Crappie Fishing Tips: Best Way to Catch Them

It’s fishing time, guys!!!

For those who have already tried crappie fishing, chances are you understand how interesting it is. But in case you are new, I highly recommend you to go for at least a trip once in your life to catch crappie. They are fun to fish!

In this article, I will show you the best crappie fishing tips, including top things to consider when choosing baits, hooks, line as well as guide you some tips, tricks and technique to catch more fish. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it!

Crappie Fishing Tips: Baits, Line, Hooks, Tips and Technique

Now, I will show you my top tips and tricks that I use when going crappie fishing. I picked up a lot of these over the years and also from other fishermen. Thus, to start off, we will go over like how to use baits for crappie.

Baits/Lures

You need to understand that crappie eats different things at different times of a year. But my two favorite things are live minnows and manmade lures.

Minnows

In fact, the best way to catch crappie is a live minnow. Now, to catch them, you should need the best hook. My advice for this is to go for hooks with a long shaft and thin silhouette.

Actually, you need them thin as when you puncture the minnows, the thinner the hook, the less of the puncture wound. From that point, they last longer and you’ll catch more fish.

Another reason is that crappies are a pretty big mouth fish and a lot of time, you will miss hooking it if the hook is really short.

Minnows

Image source: Pinterest

Lures

Live minnow is the most favorite food of crappie. However, not all the time that you can catch minnow so that’s why I highly recommend you to use jigs.

In terms of jigs, there are basically a bunch of different types but I usually use the split tail. Other anglers also tell about electric chicken for more natural movements. You can also opt for those colorful and bigger jigs to attract fish more.

In fact, the bigger the jigs, a little bit bigger crappie you will catch.

In comparison, I personally find that live minnows will help me catch fish more. With jigs, you might need some tricks and skills. Thus, if possible, let’s take the priority with minnows, you won’t regret it!

Line

The next thing is fishing lines. I usually use 8-pound test line but anything between 4 and 12-pound test line all works well. Another thing is just to have a little weight on your line to keep the minnow down to where the fish is.

A lot of times, crappies will hold around like 12 feet deep, structured more or less depending on the time of the year.

To that end, a weight is important to catch big crappies.

Hooks/Bobbers

In terms of hooks, I highly recommend you to go for pre-setup crappie rigs with skinny hooks, long shaft to catch many crappies at the same time. (But, don’t forget to check your state laws on the number of hooks you can have per pole. Usually, it’s around three (which means you could fish about 3 minnows once at one pole).

Hooks Bobbers

Image source: Bass Junkies Fishing Addiction

However, this is a give-and-take issue. If you choose such rigs for crappie fishing, it can get tangled in your tackle box.

Move on with a slip bobber.

Actually, I usually go fishing with this gear as they are really well for the depth, not at the bottom but not on the surface. Slip bobbers allow you to fish in certain depth like 12 feet deep the fish might be.

What you need to do is putting the line through this slip bobber and have a little bobber stop up the line. As soon as your line hits the water, you can cast it out fine. The bobber will just float up to that bobber stop and now you are fishing 12 feet deep.

Best crappie fishing times

Mainly, there’re just two seasons for crappie fishing which are winter and summer. I won’t tell you which is the best crappie fishing times, as each season requires different baits and techniques.

Instead, I’m going to share you my tips and tricks to catch big fishes in either summer or winter.

Summer

Finding a great structure

My very first tip to catch big crappie in summer is finding a great structure, the best that I have found is rich colors. Remember two things:

  • Submerge tree or any tree sticking out of the water
  • Dogs

Actually, when going crappie fishing, I usually take a lot of dogs alongside, especially when it gets hot in summer. Why? Because crappie really like the shade of dogs or bridges and they ambush their prey around dogs as well as pillars.

From that point, look for great structures and that’s where you should start out.

Bring two poles

Next is to bring two poles at the same time, one for live minnows and the other for jigs.

Though I tell you that live minnows are always crappie’s best baits, however, sometimes that’s going to happen. They won’t touch the minnow, but just the jigs and vice versa so that the best way is to set up two poles.

Sometimes, it doubles your chances.

I also want to show you my setup for minnow fishing for crappie in the summer and basically, I have 4-pound test line on a light action rod. You don’t need to go for any heavier than for contest line or the drop.

You will see that that contest line and crappie won’t bite.

I once tested it by using at the same time an 8-pound test line and a 4-pound with the same lure as well as everything. The result was that I was doubling if not tripling this catch just because of the contest might different. Thus, don’t make that mistake!

Get a standardized J hook

The next thing you should do is to get a standardized J hook with a long shank on it which I already told you about its benefits.

Get a standardized J hook

Image source: Florida Sea Grant – University of Florida

If you are going to fish in a docked boat, just forget the bobber, all you need is to straightly drop it down next to a bridge, collar or tree.

If you are going to fish from shore, it’s time to let your split bobber play its role. Again, as I mentioned, these bobbers allow you to fish in about 10 to 12 feet deep and you can still cast it out a long way.

Another thing you should take notice is to fish in the middle of the water column.

Bonus

My bonus crappie fishing tips to keep minnows alive the longest as well as have one of the better hookup ratios are to hook them right through the nostril.

With rigs, all you need to do is taking a proper pole with the suitable rig on it. Now, drop it down to about 2 or 3 feet off the bottom. Then, jig it and slowly bring it up, which will make a more natural lively action.

But the things are that when you get your first bait, take note that depth and start targeting it.

Crappie nibbles/bait attractant

This is for tipping the jigs as they add scent to make your jigs more like real. In fact, it truly helps you catch fish more quickly and effectively.

If you are a newbie and try everything from jigs, live minnows and even bait attractant but don’t catch anything yet within 5 to 10 minutes, move to another fishing spot as when they don’t bite, it means that either they are not there or not hungry in that spot.

Winter

In winter, small jigs are key. You should work them really slowly. After hooking them on your hook, let it down into the water, sit there for about 10 seconds, start moving up and then let it sit for more 10 seconds, everything moves slowly.

If you are wondering about jig’s sizes, I highly recommend you to go for 1/64 jigs for the best result. In terms of fishing spots, again, the best places are docks, submerged trees and bridge pillars.

Winter

Image source: Game & Fish

Bonus

For those who are crappie ice fishing but not success yet, here is my golden tip.

When you have caught a few fish out of hole, the fish swam away, the new ones came in and they didn’t want to bite. You were working hard, jigging more but didn’t catch anything more. I think they get used to your presentation and get turned off.

To solve this, reel up your line, bring it up right in your hands, get ready to drop it at any seconds though and then, watch your electronics.

After a period of time, fish is going to come wandering in. When they do, drop to the fish right then. Crappies are suckers for that first drop, you get most of them.

They will watch the jig coming down to them and they’ll look for it. Sometimes, you even see that they will start to come up with it. I like to stop the jig about a foot above their head and just stop it there. Then, I start to take it away from them as soon as they make the move to come up.

When you do that, you catch most of them.

So, I have just shared you all crappie fishing tips. In summary, you need to keep in mind to opt for either live minnow and split jigs, choosing 4 to 12-pound test line, long hook and using two poles for fishing. Besides, for a more successful fishing trip, learn a few more useful techniques, especially on how to jigs more lifelike and realistic to attract crappie. Good luck!

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