Crank up Kerr Lake slabs

Kerr Lake
Trolling small crankbaits is the key for Eddie Moody when searching for crappie on Kerr Lake this month. (Picture by Eddie Moody)

Small crankbaits are the key to Kerr Lake summer crappie

In July, crappie at Kerr Lake will be taking a deep dive and there’s no better way to catch them and put a breeze in your face than by trolling a spread of crappie-sized crankbaits. Guide Eddie Moody of Roxboro, NC is a long-time jig troller. But he switches to cranks in the summer to up his trolling speed and capitalize on this bait’s ability to draw strikes.

“The crappie are going to be deeper and scattered this time of year,” said Moody (984-363-5256), who runs Slab’s Guide Service. “And one of the biggest advantages of trolling crankbaits versus jigs is that the faster you go, the deeper they dive. I can troll crankbaits at 1½ to 2 mph, versus pulling jigs at 0.6 to 0.8 mph. The fish won’t have a lot of time to make a decision when the bait comes by. And a lot of times that means an aggressive reaction strike.”

Planer boards help

Moody primarily trolls 3 different baits — a Bandit 100, 200, and 300 in chartreuse, red, and pink. Over his many years of experience, Moody has determined that at a speed of 1½ mph with 100 feet of line out, the 100 will dive to a depth of 8-9 feet, the 200 will dive to a depth of 12-14 feet, and the 300 will dive to a depth of 16-18 feet.

On either side of the boat, he runs a 14-foot rod with a planer board clipped on to take the shallow 100 as far away from the boat as possible. The next baits in line will be a pair of 200’s on 14-foot rods set off the gunwales at an angle. Then, the 300’s will run directly behind the boat on either side of the motor. Moody prefers Slime Line Hi-Vis monofilament in alternating colors of orange and chartreuse to keep up with which bait is where. He uses Catch the Fever Precision Trolling Rods.

“I’m trying to find the contour line when I’m trolling,” said Moody. “I’ll start out in the mouth of a creek and head toward the main lake. In the summertime, I like the midlake area to the lower end. The water is generally deeper and the contour lines are closer together. My first pull will be in the 16 to 20 foot depth range, going around the point at the mouth of the creek and making a big circle. If I’m not getting any strikes, my next pull will be over 20 to 25 feet of water. I’ll just keep going around the rim of the bowl over deeper water until I find where the fish are.”

About Dusty Wilson 274 Articles
Dusty Wilson of Raleigh, N.C., is a lifelong outdoorsman. He is the manager of Tarheel Nursery in Angier and can be followed on his blog at

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