Brush up for crappie on Lake Murray

Lake Murray’s crappie spend lots of time on brush in November. (Photo by Brian Cope)

Crappie bunch up on brushpiles in November

The cooling waters of fall push Lake Murray’s threadfin shad population into working up the main river channel. And where the threadfin go, the crappie follow.

And that makes Lake Murray a magical place in November for Brad Taylor of Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354).

“The crappie follow the bait up the main river channel, and they’ll stage on any type of brush or structure they can find. And they’ll use that to ambush their prey,” said Taylor.

Anglers can catch them in a variety of ways this month.

“When it comes to crappie, the fall is anybody’s game. They are on brush this month more than at any other time of year, so they are easy to find and very consistent in their daily patterns,” he said.

Especially early this month, the crappie usually suspend over the top of brush, and that’s a gift to anglers.

“When they are suspended over brush, you can drop your jig or bait to them without having to drop it into the brush. So you have far fewer hangups to worry about,” Taylor said.

Basic electronics will help you locate the fish. Then, Taylor said you can either fish straight down at the proper depth, or cast out and reel slowly, keeping your bait just above the brush.

Find bait, find fish

“One of the most popular ways is to cast a 1/32- or 1/64-ounce jig, then just slowly retrieving it over the brush. You can also tight-line minnows over the brush using a No. 2 or No. 4 Aberdeen hook tipped with a live minnow,” he said.

Taylor suggests using the lightest split shot weight you can get away with to keep your line straight down. He likes to have both small and medium-sized minnows on hand.

“The size minnow preferred by crappie will vary from one day to the next. So it’s best to have both options,” he said.

Anglers can also find crappie on bridge pilings in good numbers.

“Bridges are generally good year-round. They can be especially strong this time of year,” he said.

When a cold front comes through and really drops the temperature, Taylor will begin tightline trolling at very slow speeds. It’s all a matter of keeping up with bait then.

About Brian Cope 2745 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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