John's Journal... Entry 201, Day 1
CRAPPIE WHEN IT SIZZLES
Inside Ledge Tactics
EDITOR'S NOTE: Although skeptical about the possibilities of catching crappie in 100-degree weather, I had to believe what Phillip Criss of Adger, Alabama, a fishing guide who always had produced crappie year-round, said. He promised if we had hot weather, a clear sky and a current running through the lake that we would catch more and bigger crappie than we ever had taken in our lives. And what I learned completely changed my mind about hot-weather crappie fishing.
As Criss and I motored from the boat ramp at 9:00 a.m. in upper 80s temperatures, clouds covered the sky. "This cloud cover will make crappie harder to find because they'll scatter throughout the lake," Criss said. "On sunny days with clear skies, crappie will concentrate on the inside ledges of the major creek channels that run into the main river."
"We want to drop-fish the up-current side of the creek channel until the dam releases current," Criss instructed. "Most of the crappie will concentrate on the lip of the break looking up at the baitfish swimming along the breakline. Some tree stumps lay along this creek channel where crappie can hold."
Moving the boat along the breakline, we fished with 14-foot B&M poles and slip bobbers in about 10 feet of water. We used porcupine quills as line stoppers to let the lines fall to the proper depth, a small shot lead on each line to keep the minnows close to the bottom of the lines and gold crappie hooks. About every five to 10 minutes, we caught crappie weighing 3/4- to 1-pound each. By 11:00 a.m., the hot, bright sun had cleared away the dismal gray clouds, and the temperature had soared to 100 degrees. As Alabama Power Company began to pull current through the lake, Criss announced, "now the crappie will concentrate."
TOMORROW: MORE INSIDE LEDGE TACTICS