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Great Reasons to Go Fishing

Top 10 Reasons to Go Fishing

There is no need to convince the thousands of Virginians and avid outdoors men and women, who get excited by reeling in a 30-pound striper or seeing a beautiful brook trout rise to a fly, why they need to start making plans to head outside. But if for some reason, you need a little convincing, we have compiled a list of 10 good examples that might just offer you an excuse to call in sick to work or leave those “honey do’s” for another weekend so you too can spend a day fishing.

  1. Contribute to Conservation: Anglers put their money where their mouth is and are passionate about the environment. By purchasing fishing licenses and paying special taxes that they themselves have agreed upon anglers have helped to fund many of the wildlife and conservation programs that exist in the United States and here in Virginia. They also contribute to non-game and education programs, and to the purchase of thousands of acres of public lands, where everyone is welcome to recreate year round. Anglers are also acutely aware of the importance of clean water and air and pride themselves on protecting and preserving our environment, natural communities, and valuable habitat.
  2. Stress Relief: Ask most anglers why they enjoy spending time in the outdoors and you’re likely to hear the word “freedom.” Spending a day afield casting for trout on a cool mountain stream or bobber fishing for bluegills on a pond helps to release us from our highly stressful, everyday environment. Nothing brings on the sense of being alive and helps to rebuild our personal reserves like a day spent interacting with nature.
  3. Social Bonding: Sharing a fishing experience helps strengthen relationships with family and friends. It also offers a person the chance to give back to society through mentoring others in the pleasure and importance of being good stewards of our natural resources.
  4. Supports Wildlife and Fisheries Management: Angling is an important wildlife management tool. For more than 100 years anglers have helped to contribute to wildlife and fisheries management efforts by helping to set seasons and creel limits. Wildlife populations of most fish species remain stable and in some cases flourish, a far cry from a decade ago when many species suffered from over harvest and the ill effects of pollution. Anglers also have a vested interest in and support many efforts to preserve and protect all species and the environment-all the while helping to increase biodiversity.
  5. Health Benefits: More than fifty percent of Americans are overweight. Being outside and being active helps to make you feel better and encourages a healthier way of life. Driving to your local grocery store and fast food restaurant might be convenient, but fishing can also help you burn those unwanted calories, increase the quality of your lifestyle, and add years to your life.
  6. Recreation: Having a bad day of fishing still beats a day in the office or tending to house chores. The most common reason you will find with people who like to fish is that it is simply fun, whether you enjoy trolling for stripers or outwitting a weary brook trout with a hand-tied fly that imitates an insect the size of a pin head.
  7. Self Fulfillment: Fishing offers you the chance to improve your self-esteem through respect for the environment, mastering outdoor skills and achieving personal goals. Fishing can also play an important role in ones personal and social development. Fishing is a lifetime skill and activity that can be enjoyed at any age. Just ask a youngster who reeled in their first fish how much fun fishing can be.
  8. Boost to the Economy: Virginia’s anglers generate millions in state and local taxes and directly support thousands jobs, that gives an economic boost that any state government would be pleased with.
  9. Fishing for Food: Wild fish are low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends a regular diet of fish. Besides it’s a lot more challenging to catch that plate of fresh fish than to stroll endlessly down a supermarket aisle if you decide to keep your catch.
  10. The Thrill: Fishing has a way of fulfilling an age-old need of pursuing and catching. The thrill lies in the challenge, such as stalking an elusive wild trout or matching the hatch. But there are many who will be quick to profess that it’s not the catching of fish that’s important, but the immeasurable life lessons that you will experience along the way.
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Why is Fishing Good for Your Health

5 Reasons Why Fishing Is Good For Your Health

Fishing is actually really good for your health.

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No, seriously. While this may sound like an excuse some guy is making to his wife to let him skip something important to go chase fish on a Saturday, this is a legitimate claim to make. Fishing is a healthy activity, plain and simple.

Now, if you ever do need some help in convincing someone to let you go fishing (wife, mother-in-law, your kid whose dance recital you’ll be missing) you can always bust out these tips to help your argument.

View the slideshow to see the reasons, and leave your own in the comments.

1. Exercise

Unless you’re on a boat, fishing is great exercise. Wading through rivers and flinging flies or lures at fish for eight hours a day is actually pretty good aerobics. You’re not going to lose weight doing it, but you’ll improve your overall cardiovascular health.

2. Low Impact Movement

Running is awesome and everything, but it really does a number on your knees. While steep hiking to streams or ponds might stress your knees also, most simple wading while fishing is incredibly low-impact.

You get all the benefits of moving around a lot without all the wear and tear on your joints.

3. Relaxation

Fishing calms your mind down, plain and simple. Being out in nature, away from the computer and your phone (unless you’re using it for pictures!) lets your brain relax and focus on one simple task – catching fish.

Not to mention, sunlight and all the Vitamin D that comes with it are great health benefits to being outside with a fishing rod in hand.

 

4. Dexterity

Fishing, especially fly-fishing, involves a lot of small and intricate movements. As you get older, some of these finer motor skills seem to deteriorate, but fishing can help them stay sharper longer. You’ll also use a lot of muscles that don’t normally get a lot of work when you’re fishing, especially ones in your arms and back.

5. Fun

In the words of the immortal John Gierach, “Fun is something you can’t measure.”

Having fun, and just simply enjoying yourself, is a huge health benefit. Being and feeling happy is something that seems to be harder and harder to achieve these days, and taking time out of life to spend it fishing can work wonders for every area of your life.

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Survival Trapping and Fishing

Survival Trapping and Fishing – A Numbers Game

March 15, 2013 by sensible survival

As I have stated in a previous post, it is difficult to survive in the wild by only gathering wild plants.  Unless you can gather nuts or mature seeds it is hard to come up with enough protein to survive.  You will almost certainly have to turn to animal protein to meet your body’s needs.

Hunting, in most instances, is one of the least efficient ways to gather animal protein.  If you are hunting, that’s all you can do; and you will probably have only one chance to either succeed or fail.  Fishing with a pole in your hand presents the same problem.  You must remain totally occupied with this one task, and you will either catch fish or you won’t.

Traps and trotlines offer multiple chances for success at the same time, and they will work for you while you take care of other tasks or even while you sleep.  The thing about trapping and trotlining is that they are both a numbers game.  If you just set out one trap you might as well go hunting.  If you just set out one hook you might as well stand on the bank and fish.  The idea is to set out as many hooks and traps as possible so that you can maximize your chances of securing food.

Let’s talk about fishing first.  It takes considerable cordage to set out a trotline.  If you have fifty feet of para-cord you could cut off ten feet, remove the outer sheath, and have seven, ten foot long pieces of 50lb. test nylon to cut up into drop lines.  If you don’t have any fish hooks, you can make fifteen or twenty gorge hooks in a fairly short time.  If you don’t have any cordage, then I would abandon the idea of a traditional trotline.  It would take hours and hours to twist up enough cordage to make such a line.  If you have to make your own cordage, then I would recommend that you go with drop lines.  A drop line is just a short piece of cordage with a baited hook and weight.  Locate an area where low trees and /or bushes hang out over the water, and tie a drop lines to various branches.  This won’t get you out into deep water like a trot line stretched across the river, but it will get hooks into the water.  You will have to turn up grubs, earthworms, and other insects or larvae to bait your hooks the first time, but if you make a catch you can use fish entrails for subsequent baiting.

Traps can be time consuming to make, but just one trap does not have much chance of securing food.  I think that I would set out fishing lines first, then gather materials to make traps around the fire at night.  The figure 4 deadfall and the rolling snare are both pretty easy to make.  The real time consumption comes when you are selecting locations for your traps and preparing the sets.  I would try and set at least ten good traps, and twenty would be better.  The more you set, the better your chance of making a catch.  If you set baited traps you will have to forage for the initial bait, but once you catch the first animal you can use entrails for subsequent traps.

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What are the favorite topwater lures for largemouth bass

Fishing with topwater lures is by far the most exciting way to fish for largemouth bass.
Whether you target bass with a frog, torpedo, buzzbait or any other type of topwater lure, the strikes above the surface are just flat out awesome.  At times you can catch some largemouth with a topwater lure during cold water conditions, but for the most part, you’re going to be looking for water temperatures above 60 degress and the better bite is almost always during light conditions when fishing with topwater lures.  In the late spring, summer and early fall, there is usually a very good topwater bite at night as well on most bodies of water.

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Best Fishing Tips for Topwater Largemouth Bass Fishing
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Low Light Conditions are Best

There are exceptions, but for the most part, the better topwater bite is almost always during low light conditions.  Early morning, evening and the night time are best.

Twitch, Twitch, Pause

If you want to consistently catch largemouth bass with a topwater lure, learn how to twitch the bait a couple of times and then pause the bait.  This technique is by far the best technique for consistently catching bass on the surface.

Frogs are Awesome

It’s tough to beat a frog.  Learn how to fish with them and you’ll catch a ton of bass.

Different Types of Topwater Lures
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buzzbaitsBuzzbaits are one of the most exciting topwater lures to use because the explosions can be absolutely incredible. This is a lure that attracts aggressive bass and it works very well during the early morning and evening hours. I like white or chartreuse.

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chuggers-poppersChuggers – Poppers are very popular among topwater bass anglers.  These lures can be retrieved with a quick twitch and stop motion when bass are aggressive.  When bass are less aggressive, a stop and go retrieve with longer pauses will get plenty of bites.

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crawlers-topwaterTopwater Crawlers can be very productive during daytime hours, but this is one of the best topwater lures for night fishing. Bass can easily follow this lure’s slow and steady retrieve at night.  Don’t be surprised if you get some hits right next to shore or the boat.

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propbaitsPropbaits are some of the most exciting topwater lures for bass fishing.  You can use a steady wind-in retrieve or a twitch and pause technique.  The twitch and pause technique tends to work much better as most bass will hit the lure on the pause.

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stickbaitsTopwater Stickbaits provide an exciting walk-the-dog motion along the top of the water.  This retrieve mixed in with a pause will draw aggressive bass from far to see what is causing all of the commotion.  Bass will attack stickbaits very aggressively. I love silver and black.

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topwater-frogsFrogs work great for fishing over lily pads or a variety of different weeds.  The morning and evenings are great times to fish topwater frogs, but you can go into some heavy cover during the middle of the day and get some bass to come up for these lures.  

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topwater-miceMice work great for fishing over lily pads or a variety of different weeds.  The morning and evenings are great times to fish topwater mice, but you can go into some heavy cover during the middle of the day and get some bass to come up for these lures.

 

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What are the best rigs for Large Mouth Bass

Best Rigs for Catching Largemouth Bass
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Shaky Head Jigs

shaky head jigsShaky head jigs are known as great rigs for shaking baits along the bottom, however, you can use this rig to replace the Texas rig or the Florida rig.  It’s an unbelievable way to rig a variety of soft plastics.

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Wacky Rig

wackyrigThe wacky rig is so popular.  For most anglers, it is their number one rig for catching largemouth bass.  You can rig it wacky style weightless, on a finesse jig or on a drop shot rig and they all work great.

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Drop Shot Rig

drop shot rig finesse wormThe drop shot rig is not as popular as it should be among largemouth bass anglers.  You can use this rig to fish around all types of cover, in shallow water and in deeper water.  You can rig so many different soft plastics on this rig.

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Florida Rig  /  Texas Rig

floridarigMost anglers think of the Texas rig as the go to rig for using soft plastics, but the Florida rig is actually better.  The Florida rig is the same thing with one modification.  The weight will actually screw into the bait, which keeps the bait and the weight connected together. However, there are some baits that look great with the bait not connected, so the Texas rig then would be better.  You can always peg the weight with the Texas rig too to get the same result as the Florida rig.

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Umbrella Rigs

umbrella-rigsThey may not be legal everywhere or popular everywhere, but it’s hard to deny them.  This rig is probably the best big fish, schooling bait for fishing in deeper water.

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Carolina Rig

carolina rig curly tail wormThe Carolina rig is still one of those awesome rigs that just keeps catching bass.  Use it in deeper water and you have a super effective rig.  In shallow water, it’s not as good, but still can be productive depending how you want to use it.

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Neko Rig

neko-rig-imageThe Neko rig is so unique.  Many anglers still haven’t heard of it, but it’s an awesome rig.  You have to take a look at how it looks under water to appreciate what this rig can do.

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Underspins

underspinsUnder spins are great for covering water with curly tail grubs, swimming worms, curly tail worms or minnow baits.  Retrieve them slow and steady and you’ll catch some bass.

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Scrounger Jighead

scrounger jigheadsThe scrounger jighead is amazing and a lot of anglers still don’t know about it.  This jighead turns many baits into amazing swimbaits and you can fish shallow water very effectively with them.

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Bass Tournament Advice

Have you ever noticed whether it be Club Tournaments, Divisional Tournaments, and even the Pro Tournaments, usually you will see a hand full of the same anglers consistently “In-The-Money” most of the time? Then while you’re driving home after fishing some of these tournaments without much success you ask yourself, “What are these anglers doing so different than me?”
There are many different reasons these anglers consistently “Cash-In” or “Place in the money”. I hope I can help you with some insight on what keeps these anglers successful when it comes to tournament fishing.
Bass Tournament fishing is a very competitive sport in a multi-billion dollar industry. More and more anglers every day are joining the ranks of the Tournament competitors. With all these new competitors joining the established ones, the competition seems to be getting tougher and tougher, making it harder to stay on top, or consistently be “In-The-Money”.
I have outlined several tactics you can use to give you the edge over a good portion of the participants. These can stack the cards in your favor when it comes to tournament preparation.

Understanding Bass

The better that an angler can understand his or her quarry the better or more successful he or she will be at catching it. The most important factors when bass fishing is understanding how a bass reacts to changing conditions and how they use their senses (taste, feel, sight, smell, etc.). There is much to learn about bass, especially when you have to consider water clarity and depth, water temperature and oxygen content, vegetation, seasons, daily conditions, barometric pressure changes, weather fronts, available forage, colors, structure and there’s more!
The first rule of thumb to ALWAYS keep in mind is that bass need three elements to survive:

  1. FOOD
  2. OXYGEN
  3. COVER

Understanding these elements and relating them to some of the situations or conditions listed above should help prepare you for the “Pre-Fishing” period of a tournament. This is the start of putting a “Game-Plan” together.

Familiarize Yourself With the Tournament Waters

This can be done by first obtaining a map of the waters you will be fishing. By understanding how to read a map and relate it to bass fishing you can just about “Pre-Fish” any body of water before launching the boat. Just by knowing where the structures are (channels, drops, humps, shallows, flats, depth, points, etc) and by understanding how bass relate to the seasons, daily conditions, and water temperatures, you should be able to eliminate large amounts of water. Understanding the long list of factors I outlined previously, you should be able to key on the areas where bass relate.
Another way to get familiarized with the water is to hire guides or charters. Depending on expenses I would recommend hiring at least two different guides or charters on any given body of water. That way you can take the best of the two days to help find areas and patterns. Being a licensed guide as well as a bass angling instructor, I need to let the truth be known that there are very poor and very good guides on just about every body of water that holds large-scale bass tournaments; buyer beware.
Another way to learn the lake is to “fly the water.” Go to a nearby municipal or county airport and find a pilot to fly you over the tournament waters. This doesn’t cost very much (normally), but you’d be amazed of what you can see from the air that you can’t see while sitting on the water.

Color & Bait Patterns

Probably one of the best ways to learn the color and bait patterns of any given body of water would be to visit as many bait and tackle retailers in the area as possible. Peruse the shelves to see what baits and colors are the best sellers. If you visit several of these retailers you should be able to get a very good idea of what colors and baits to use, based on the average of all these different places combined.

Watch The Locals

One of the best ways I’ve found some great Honey Holes in the past is just by observing the locals. While you are on the water and see a boat sitting in one spot for a while, just move off in a distance and watch. Remember some of these locals have fished these waters all their life and are not sitting in areas just to eat lunch!
In the morning before you hit the water, try to find the local diner where most of the locals go eat breakfast. Many times I’ve found some great information just by eating at the same place at the same time, and by sitting as close as possible. Many anglers like to brag! Just by sitting and minding my own, you can’t help but over-hear these locals talking between themselves about the 10-pounder they caught off of Truman’s Point using a Spook and so on.

Putting A Game Plan Together

Putting a game plan together for a tournament and sticking to it can make or break most of the anglers in the field. The biggest problem many anglers have is not sticking to a game plan.
Several years ago, I had the great pleasure and company of Shaw Grisby Jr. and his Father (Pops) over at my home for dinner. That evening, I asked Shaw’s father (A truly great and knowledgeable man) why he thought most anglers can’t seem to stay consistent in tournaments, to which he replied, “They always leave the fish!”
To put another way, if you are in an area where there are fish, WHY LEAVE? Give a spot time. The biggest part of pre-fishing is locating fish right? So don’t just give a spot a few minutes then leave. I’ve sat on certain spots for a couple of hours without a bite, then all of a sudden they turn on and I’ve caught limits. I just had to wait them out.
When making your game plan, select an area where you won’t have to run miles and miles to secondary spots. Try to keep at least three or four alternate spots within a few minutes of each other.
As I mentioned before, being a Pro Bass Instructor, I’ve had several students in the past who attended my 3-day Bass Fishing School that just wanted to learn how to “Pre-Fish” a tournament. By teaching them a better understanding of bass behavior and showing them such things as how to put game plans together, different techniques and patterns, color selection, what proper equipment to use, and how to locate bass, these former students are now consistent money winners.
I hope that this article will help you in all your future tournaments and make you a more consistent angler. If you have any questions on any of the material I’ve covered, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the information below. Until next time!
Take Care & God Bless!
“The Bass Coach” Roger Lee Brown

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Top Ten Fishing Tips for Your Next Fishing Tournament

Ten Tournament Tips

Ten Tournament Tips What does it take to have a successful tournament? It’s more than fishing techniques or strategies. Find out inside.

 10 easy steps to courteous tournaments
Tournament Tips and Tactics
  1. Respect everyone on the lake. Water encroachment is not a good practice whether the other boat’s owner is entered in the tournament or not. Allow the distance required by the tournament rules to all other boats in your vicinity. Don’t leave others awash in your wake as you leave or enter an area. Slow down well before nearing another boat.
  2. Have your boat ready to launch before getting to the ramp. Don’t keep others waiting while you get rods and other equipment out of your tow vehicle, or while you do repairs on motor, etc. Launch quickly and do not use the headlights on your tow vehicle when backing in, use parking lights so that you don’t blind everyone waiting to launch.
  3. When loading up at the end of the day move quickly and get out of the way of others trying to load their boats. Do your final tie-downs, etc. out of the way of the ramp.
  4. Don’t litter. Leave areas around the ramp and the lake as clean as possible, cleaner than you found them if you have the time. Leave no mark where you have been and others will appreciate it.
  5. Control excess alcohol consumption. Drunken, rude behavior is shameful and reflects on all other anglers. This type of behavior does not represent the majority of sportsmen.
  6. Don’t let winning prizes or money be the only reason you are there. Your rights are only as great as the others using the lake. Keep the fun in fishing and don’t think that because you are entered in a tournament your rights are more important than someone not competing.
  7. Work hard to keep your fish alive and healthy. Leaving dead or dying fish on the side of the lake shows a lack of respect for the future and the fish. Others who see this have a right to assume the worst.
  8. Be aware of local and state laws, and abide by them. Buoys that carry signs warning you not to make a wake should be observed. Consider taking a boating safety course to educate yourself.
  9. Abide by the unwritten rules of sportsmanship at all times. Don’t do anything to anyone else that you would not want done to yourself.
  10. Most importantly, don’t think because someone else does something to you that it’s fair to do it to someone else. Rudeness breeds more rudeness whereas an offer of friendship and respect is easier on your blood pressure and allows you to make many new friends. Use your common sense and the manners your mother taught you. Maintain a good image among all other anglers, you represent a very visible group and as such have a responsibility to demonstrate the best, not the worst of our natures.

Grow your fishing skills and improve your angling effectiveness

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Find and Catch Fall Bass

For many anglers, it doesn’t get much better than a day on the water in the fall. The leaves change colors, the deer and turkeys begin to move; and the crisp clean air wipes away all memories of the oppressive summer heat. Although fall weather conditions are ideal for fishing, the onset of autumn can sometimes be a little harder on the catching, as fall fish movements can be tough to track.

Falling water temperatures, turnover, and baitfish migrations can shatter reliable summer patterns and cause bass to scatter – a recipe for feast or famine fishing. Fortunately, though, when it comes to the tricky tracking of fall fish movements, a little knowledge goes a long way.

We chatted up some of the best minds in the sport and got the scoop on fall fish movements that will hopefully result in a lot more days feasting this fall.

Where They Go

fall fish movemements

To find bass in the fall, you only need to have one word in your brain; baitfish. By late summer, they have congregated in massive schools and become the dominant food source for bass in most reservoirs. Because there are more baitfish packed in to tighter areas, there is also a lot more dead water between them. In the fall, if you’re not seeing baitfish flipping on the surface or on your locator, you’re probably going to strike out. As the water temperature drops, the schools of bait move toward the backs of creeks. To find them, try idling secondary points, the last steep drops in creek arms, and bluff walls off the main lake. Once you mark some baitfish, start fishing. Fall fish movements are a top-down approach, as once you find those baitfish you should be right on some predators.

How To Catch Them

crankbaits

Once you’ve located the bait, the most effective  way to catch bass is to use shad imitators like walk-the-dog topwaters, jerkbaits, swimbaits, and crankbaits. The good news – bass around bait are generally aggressive, so you just need to get something in their strike zone and make them react. Don’t be afraid to move your baits really quickly either – there is lots of surface feeding activity in the fall.

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Catching Crappie in the Heat of the Summer

Catch Summer Slab Crappie

Tactics for Catching Crappies in Hot Summer Weather

Remember how awesome the fishing was last month? Crappies were spawning, bunched in the shallows thicker than fleas on a hound. You were catching slabs off stake beds and brushpiles in every bay, cove, and flat. Then suddenly, just like somebody pulled the plug, it was over. Now you’re figuring it’s time to stash the crappie tackle until next spring.

Hold on. Even though the spawning bonanza has passed, there’s still plenty of great crappie action out there if you change your tactics. After the spawn, crappies follow submerged creek channels out of reservoir tributary arms toward the main body of the lake. Although they’re unlikely to be packed together now as they were during the spawn, they’re still in predictable places and respond eagerly to live bait and lure presentations. Here’s how to find these summer hangouts.

June

TROLL CRANKBAITS When lake temperatures reach about 75 degrees, postspawn crappies will be scattered along the first dropoff they encounter adjacent to their bedding areas—12 to 18 feet deep is typical. These fish will be suspending now rather than holding tight to the bottom, so your best approach is to cover a lot of water by slow-trolling small crankbaits like the Bandit 100 and Bomber Model A. Target the deep ends of gravel flats, major points at tributary mouths, and creek-channel drops [figure 1]. First scan these areas with your sonar and put marker buoys along channels and ditches to chart your route. Using soft-action baitcasting rods and 8-pound abrasion-resistant line, troll between 1.5 and 2.5 mph in a lazy S pattern, alternately sweeping the open water over the channel and banging bottom on top of the drop with your lures. When a fish strikes, don’t grab the rod and set the hook—crappies aren’t called “paper-mouths” for nothing, and a hard hookset may rip out the hook. Instead, pick up the rod and just start reeling. The strike is usually sufficient to bury the hook. Don’t forget to take along a plug knocker to retrieve crankbaits that hang up in brushy cover.

July

PROBE CHANNEL COVER With the lake now topping 80 degrees, crappies will most often be hanging around deep creek and river channels. Look for them to be suspending near, or holding tight to, stumps, brushpiles, and flooded standing timber adjacent to channels in 20 to 30 feet of water. Mark channel drops with buoys, then probe for crappies using a Kentucky rig [figure 2]. Use cheap 30-pound mono as leaders off of the main line. The stiff, springy leaders will keep the two lures from tangling. A bow-mounted sonar with the transducer attached to the trolling motor will help you stay on target. Lower the sinker straight down into bottom cover and s-l-o-w-l-y reel it up, repeating as you progress along the channel [figure 3]. July crappies often suspend in a tower formation, and this presentation will catch fish from 30 to 10 feet deep.

August

DRAG OFFSHORE HUMPS Even though the lake temperature may exceed 90 degrees now, you can still catch crappies by keying on offshore humps (submerged islands). Target those no shallower than 15 feet on top, especially if they rise out of deep water near a flowing channel. Crappies gravitate to the peak of the hump to feed on baitfish when current is being generated from the upstream dam, then drop back to suspend off its deep sides once the turbines shut down.

Idle over the structure, marking it with buoys. Move to open water, let out about 40 feet of line with a Kentucky rig on the business end, and head back to the spot with your trolling motor, dragging the rig behind your boat. When you move across the hump and feel the sinker hit bottom, speed up slightly; if you haven’t felt the sinker drag for several seconds, slow down until you do.

Crappies suspending in hot water can be maddeningly slow to bite. When you spot a school on your sonar, you may have to approach it from several different directions to entice a strike. A sudden change of speed can also trigger a bite. As the rig passes near the school, either speed up your trolling motor to quicken the presentation, or kill it so the rig sinks. Find the right combination, and you can get two hookups at once.

Follow the Forecast:

Muggy

Minnows fade quickly in the heat, so switch to tube baits. Look for towers of suspending fish at dropoffs down to 30 feet and probe them vertically with a Kentucky rig.

Windy

Wave action creates cloudy water perfect for ambushes, and crappies emerge from channels to prey on bait feeding on windblown plankton. Head to banks with nearby dropoffs and slowly swim a small white or chartreuse twister jig.

High Pressure

Under clear skies, crappies retreat from piercing UV light in brushy cover near channel drops. Fish straight down into the thick stuff with a Kentucky rig.

Dropping Pressure

Before a storm, crappies school up to bird-dog wandering baitfish. Make multiple passes over channel drops until you find them on your graph, then troll crankbaits or slow- drift jigs through the school. —DON WIRTH