Best Crappie Fishing Bait
I was asked by a friend the other day what i considered to be the best bait or lure for crappie fishing. I had to think about my answer before I could give him a response. This is what I told him. What I am going to discuss next in what I have found to be most effective for me on the Southern lakes where I fish.
Crappies feed on small shad and the fry of other lake fish. So of course minnows in a prime crappie bait. Many people do not consider anything other than minnows when fishing for crappie. So of course the first thing that must be considered when discussing bait for crappie is the local minnow. You may purchase minnows from local bait shops or from the local marina on the lake or river where you are going to fish. You may also decide to use a cast net or minnow trap to catch local minnows yourself.
However there are often debates about which method of minnow fishing works best for catching crappie. Do you wish to use live minnows on a thin hook, live minnows tipped on a jig or a synthetic minnow that mimics live minnow action? Or do you want to forget about minnows and use jigs to fish for crappie? The following are some suggestions for using each of these methods. You will need to experiment, using trial and error testing, to determine which method you favorite for chasing crappie.
There are literally thousands of styles and colors available. Jigs come with bodies of rubber, plastic, marabou, hair, rubber bands, floss, tinsel, chenille, and innumerable other materials. There are jigs with curly tails, ripple tails, broad tails and triple tails; jigs with lead heads, floating heads, diving heads and standing heads; jigs with spinners and without spinners; weedless jigs and those that aren’t; and all this in the colors of the rainbow and every combination imaginable.
Crappie have tender mouths so you must be careful with hook set when catching them. However their mouths are fairly large so you can use the larger jigs on them during the warmer months of the year when they are more active. During the summer months I start with 1/4 ounce jig heads as they fall through the water faster. I will go to 1/8 ounce jig heads if the action is slow. During periods when the crappie are not actively feeding I will go to a 1/16 ounce or 1/32 ounce jig head as they fell slower through the water and may induce sluggish crappie to strike. The heavy jig heads also work well when the fish is suspended in deeper water, as again it will get the bait down to the crappie faster.
The color of the jig body is sometimes subject to heated debate. You can experiment to find the color that you feel works best for you. My favorite colors are some shade of chartreuse, black and white combination. Different colors will work at different times. I have friends with trays of different colored jigs. But I find the combinations I described will work for me so I don’t bother with a large variety of colors. But you should try different ones to find what works for you. Some people use a artificial minnow with a bare jig head. The weight of the jig head gets the artificial minnow to the level of the crappie and makes it easy to impart movement to the artificial minnow.
Other people will fish a live minnow with a bare jig head. Still others will add a live minnow or a piece of dead minnow to a jig body to entice the fish to strike the jig body. For those who will only fish with jigs, adding part of a minnow or a live minnow to the jig can be effective when the crappie simply will not hit the various types of jigs.
While many people like jigs for their ease of use, live minnows are probably the most effective method of fishing for crappie. It ia also probably the best known and most used method of fishing for crappie. There are several methods for fishing live minnows when fishing for crappie. One method is to use a regular bobber or a slip bobber. This is reliable since you set the float(bobber) so that the minnow will be suspend just above the feeding crappie. Another popular method is to use slender wire hooks tied directly to the fishing line, with the hook placed through the minnow body in some manner. Some use pre-tied rigs with two hooks that they buy or make to use with this type of crappie fishing.
Some do not like to use live minnows as they can sometimes be hard to find or to keep alive when you have them. So they like to use artificial minnows that are generally made from a soft rubber or gel. Most use bare jig heads with these artificial minnows. Those who use artificial minnows claim they will outperform live minnows for catching crappies. However I have found that a live minnow will outperform an artificial minnow when fished with a bare hook. However artificial are just as effective as live minnows if you are using jigs for your hooks. Artificial minnows are very convenient to use so they are popular with those who like jigs. They have a place in any tackle box that is designed for crappie fishing.
As you can see there are three major types of bait/tackle used for crappie fishing by the majority of fisherman. However small lures similar to bass lures are starting to become popular, especially with those who also fish for bass. The only way to find out what type of bait/lure best serves your crappie fishing needs is to experiment with the various ones to see which you have the most fun using and find to be the most effective for you. However the minnow will probably always be the king of crappie bait, based on the number of people who use it to catch crappie. And it only makes sense the minnow should be the number one crappie fishing bait, since crappie in the wild feed on shad and the small fry of other fish.