Troll for Jordan crappie

Travis Bradshaw of Pigpen Guide Service said anglers shouldn’t let the heat run them off the water. (Photo by Brian Cope)

Crappie will bite even in the heat of the day

With so many anglers focusing on using forward facing sonar, a/k/a LiveScope, Capt. Travis Bradshaw of Pigpen Guide Service said catching them the “old-fashioned way” still works just fine, even in June.

While many crappie anglers hang up their rods at the end of spring and wait for the fall bite, Bradshaw said anglers on Jordan Lake should have no problem limiting out on crappie right now.

The two keys, he said, are being there and finding the bait.

“When I say you have to be there, I’m talking to the anglers who leave once the sun gets up. The bite isn’t over just because the day gets hot,” he said.

While he prefers to start the day as early as possible, Bradshaw doesn’t see a huge difference in the bite throughout the day.

“These fish will bite any time of day. They are just chasing bait, and when they feel like eating, they will. The heat really doesn’t shut them down like most people think,” he said.

He said it’s true that crappie probably eat less, and less often, than they do in the spring and fall, but they certainly still eat.

“You just have to be there with bait available to them whenever they’re ready to eat,” he said.

He uses a regular depthfinder to locate schools of bait.

“I don’t look for fish, because they’re looking for bait. If I find schools of baitfish, I know the fish will show up, even if I don’t see them on my electronics right away,” he said.

This time of year, he uses the smallest minnows he can find. That’s what’s naturally available to Jordan Lake’s crappie right now. And he rarely sits still in one spot, even when he’s catching crappie.

“I like to find a few schools of baitfish around brush piles and ledges, then I’ll troll with 8 to 12 rods. I’ll pick up a few fish in one area, then troll to the other area, where I’ll pick up a few more. Then I troll back in the opposite direction, and back again,” he said.

Bradshaw (919-669-6989) starts off trolling at around 0.5 mph, and adjusts according to how good the bite is. The best spots to fish, and the best speed to troll, can change each day, and even throughout the same day, he said. 

About Brian Cope 2783 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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