Crappie are still on fire across Carolina lakes

crappie
The key to catching summertime crappie is finding the brush piles.

The summer bite is still going strong

“You can only catch crappie in the spring and fall. In the summer, they scatter all around and it’s impossible to find them,” said countless fair-weather slab seekers over the years.

They couldn’t be more wrong. For anglers that know what to look for, crappie fishing is just as hot throughout the summer as any time of year. And some say the bite is even more predictable when the sun is scorching.

TC Lloyd of Southern Angling Guide Service is one of those anglers that loves crappie fishing this time of year. He said with the advances in electronics in recent years, finding crappie is easier than ever. But one thing it takes that many anglers aren’t willing to give, is time.

“This is where patience is truly a part of fishing. Spending time learning your electronics and then using them to find the fish is the wisest way to spend your fishing time. After that, finding the fish is just a matter of looking. It doesn’t matter how hot it is, the crappie are still in these lakes, and they’ll still bite. But finding them is the key. It’s true that their location is more predictable in the spring. Everybody knows what they’ll be dong then,” he said.

Learning, then using, your electronics is the key

But using his electronics, Lloyd said he’s finding slabs on numerous lakes across the Carolinas. Wateree, Tillery, Santee, Badin, Blewett Falls, Wylie…the list goes on and on. He said for any lake with crappie, this time of year, you’ll find them on sunken brush piles in deeper water away from the banks.

crappie
Tyrell Praileau caught a cooler full of slabs last week with Southern Angling Guide Service.

“Deep brush piles are the key. Using side imaging and the LiveScope feature on depth finders will help a lot. First, you’ll be able to find the piles of brush, such as sunken trees, bushes, and tree limbs. And you can even see if the fish are on them or not,” he said.

Once he finds the fish, Lloyd said the most important thing is staying a good distance away from them. Even in deep water, these fish are wary of anything happening on the surface. He backs off and stays an easy casting distance away.

Crappie rarely chase baits below them

At this point, Lloyd said it’s time to cast live minnows under corks. He likes to suspend the bait slightly above the depth of the fish. And he said patience comes into play here again.

crappie
A slab-covered deck is a common sight for folks fishing with Southern Angling Guide Service.

“Finding them is half the battle. And the electronics helps a lot with that. You couldn’t do it without them. But you still have to get them to bite. Sometimes, the bite is on fire right away. Other times, you might catch a few right away, then have a lull before another one bites. Or it might take a little longer than you’d think to catch the first one. Sometimes a little cloud cover will get the bite going. Other times, they just turn on for no apparent reason,” he said.

Lloyd doesn’t mind it when the fish are being finicky. He likes to pick up a handful of fish at one spot, then move on to find another batch of brush. He prefers to catch them like that on the way to his limit, rather than depleting an entire bed. Finding them is part of the fun for him. And with every brush pile he finds, he adds another fishing hole to his growing list of hotspots.

Click here to read about Lake Murray crappie fishing in the hot summer temperatures.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1400 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.