Crappie are generally caught with either minnows or jigs. There are Crappie lures such as floater/diving lures and I've caught Crappie on worms and nightcrawlers. But the vast majority are caught on either minnows or some type of Crappie jig. This guide will give you the basics of the most popular Crappie jigs on the market and tips to catch Crappie.
The Road Runner Crappie Jig
This is an old favorite of many Crappie fishermen. I've used this jig on a number of ocassions. I have to be honest with you, I normally use this type of jig for White Bass, Hybrids and other fish more than I do for Crappie.
When I do use the Road Runner Crappie Jig, it's normally in a stream or in muddy water where I want a little sound or vibration to help the Crappie find my lure. This is also a good choice when fishing for schooling Crappie in deep water.
When using the Road Runner, there is no telling what you'll catch. I've caught everything from Bluegill to Catfish on them. This includes a 16 lb Striper I caught on Beaver lake with 6 lb test while trying to convince a suspended school of Crappie to bite. Needless to say, it took me about a milisecond to realize I didn't have a Crappie on!
The Beetle Spin has been around for as long as I can remember. I don't use this jig for Crappie fishing much any longer. Over the years, I've used the Beetle Spin with great results in old strip mines and ponds. As with the Road Runner, hang on because you never know what will eat these things!
I primarily use Beetle Spins for remote streams when I'm fishing for Bass, Bluegill or other fish. When fishing the Beetle Spin and the Road Runner for Crappie, I use a slow retrieve. Just enough to make the blades spin. Crappie are not real agressive fish unless it's spawning season and they won't normally chase a lure very far. Also, I believe really loud and flashy lures will scare Crappie. It's not like they are at the top of the food chain!
Slider Weedless Crappie Jig
The Slider Weedless Crappie Jig is a jig that I use when when I'm fishing heavy grass areas or lily pads. I'll also use this jig in timber depending on how thick and nasty it is. Although the name says "Weedless", you will get hung up once in a while on grass and other debris. As with any type of jig you throw at Crappie, be as delicate in your presentation as you can to minimalize hang ups.
One of the drawbacks to using the Slider Crappie Jig is that many fishermen barely insert the hook point into the body. Crappie are not Bass, their soft mouth and soft bites will leave you empty handed if you don't push the hook point to where it is almost coming out the other side.
Tried and true maribou jigs. The old favorite. They're not as popular as they should be. Crappie fishermen being like other types of Fishermen, are easily attracted to flashy lures and jigs that are designed more to catch your eye and wallet than to catch Crappie.
I use maribou jigs mostly around boat docks and other man made structures. The maribou hair gives the jigs a life like action that Crappie, and any other type of fish, can't resist. Sometimes, simplier is better!
Tube jigs are my all time favorite. I dont' know why Crappie love these jigs as well as they do, but they just can't seem to get enough of them. Perhaps is the soft body that feels like food, or the the little bit of movement the tail ads to the the jig. Whatever the reason, Crappie love these "do nothing" jigs.
My favorite tactic for using tube jigs is to either pitch them along timber and weeds or delicately drop them into small openings in weeds or timber. My second favorite method is to drift them below a slip cork. I like this method when I'm working bridge pilings or submerged brush piles. If you know the depth of the brush, you can set the slip cork to carry the tube jig slightly above the brush pile. Crappie feed up an if you're close enough, they'll dart out and gobble the jig down.
The jig shown has the jig head outside the body. I like using the jig head inside the tube. Also, during the spawn when Crappie are more aggressive, I use the 1/8th ounce jig head from Cabela's that has the 1/0 hook. This big hook is great for hooking big slab Crappie deep in the roof of the mouth.
Another trick I like to use is simply take a split shot and mash it onto a Tru-Turn 1/0 Crappie hook, then pull the tube jig over the hook and split shot. The Tru Turn hooks are great for Crappie.
If you wanting to expand your Crappie catching methods, these 5 jigs and the tips to catch crappie will increase your Crappie filets in the freezer!