Summer slabs: Top tips for warm-weather crappies
After black or white crappies spawn in mid to late spring, many anglers believe they’re suspending or schooling in deep water. That no man’s land spooks rank-and-file fishermen who then turn their attention to walleyes or bass. Certainly those are worthy fishing pursuits, yet those crappies remain remarkably catchable!
Yes, crappies will suspend or school in the heart of summer… but not always. Crappies are perfectly capable of staying put in a specific, shallower locations., such as weedlines.
Use your liquid crystal graph to identify these fish and when you do, cast to them with tube jigs, jig spins, and small plastics. Begin by casting so you pick fish off the top or sides of school first. Cast into the middle and you risk spooking them.
Try to duplicate what worked with your first catch when you cast back toward the pod. For example, count down after your offering hits the water, and if a fish hammers it on eight, try that on your second or third casts, too.
If crappies are not schooling, I use three-way swivel rigs (similar to live bait rigging for walleyes) and work small live bait. Speed is a big factor at this time of year. Troll slow. Use tube jigs to vary your presentation or make the action more subtle. Pull out the tentacles, for example, so the jig gives a different profile.
Bottom line, don’t underestimate the aggressiveness of summer slabs!