedge rows for rabbits and doves right?

Well Truman Lake in Clinton, Mo. Is full of hedges. Some along the channels, back in the coves or creeks and many on the flats throughout the lake.

In the summer and fall the shad gather around these tree to feed and also protect themselves from the wind and waves. Many fisherman ram right into the trees to fish the base. Awesome spot but at times many big fish suspend there, around the outer limbs under the water. My approach is to flip a jig into the outer perimeter of the tree base. My baits of choice are Pearl colored baits by Crappie Pro. Or if I'm using Bobby Garland I will go with a color that matches the shad, like an unpainted 1/16th jig.

When the bite gets slow I'll try a colored Crappie Pro jighead such as orange, pink or chartreuse on any type of chartreuse jig. Strollers can also be deadly; keep in mind when the fish are suspended they like to chase, so keep it moving. Primarily I fish straight lead with a pearl colored jig. Summertime fishing, I love to tip my jigs with a live minnow… Deadly results! If you have a problem with the minnow coming off, just tip the barb of the hook with a crappie nugget. Now you are not going to fill the cooler on one tree, so keep moving, but fish each tree slow and wait for the THUMP!

Last weekend I was fishing the coves on Carlyle Lake in Illinois. There was a small creek running through with hard wood stumps and several small scattered hedges. Water ranged from 4-6 feet to 10 foot in these channels. These trees and stumps have been a part of this lake since the 70's. I had my limit of 15 really nice black crappie by noon, both days. Isn't crappie fishing fun!!

Good luck and God bless
Big Jim Dant

Lee Pitts
North Alabama Crappie fishing

One of the best techniques for catching fall crappie in North Alabama is Shooting Docks. On the Coosa Chain Lakes, the annual water draw down opens up a whole new approach to catching fall crappie. The rod and reel are used more as a bow and arrow to reach dock poles and brush piles up underneath docks that have not been touched all summer.

In the past few years the Bobby Garland Baby Shad and now the new Slab Doctor are the favorite bait of dock shooters. Unlike curly tail baits and live bait Bobby Garland skips extremely well to reach the hard to get to places where crappie are hiding. Many anglers are just learning this technique but with a little practice this is a way to really stock the freezer. My gear of choice is 6 to 8lb test Vicious High Viz line, which allows a natural fall and you can see the smallest bite. The Bobby Garland Baby Shad is my all time favorite for Dock Shooting. The key colors are blue grass, cajun, cricket, monkey milk, and blue ice, for my lighter colors I prefer a touch of chartreuse dye on the tip.

Although October kicks off Dock Shooting Season, November and December are great for fast action Coosa Crappie. For more Dock Shooting techniques and guide information contact Lee Pitts at Pitts Outdoors 256-390-4045, or email @ or my website at

Brian Young, CrappiePro Prostaff — Checotah, OK
Crappie Fishing Rules

I have been guiding for almost 12 years now and I have come up with a few crappie rules that I fish by.

No. 1 "Never beg them to bite". When you fish your are looking for the most active fish, whether spider rigging or jigging brush. If they are there they will bite.

No. 2 "Never leave when your catching fish" A lot of the time we think there will be more or bigger fish in another spot. More times than not when we change locations we don't catch as many.\

No. 3 "Pay close attention to the pattern" In most cases when we are looking for fish there will be a pattern. Not just brushpiles in a certain depth. But brushpiles where the top comes up to the strike zone. We can catch fish in 8ft or 20ft. Now if they want to be 8 ft deep, brush in 20ft can hold fish if the wood comes up to the strike zone.

Doug Sikora — Noblesville, IN

The crappie in Indiana are feeding heavy on the many fry available, feeding their high metabolism during the summer months. The reservoirs are loaded with 1-1/2" shad fry that are balling up, and the crappie spread out in search of these tasty morsels. This makes fishing a bit tougher, so I reach for the spider rigging rods and present my baits to as many fish as possible by covering a lot of water. I prefer action plastics such as Bobby Garland 2.5 Crappie Strollers and Crappie Pro Triple Tips with Tail Light jig heads. On sunny days, I like to pair the 2" Bobby Garland Baby Shad with Crappie Pro 1/16 oz. bladed head, and add a little Kodiak Paste in "Shad" scent. I'd recommend using a "loop" knot when trolling the bladed heads for the best results, a tip I learned from Larry that really made a difference in my catch ratio.

The pattern has been different in the natural lakes, as the normal pattern consists of deep weed lines or main lake humps. The technique also changes, because the water is clearer, so I prefer to make long casts so I don't spook the fish. However, the type of baits remains relatively the same, but I may switch the color from a shad pattern to more bluegill and bass patterns.

Gary & Barbara Kendrick — Bobby Garland Pro Staff
Fishing Logan Martin, Alabama

Have you ever been on a given lake in the fall of the year and the schools of bait fish are so thick it would seem you could walk on them. My wife and I experienced this a couple of days ago on lake Logan Martin in Pell City, Al. She and I had planned to slow troll (spider rig) and we were all set up with two aerated buckets of live shiners. We trolled for approximately four hours and put two crappie in the boat. Finally I said lets put these long poles up and get our casting rods out. We tied a Bobby Garland baby shad on, an electric chicken and a cajun cricket and backtracked over some of the structure we had trolled across. The first four places we stopped on we caught crappie casting. The crappie we caught were full of shad.

I couldn't help but think of what Bill Dance said one time on his fishing show, he said give them something different if they're not biting. I thought here we were trying to get the crappie to take our minnow and they had thousands of shad swimming around them. The electric chicken and the cajun cricket was different from anything around them. Sometimes color does make a difference,

Brad Chappell
Bobby Garland Pro Staff

We have been catching crappie shallow the last two weeks here in Ms. We have been using BnM bgjp 14' poles with 2 3/8 oz Mo'Glo orange jig heads per pole to spider rig shallow ditches off the main lake. We tie the jig heads 2 foot apart. I like to troll pretty fast with this set-up. My best speed so far this year is .07 MPH. Been using two jig bodies that have been producing slabs. Bobby Garland Slab Dock'R and Bobby Garland StrollR' have been the ticket. Here is the best colors so far. Vegas, HorseFly, Monkey Milk, Outlaw and Green Hornet. We also have noticed the NEW Bobby Garland Slab Sauce is increasing our catch as well. Its a new scent that these Southern crappie love to THUMP!!!

Shane Eustice — Eldorado, KS
Hook'em Guide Service

Fall crappie fishing is a great time to try new things. As the surface temperatures are cooling down, the fish scatter throughout the lake, feeding on shad for winter. This is my favorite time to fish and the perfect time to "STROLL". Strolling is my word for slow trolling. It is deadly for crappie on rocky shores associated with dams, bridges, points, jetties or anywhere with a sharp break and rock. I like to fish in 8-15 FOW moving along about .2 to .5 mph keeping my boat pointed into the wind if possible. I use Crappie Pro's Tail Light Jig heads a curly tail body. In dingy water, I will use Crappie Pro's Tail Light Blade heads with a june bug body and chartreuse tail on a medium light action 7 foot rod.

While moving, I will let the baits touch bottom and then lift slowly about 6 inches. Hold for a few seconds and then repeat the process. You will usually get your bite on the upwards pull or when the bait stalls at the top. The reason for touching bottom is to keep you aware of your depth and also the fish will hear and feel the bait hitting the rocks. Strolling is a great way to cover a lake to find active fish. It's a fun way to fish and I have done this in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

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