How to Catch Crappie? Tips and Techniques

Crappie is one of the delicious freshwater fish with flaky white meat you can use for various recipes across the continent. However, catching crappie is never easy as the fish fight hard, giving anglers a test of time in the water. So, how to Catch Crappie? You need the best tips and techniques to corner them. Use your favorite method and the best baits like minnows or jigs to trick this fish in the right spot where they hide.

How to Catch Crappie

So, are you planning for a crappie fishing trip and don’t know how to go about it? This guide has your back as we’ll show you the best methods to use when fishing for crappie and the tips and techniques to employ to be successful.

How to Catch Crappie

Fishing crappie may look easy since there are several ways to do it. But this may never be true if you expect to catch more crappies as you’ll experience various challenges while out in the water. So, you need to learn how to catch crappie by using the best methods and employing the best techniques. Hereis how to catch crappie.

1. Employ the Right Methods

  • Minnow Rigging

Minnow rigging is one of the best, easiest, and highly effective methods to catch crappie that will make your moments in the water worthy. You can use minnows without the weight if you want them to swim freely on top of the water.

Minnow Rigging Crappie

But you can also add a split shot to the minnow to have it go deeper up to a certain depth to prevent it from staying up in the cover. If you opt for this method, ensure you’ve got a long fishing rod of about 7-12 feet for casting and flipping.

  • Spider Rigging

Another method you can use for catching crappie is spider rigging. It enables you to troll minnows or jigs with many rods of between 14 and 16 inches while at the front of the boat. However, you’ll need a rod holder when using this method to allow you to have hold of the several long poles used.

Spider Rigging Crappie

Most anglers prefer a spider rigging setup of two minnows and two jigs on 1 or 2 hooks tied at varying lengths on top of the heavy sinker. Depending on the current or wind level, you can use a ½ an ounce sinker or a 1-ounce sinker.

  • Jig Fishing

You can also use jigs for fishing crappie. This method will save your back in different situations after perfecting the art. Consider casting, then vertically present the jig to crappie when fishing in the lake. However, you need to cast past the target if the crappies are more aggressive and next to the brush piles. After that, retrieve a 1/16-ounce jig with a soft plastic body above the brush pile.

Alternatively, you can vertically jig when you’re directly above the brush on a boat. Drop the jig into the cover and allow it to sit on the strike zone until crappie bites.

When jigging, combine the jig with other fishing tackle like a 6 ½ feet rod and have 4-6 pounds of fluorocarbon line. Then ensure you select the right jig color according to the water conditions. If possible, have many jigs in different colors to allow you to have a variety. Have white, black, yellow, and red jigs for convenience.

Jig Fishing

  • Crankbaits Method

 If you intend to catch crappie suspended on open water, it’s best to use the crankbaits method. When you opt for this method, also incorporate a fish finder to help you locate a school of crappie. It’s advisable to use a 2-inch medium diving crankbait for trolling the school of crappie.

If you want the crankbait to sink 10 or 12 feet deep, go for a fluorocarbon line weighing 4-6 pounds. But you can use a single rod or have several rods for trolling.

2. Identify The Right Fishing Spot

You then should identify where crappie hides to catch them with ease. Crappies love woody or deep structures where they feel protected. So, you can go looking for them in the weed beds or standing trees like cypress. But the bigger crappies hide in shallow waters next to the channel edges or in the lake humps.

3. Catch Crappie

Finally, you can use your favorite technique and start fishing. You will have a lot of fun catching this fish using different skills. There’s also no age limit so you can carry your young ones and teach them how to catch this special delicacy.

Crappie Fishing Tips and Techniques

If you want to be having more catch after every trip from the water, employ the following tips and techniques while fishing for crappie;

Use Marabou Jigs on Areas with Trees and Stumps

Crappie love staying in areas with a cover or vertical structure. So, if you want to fish them out, locate these areas and cast your jig. Take your time and look for stumps and submerged trees, and you’ll find a school of crappie.

This trick also works when the weather is foul, especially in spring. When fishing for crappie in this area, use a 1/8 jig with a red and white color combination. But you can also use black or chartreuse. When you use this technique, you’ll avoid spooking the fish. But use a long rod and be patient and enough line.

Opt For Slip Floats When Fishing Near Stumps or Vertical Cover

Another better trick to catch crappie in large numbers is to use slip floats near the stumps or pilings and vertical cover. When using the slip floats, combine it with minnow or jig below it to boost the weight while casting.

Select the right slip float that’s easy to use and allows you to adjust the different depths. But ensure the hook’s size and that of the minnow match. You can also replace live minnows with soft baits.

Go For Monofilament Instead of Fluorocarbon

To save some money, avoid using fluorocarbon fishing line, which is much more expensive. Instead, opt for monofilament. This fishing line best suits crappies as it stretches, preventing them from escaping. Remember, a crappie’s mouth is much bigger and expands than the other panfish. But their mouth tissues are thin, delicate, and can tear if you use a fishing line that can’t stretch and is rigid.

Also, the monofilament line will absorb shock as the crappie tries to unhook. It’s advisable to use this line, especially if you’ve received bites with no catch.

Look For the Best Jig Design

You need the right jig design to avoid frustrations while fishing. A more streamlined soft bait will give you challenges as it can fall faster through the water column. Use a jig with a bigger surface area and a long tail that will catch more water, slowing its sinking rate. If the lure falls slowly, it will give crappie more chances to strike, increasing your catch.

Smaller Jig and Slow Fall Works Wonders

Another trick you should employ when fishing for crappie is using a small jig that’s not too heavy. Also, don’t be in a rush to have your jig reach the bottom as many anglers do by using heavy jigs and fluorocarbon.

Even though it’s true that a heavy jig will sink faster, it will not help you catch crappie. This is because crappies are lazy fish that won’t bother about a jig that sinks past them at high speed. It’s advisable to use a smaller jig that’s lightweight to attract crappie’s attention. A 1/32- or 1/16-ounce jig head is a perfect choice. But if it’s windy, you can increase the size a bit. A lighter small jig will sink slowly, capturing more fish.

Carry The Right Fishing Tackle

After identifying the best method for fishing crappie, you should gather all your fishing tackle and be ready to set out. You’ll need 14–16-foot trolling rods, 9–10-foot jig poles, and a fishing line, which will depend on the water you’re going to fish at.

But don’t forget to include baits you’ll use to lure crappie. Depending on your taste, you can have a live minnow, crankbaits or plastic jigs.

Tie The Fishing Knot the Right Way

While fishing for crappie, ensure you tie the knot the right way. Tie a loop knot on the jig to allow it to move freely on the water. The knot will also enable crappie to move smoothly and attract it if it’s vertically done to the jig.

Fish In the Right Water Depth

Crappies are mostly found 3 or 6 feet deep in the water. If you want to catch them easily, cast targeting that depth. But this position changes according to the season. For example, in summer, crappie hides deeper in the water and only comes to the surface in the morning or evening.

Be Patient

You will experience challenges fishing for crappie, but you’ve got to be patient to succeed. Crappie will try to unhook from the jig, which can be frustrating, especially if you’re slow. Avoid removing the cast too fast. Also, if you don’t feel any bite but know fish is in that area, try practicing some patience.

Maintain The Fishing Line Tight

A crappie’s mouth is very soft and can tear if you tighten the line. Let the line be tight so that as the fish shakes trying to escape, they don’t get any injury. Keeping the line tight will also help you when crappie wants to unhook as it will find it hard to do so.

Have A Topographic Map

Since crappie hides deep in the water, a topographical map will help you understand the water you’re fishing in. use it to show you the depths of different spots you intend to fish in before time. A good map should also have underwater structures like a fish bed where crappie hides. Get such maps online to have an easy time on the water.

Incorporate The Best Live Bait Rig

You also have to use the best bait rigs when fishing for crappie. Go for a live minnow, slip bobber, or split shot. If you want an adjustable live bait, buy the slip bobber. It will help you cast in any depth, not limiting your choices. You can hook a minnow on the lips or behind the dorsal fin.

When Is the Right Time to Catch Crappie?

You can catch crappie any time of the year. However, there are locations in the water you should target, depending on the season.

Fishing During Pre-Spawn

During the pre-spawn period, crappie migrate from deep water along the shorelines or shallow water. This is usually in early spring. You will find crappie on the vegetation and structures along the shores. Target between 8 and 10 feet during this season as that’s where crappie stay. If you can make a crappie bed using tree stumps, the better, as it will attract the fish and make them feel safer.

Crappie Fishing During Spawning Season

Additionally, you can fish for crappie during the spawning season. During this time, crappie is about 2 to 3 feet underwater. To catch them easily, consider using vertical jigging. Connect the jig to the bobber to help you catch the fish in such shallow waters. Also, ensure the jig stays near the surface, closer to the crappie, to trick it into biting.

Make a loop knot and attach it the right way to the jig. The knot will allow the jig to move naturally if you use it vertically, not scaring away the fish.

Other Seasons

You will have challenges fishing crappie during the rest of the year when they’re on the deep end. In such a case, you should employ the best techniques to catch crappie and be patient with the bait. Consider net fishing in winter and incorporate lights to attract crappie. Also, a fish finder will come in handy during this time as you’ll be able to locate fish in deep waters.

Bottom Line

You need the best crappie fishing tips and techniques to have a bumper catch. But these will only be helpful after using the right method to catch crappie. So, learn the tricks and be ahead of other anglers, as this guide has elaborated.

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