Summer Crappie Tactics With Charlie Bunting
“My number one summer tactic is to slow troll with Muddy Water baits,” said Bunting. “Generally I will work the shallows first in 1 to 6 feet of water, then troll out to deeper water up to 15 feet deep. Bigger fish tend to reside in the shallows during the summer as we average maybe 1-1/4 pound crappie then.”
Bunting’s reels are spooled with 12-pound Vicious braid line to which 8-pound monofilament leader is tied, then a size 5/16-ounce jighead tipped with a 2 to 2-1/2 inch Muddy Water cured bait. Bunting employs color patterns in white/chartreuse when water is clear, or black/orange glow when waters are muddy or off color.
“We set out a ‘Spider Spread’ with eight BNM VGJP 16 foot rods to cover more area and have a wider span to find the fish in the brush,” said Bunting. “If fish are buried into the brush, then I’ll go lighter and switch up to 12 foot ultralight rods to pluck them out.”
When trolling, Bunting runs at a sluggish .5 MPH, running over brush and timber piles. If one of the rods gets a hit, the Power-Pole shallow water anchors goes into action. “When we get a knockdown, I put the Power-Pole shallow water anchors down and concentrate casts in that area. I’ll be in a stop-and-go kind of mode, where we slow troll, get a hit, put the Power-Pole shallow water anchor down and work over an area until the hits stop, pick up the Power-Pole shallow water anchor and start slow trolling again.”
Bunting also employs the Power-Pole Drift Paddle in his arsenal. “When the wind is whipping and we are fishing in waters 8 feet and deeper, I will set out the paddles to slow the drift down to .5 MPH. They can make an unfishable type of day very fishable by negating the effects of wind speed on our drift.”
While trolling is a top tactic for summer crappie, Bunting will also get more intimate with a single jigging rod. “Sometimes in order to feel the thump of a crappie we will use an 11 foot BNM TreeThumper rod with 10-pound braided line and lighter Muddy Water jigs of 1/8 to 1/4-ounce. I look for standing timber and dip the jigs down over the structure piles. When the fish are biting aggressively, jigging is a more productive way to put up numbers of fish.”
Though the “Spider Spread” may look a little crazy on the water, no doubt paired with Power-Pole shallow water anchor and the Power-Pole Drift Paddle, its web catches a lion’s share of summer crappie for Bunting.