Most of the crappie fishing guides who consistently catch those 15-17 inch slabs do not bait their brush piles.
This seems to go against logic because most crappie fishing reports talk about fish over baited brush. Those are for numbers of fish. Getting a shot at a huge slab however requires not only negotiating your way through a bunch of smaller fish to get them but the catfish, gaspergou, buffalo and bass that a baited hole attracts.
It is hard enough to get past undersized and frying pan fish much less every other species in the lake. Trophy fishing in large part is about eliminating competition.
What are your experiences catching big brushpile crappie?