Thursday, August 24, 2006

crappie, bluegill fishing during the dog days of summer

So why would jumbo crappie and other panfish prefer the heat of the shallows more than the cooler water of the deep? Pan fishing for big crappie can be taken from the shallow waters on a sizzling summer afternoon in Missouri.
“The crappie follow the baitfish up there, and our water is so dirty that they just like getting up there,” says Bowling. “Everything they need is up there — cover, the dark water and food. As for the hot water, I don’t think that bothers them at all.”
If the right water color, cover and forage are available in the shallows of your favorite panfish lake, you can catch slab-sized panfish in steaming thin water. Here’s a look at four shallow hotspots for catching jumbo panfish in the summertime heat.
The steamy swamp waters of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River Basin produce a wide variety of jumbo panfish (crappie, bluegill, shellcrackers, pumpkinseeds and goggle-eye) for fishing during the dog days of summer.
The panfish expert relies on a pink-and-chartreuse triple tail plastic grub or a blue-and-white tube attached to a 1/32-ounce jighead for his shallow-water tactics. Fan-casts the lure from one side to the other in the narrow chute and lets the grub fall to the bottom. If a fish fails to hit the lure on the fall, St. Romain pops it off the bottom with a quick snap of his rod. His tackle includes a homemade light-action 5-foot rod and an Abu Garcia Everlast T500F spinning reel filled with 6-pound monofilament.
While artificial lures work best for crappie, fishing crickets, nightcrawlers and other live baits could produce big fish as well for inexperienced anglers wanting to fish the chutes.
Lure size and presentation are important to panfish fishing patterns. He relies on the “big fish, big bait” theory by choosing a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce jighead tipped with a black-and-pink Yum Wooly Beavertail plastic grub.

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