The crappie on Lake Marion have locked into the summer pattern and lots of fish, including plenty of slabs, can now being caught on deep water brush.

Guide Buster Rush said the action is very consistent, and working the deep brush piles typically results in a very good catch.

“The typical pattern for July has set up, and crappie are being taken off brush, primarily in the 12- to 17-foot depths,” Rush said. “The best technique has been to find the brush and fish vertically with live minnows in a tight-line manner. Generally, the crappies are holding right at the top of the brush. That keeps hang-ups down, and we don’t have to get into the midst of the brush to get a bite.”

Rush (803-432-5010) said the best brush piles are those along drops and ledges near deeper water.

“I may have to fish a few brushpiles on some days to really get into the fish, but typically you find good woody cover in those depths and you can find crappie in Lake Marion right now,” said Rush, who said many anglers overlook the fish that sometimes suspend above the brush.

“I fish with long rods and drop the minnow just until it touches the brush and leave it there,” he said. “If I don’t get bites soon, I’ll lift the long rod to change the depth, and I’ll pull the minnow up a bit, searching for crappie suspended above the brush. There are times when the fish will actually suspend 5 to 8 feet above the top of the brush. Crappie will go up to take a bait but not down. Finding suspending crappie is not unusual during the summer.”

Rush said that jigs will also work but because of the light bite of the crappie, more finesse is required. Occasionally, however, he’ll have parties that are comfortable using jigs.

“I can back off and cast a 1/16-ounce jig on light line and a spinning rig, let it fall to the top of the brush and work it back slowly with good results,” he said. “A couple of favorite grub colors are a green body with orange tail and a red and silver two-tone body with a chartreuse tail. Fishermen can also fish a jig vertically in the brush as they would a minnow.”

Rush said time of day has been important recently.

“I’ve found early in the day to be the best,” he said. “Later in the day the fish seem to slow down.”

Rush said a good number of slabs are being caught, but most of the others are quality fish.

“If we catch 50 crappie, I’d say about 20 will rate as “slabs” with the rest being very good fish,” he said. “But for summertime, there’s some very good crappie fishing right now on Lake Marion.”