Tip of the Month: Night Fishing Tips & Equipment

Equipment Needed for Starlight Crappie?

By John Phillips

“The biggest problem with fishing for crappie during the hot summer months is keeping your minnows alive and lively,” Sharman had mentioned to me before we fished for crappie.

“Because the water is so hot, an aerator is a must.” I like an aerator like B & M’s Max-Air since it puts out millions of bubbles that come from the bottom of my bucket and float to the surface. But aeration alone will not keep minnows from dying.

According to Gaines Hodnett, another angling friend of mine, “Fill plastic medicine bottles 3/4 of the way to the top with water. Then screw the lids tight on the bottles, and put the bottles in the freezer. As soon as you buy your minnows from the bait store, place one of these bottles of   frozen water in your minnow bucket.

“I use to put ice straight in my minnow water, but apparently some of the minerals in the ice killed the minnows. Since I’ve started utilizing the iced medicine bottles and the aerator, I rarely lose any bait.” Also, there are many new water treatment chemicals that can be added to your bait tank that are extremely good at keeping your minnows alive longer.

For a rod, I like either a lightweight B & M crappie rod, a Zebco ultralight rod or one of Berkley’s new graphite ultralights. After putting a small weight on the end of the line, I then fish with a crappie rig that consists of two drop lines coming off a mainline. I usually fish four to   six-pound test Berkley XL, which due to its limpness helps me feel a strike better.

When I fish with a 10- or 11-foot B & M graphite pole, I rig with a crappie hook, a small shot lead and a quill cork and set the cork on the outside edges of the light. Usually I fish two poles and one rod. My fishing companion generally will have the same number of lines down that I do.

Many crappiers use lanterns, either floating lights that shine a beam down deep toward the bottom or a lantern that draws in bugs and allows the bugs to fall into the water. Personally I utilize both kinds of lights to make sure I’m fishing the right way.

I like to bait with live, large, shiner minnows. My personal experience has been that the bigger the minnows I fish, the larger the crappie I’ll catch. However, I also carry at least 1/2 dozen 1/24- and 1/32-ounce jigs with me. Then if I run out of minnows or my minnows start to die when the crappie begin to bite, I still have bait to fish.


To learn more about how to catch crappie during the hot summer months check out  “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer”, available in both eBook, print and audible formats http://amzn.to/WGaJLT.