Reports of Mayfly success are coming from every direction. Learn how anglers in different areas are finding great crappie action with Bobby Garland’s newest bait.
“I don’t know if you guys just got lucky or did an outstanding job on your homework, but the Mayfly is a remarkable imitation of the “Hex,” and that has me really excited,” said Doug Sikora.
For those who know the Indiana crappie pro well, many call Sikora the “professor” because he studies the science behind everything relating to his passion for crappie fishing, and no topics are off limits – from how sonar works to how natural lakes were formed by glaciers to what crappie eat.
I know Doug from our common Bobby Garland relationships, and therefore I expected to get a mini biology course on the insect when I called to follow up on the Mayfly samples I had sent him a few weeks earlier. He didn’t disappoint!
When a tree topples into a lake, it transforms into a crappie haven. Learn how to work laydowns to catch the most crappie.
On dry ground, a tree provides a home for birds, squirrels and raccoons. Lying low in the water, the same tree becomes a laydown and offers horizontal cover for crappie, bass and catfish. Crappie fishing laydowns is an outstanding way to put fish in the boat late in the summer and continuing through fall. Lake of the Ozarks guide and tournament competitor Terry Blankenship frequently fishes for crappie around vertical cover he sinks in his home waters; however, he has learned crappie fishing laydowns offers a better option at times.
“Sometimes crappie want to get under something and use it for protection,” Blankenship said, explaining his reason for crappie fishing laydowns. “It is also a good place for them to ambush bait. Horizontal cover is good whenever you have really clear water and the fish aren’t real deep. I think crappie are bothered by sunlight a lot more than a lot of gamefish, so it seems like they like to get under something, especially when they are shallow.”
Some of the best baits for catching creek smallies were not made for that application, but we don’t need to tell that to the fish!
“It was designed to be jig trailer,” Patrick Marbury said with a knowing smile as he reeled in yet another creek smallmouth on a YUM Craw Chunk, “but I’ve learned that it works REALLY well on its own!”
A creek fishing enthusiast from northwest Ark. who heads various marketing projects for Lurenet.com and associated lure brands, Marbury often goes outside the box with the soft plastic lures he chooses for creek smallmouth bass from Ozarks streams – and in doing so he finds exceptional success.
Marbury’s favorites include some baits that offer natural attraction and subtle action and some that kick hard to move water and prompt attacks. The common denominator is that most are at the small end of the spectrum – baits that would be considered “finesse soft plastics” for bass fishing.
Learn why downsizing crappie fishing baits can help you catch more fish during summer.
Never say never.
“Never” did crappie guide and host of The Crappie Connection Brad Chappell ever see himself doing anything in August other than long-lining jigs or pulling crankbaits, two trolling techniques that he helped develop and popularize for catching slabs in the hottest months of the year. And never did he dream his summer catch rates would nearly double because of using different crappie fishing baits and tactics. Today, though, you’re likely to find him on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett Reservoir sitting still and casting Bobby Garland Itty Bits to cover.
“It’s true.” Chappell said, “Things just clicked last summer, and tossing these little baits is my new favorite summertime way to fish, and a method my clients love because they’re at the front of the boat and fully engaged in the fun of the action, from casting to catching.”
Summer crappie fishing often calls for moving baits, both to find the fish and to trigger strikes. Learn trolling and casting techniques of several expert anglers.
Crappie and baitfish are more active when water temperatures are high during the heat of summer, meaning both move a lot. Savvy anglers approach summer crappie fishing by mimicking the fleeing motion of baitfish, using “swimming” lures with lively tails.
“A crappie’s metabolism this time of the year is really cranking, and they are eating more now than any other time,” said North Carolina tournament angler Stokes McClellan about summer crappie fishing. “Crappie are moving more so I think they like the tail action of those lures a lot better than they do in the wintertime when it is cold. The water temperature has lot to do with it.”
Mississippi guide Brad Chappell believes a swimming bait triggers more summer crappie fishing strikes. “It draws that instinct for crappie to bite something moving away from them,” Chappell said. “The tail on those baits creates more disturbance that actually just helps crappie locate the baits and gets their attention a little bit better.”