As July turns to August, many anglers yearn just to have an excuse to get on the water. Most of them don’t think about crappie fishing simply because the weather is so hot and the fish have gone deep. Here’s a tactic that will catch crappie year round but especially excels during hot weather.
The tactic is known by a number of names. Some call it spider-rigging, some call it tight-lining, some pushing and others simply trolling. The name that fits best is slow, vertical trolling, and it’s a common sight on most crappie waters, with one or two anglers perched in the front of the boat with multiple long rods leading the way as the boat inches along.
It’s a tactic that Ed Duke of Southern Crappie Rods has come to rely on, a tactic he has even built a large part of his rod manufacturing business on.
“People come into my shop and they ask me, ‘What is the best way to catch crappie?’ ” Duke said. “Without hesitation I say tight-lining. It works all year long because it covers a lot of water and puts multiple baits right in the face of the fish.”
To get started in the art of slow vertical trolling, Duke said that anglers must commit to the tactic by outfitting their crappie fishing boats with the proper equipment. Duke lists items in their order of importance.
“You need to have the proper rods, rod holders, depth finder, trolling motor, baits, and rigs,” said Duke. “It’s all part of an integrated system. Sure, there’s room for some personalization. Not everyone uses the same name brand products and not everyone agrees on the exact same baits, but the basic principle is the same and it works, time after time. I would say more crappie fishing tournaments are won across the country using this method than any other.”
Regardless of the body of water you’re fishing. Duke suggests that anglers who tight line for crappie try to work out a pattern of where the fish are located and what depth they are holding at.
In the attached video, Duke explains the in’s and out’s of tight lining for crappie and why it’s the hottest tactic for catching crappie, even during the hottest time of the year.