Right gear, right presentation is key for High Rock Lake’s crappie
Crappie anglers on High Rock Lake are having no trouble putting fish in the boat during the summer heat. The trick, according to Capt. Shane Walser of Yadkin Lakes Crappie Guides, is getting on the water early and being flexible on your presentation.
“These fish can be finicky on what they bite. It’s best to rotate what you’re casting throughout the day as the bite dictates. Jigs tipped with minnows, jigs without minnows, and plain hooks with minnows will all catch crappie at different stages throughout the day,” he said.
When using plain hooks, Walser likes to use a small barrel weight to get the bait down. He uses a slip cork stopper to peg the weight above the hook. Pegging it farther from the hook allows the minnows to swim more freely, which often entices bites from crappie.
Walser uses a variety of rods each day, depending on his exact tactics. He has an assortment of Catch the Fever Precision Crappie rods, including trolling and casting models. When the fish are stacked up in good numbers, he likes to troll from one brush pile to the another with the trolling rods. When the fish are more scattered, he’ll put the casting rods to use, picking up a fish or two here and there before moving to another brush pile and doing it again.
Walser (336-978-3737) uses his electronics to find brush piles, but said anglers without them can still find plenty of fish at High Rock.
Forget about braided line when crappie fishing
“Ride along the bank and where you see trees that have fallen into the water, just think about how big the trees around there are. That fallen tree will protrude down into the water, giving the crappie plenty of structure to gather around,” he said.
While getting on the water in the early morning is always a good tip this time of year, Walser said that doesn’t mean crappie won’t bite during the middle of the day.
“If you have a day with some cloud cover, that can be just as good, even at high noon. And on some days, for whatever reason, you’ll get a flurry of bites in the hottest part of the day. When these fish get hungry enough, they’ll bite. So don’t pass up a chance to get on the water if you’re only available during the warmest parts of the day,” he said.
Aside from using rods with the right action, Walser also uses Slime Line Super Stretch monofilament. This line stretches up to 30 percent, then returns to its original length without losing strength. This allows crappie anglers to set the hook and fight these paper-mouthed fish without tearing holes in their lips.
Walser will continue fishing brush piles on High Rock through the summer and into late fall.
“You can catch them on brush piles all year, but during cold weather, some other tactics work very well. During the summer heat, fishing brush piles is a sure fire way to find them,” he said.
Headed to South Carolina’s upstate? Click here for tips on catching summer crappie at Lake Russell.
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