There are just two kinds of crappie anglers. One kind of angler goes out and covers lots of water in search of crappie. The other goes to a specific spot and fishes.
Professional tournament angler Steve Brown and his tournament partner Gerald Overstreet Jr. are second. When they go fishing it’s about controlling the boat and fishing a specific spot where they have located crappie. To fish this way they use two different techniques.
“We will stay off the brush pile, tree top or stump and cast to it. It’s so important not to get overtop the cover or you will spook the crappie. To do that we will cast to the cover with spinning gear and artificial lures,” said Overstreet. Of course Overstreet and Brown are using LiveScope to locate and see the crappie in the brush pile, tree top or stump.
They like casting 6 foot B’n’M Poles SharpShooter (www.bnmpoles.com) rods with spinning reels lined with 6-pound Gamma high vis fishing line using 1/16-ounce Road Runner (www.ttiblakemore.com) and Bobby Garland (www.lurenet/brands/bobby-garland) Baby Shad. Their go to color combination is pink Road Runner head with a Bobby Garland Cajun Creek. Sometimes they will change colors, but will be quick to change their technique if this technique is not producing crappie.
“Some days the crappie just want that moving lure. Here on Wetumpka Alabama Power controls the flow for power generation and flood control it’s like a light switch being turned on and off when they go to biting up here on the Alabama River here in Elmore County. The best thing about fishing up here on the river is there are lots of crappie and we have caught them up to 3 pounds,” said Overstreet.
If casting to the crappie isn’t working they switch over to live bait fishing. “This is where it get’s interesting and really productive most days, however, our approach has evolved with LiveScope being a big part of it. Truth is we have actually simplified it beginning with the number of fishing rods and lures. We now only use 4 rods and 4 lures at one time when live bait fishing,” said Brown.
In the past, Overstreet and Brown would put out 8 rods sometimes with double rigs out hoping that they were around the crappie and at the right depth. The traditional 2D sonar and Side Imaging were helpful to get them around, but not precise compared to LiveScope for seeing brush, tree tops, stumps and crappie.
“We use just four 16 foot B’n’M Poles Buck’s Graphite Jig Pole (BGJP Series) up front with 2 on each side of the trolling motor. Having a space between the 4 rods allow us to better identify our lures and keep the lures from getting snagged. Plus keep all the lures in the right strike zone along with reeling in and landing a crappie,” said Brown.
For this technique they use their own rig similar to the B’n’M Poles Capps and Coleman Minnow Rig which an angler can use that’s pre-tied. Slide an egg sinker up the line then tied on a swivel, 12-inch lead and tied a 1/0 gold or bronze hook. Size of the egg sinker depends on wind or current as the line must be vertical when fishing.
Keys to success when fishing this way is keep the line from swinging under the boat or away from the boat. Also go slow and when you think you are going slow enough go a little slower. The point is to be sitting far enough away from the crappie without spooking them, but keeping the boat still and minnows in the strike zone.
Catching the biggest and targeting them does have Overstreet and Brown concerned about the population of the larger crappie. “All of us as fishermen need to be conscientious of taking big crappie out of our reservoirs. It’s important to leave a healthy population of the bigger crappie and harvest the 9- to 11-inch crappie when legal for eating,” said Brown.