How to Fish for Crappie
It is a good idea to have a little background knowledge about crappie, before getting into how to fish for them. Crappies are freshwater fish native to North America and there are two types: White crappie and Black crappie although they do vary in color depending on age and location. They are schooling fish and will even school with other types of fish.
While most of the time they prefer to be in cover and can be found in deeper water during the day, they move closer to shore at dawn and dusk to feed. They can also be found in large groups in shallow water when its time to spawn. Crappie do not semi-hibernate during winter which means you can fish them any time of the year if you know where to find them. You will appreciate this when you try them if you have not yet. They are excellent table fare with being slightly sweet and extremely clean tasting.
What Kind of Bait For Crappie?
Your best bet for catching crappie is going to be live bait such as minnows, but luckily they are not the only option for success. Soft plastics, crank baits, small jigs, crickets and grass shrimp can all be effective as well. It is a great idea to stick with anything that resembles what they would normally eat.
The way the water looks can also affect which bait will be more successful on any given day or location. It is most effective to have natural colors in clear water and brighter colors during sunny days. Bright colors that reflect light can also be useful in darker water to get their attention.
- Vertical jigging or dipping: When crappie head into shallow water when its time to spawn, cast the line past the brush piles and slowly pull in. If this doesn't work, you will want to dip closest to the bank and move outward. You can do this by holding your rod in one and and pulling the line with the other. You will want a strong pole and heavy braided line because one the crappie bites it can be a fight to get it out of the cover. While its an older method than your modern day rod and reels, cane poles are still one of the easiest and cheapest ways to drop bait.
- Spider Rigging: Another successful technique to get crappie out of cover. In order to do this, troll with multiple rods from rod holders which can be done bank fishing or from a boat. Tie two live minnows or jigs from each line at different intervals above a heavy sinker.
- Bobber: This method enables you to control the exact depth and speed of your bait. Have your bobber a foot or two above a minnow. If you do this without weight, the live bait will be able to swim freely and attract crappie to its natural movements. When they are deeper in the water, you can attach large bb split shots to be able to drop the minnow to depth of fish.
Crappie Fishing Tips:
- While these fish are generally 3-6 feet below the surface or deeper during the peak of summer, it can be extremely helpful to use a fish finder to narrow this distance to find crappie.
- A loop knot will allow the jig to move up and down more naturally which looks more appealing.
- Crappies are known for having soft lips which can easily tear if there is too much slack in the line.
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