That's a mess

John E. Phillips and outdoors writer J. Wayne Fears show their two-day catch of crappie taken while fishing with “Uncle Sam” Tony Adams.

Probably due to Lake Eufaula’s bass fishing reputation, few anglers fish there for crappie and/or catfish, especially during the summer months. That’s when most crappie anglers have rolled up their poles and given up fishing for speckle sides until the spring. Most summer catfishermen believe you have to fish in the summertime at Lake Eufaula to catch catfish: at night when the catfish move out of the deep and feed in the shallows; or, in the daytime in the tailraces in their highly oxygenated water, containing an abundance of baitfish.

Lake Eufaula Crappie

As nationally known fishing guide Tony Adams says, “When the weather’s really hot, crappie are looking for deep-water structure to hold on where the temperature is cooler, and the bait fish are more abundant. Due to the brush shelters I sink year-round, I don’t have to beat up the same structure day after day. I’ll have new sites that are holding crappie every day I fish with my customers.

“I like to fish 4-pound-test fluorescent line with a No. 2 crappie hook and attach a split shot about 12 inches above a live minnow. The shot size used depends on how strong the current is. If the crappie are biting aggressively, I’ll start my clients off fishing live minnows on tight lines. If the crappie are tearing up their feeding, we’ll switch over to jigs and spoons.”

When Adams has a customer who isn’t accustomed to tight-line fishing for crappie, he’ll put a slip bobber on his or her line but won’t put the stopper back in the slip bobber. He wants the line to move freely through the slip bobber because often summer crappie will bite so softly, picking up a minnow and swimming with it, that you can’t see the bite if you’re fishing with the stopper. However, you can spot the bite while watching that fluorescent line as it moves from one side to the other of the cork, or if that line slightly nudges your bobber.

Adams gives his Humminbird Helix 12 side-scanning, down-scanning and GPS depth finder the credit for much of his summertime crappie fishing success. He can return to the spots where he’s sunk brush and also see how many crappie are concentrating on each place.

Catfish at Lake Eufaula

Adams finds the most and the biggest catfish in 18 to 65 foot deep water all summer and fall at Lake Eufaula. He particularly likes to jug fish for catfish - often at the same time he’s crappie fishing. Adams baits his hooks with cut skipjack (a hickory shad) and with cut mullet (a saltwater fish that has a lot of oil in it and puts-off a strong smell).

“I like to put out about 72, 20-ounce plastic Gatorade jugs for catfish,” Adams explains. “To put out the jugs, I keep my big engine running. As I bait my hooks, I throw the baits out into the water. When the boat moves forward, it pulls all the line off the jug. Once I release the first jug, I’ll bait a second jug and use the same process. With this technique, I can put out 72 jugs in about 45 minutes and cover about 3/4-mile of underwater river ledges.”

Adams uses an egg sinker above a swivel with about 18 inches of leader line below the swivel going to the No. 5/0 or No. 6/0 stainless steel hook on his jugs to catch big catfish, or a No. 7/0 or a No. 8/0 hook for smaller catfish.

You can reach Tony Adams at 334-688-7505 or tony.adams@marvins.com and see photos of his fish on his Facebook page -- www.facebook.com/tony.adams.5477.

To learn more about catching catfish and crappie, check out John E. Phillips’ books: “Catfish Like a Pro,” available in Kindle and print versions at http://amzn.to/W900eu; and “Crappie: How to Catch Them Spring and Summer,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at http://amzn.to/WGaJLT.

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