Crappie is one of the popular gamefish that most anglers target on the water. This fish is very delicious; hence, making it have a high market value. However, to catch crappie and take it home, you need to know the basics and tips to make this successful. Since there are several ways of catching crappie, you need to work with one that will make your work easier while still ensuring enough catch.
The best way to fish for crappie is to use a jig. This common way will enable you to fish in different situations without major challenges on the water. So, if you intend to go crappie fishing, this guide elaborates the best way to jig for crappie and everything you need to know.
Crappie Jig Basics
Before we delve much into this topic, it’s ideal to understand more about jigging for crappie. A jig is a type of lure with two parts: the head and the body. The head of the jig is the hook that contains the shaped, weighty part with an offset eye. The jig’s head comes in various styles and shapes, with some being plain while others are painted. You can use the plain or painted head, depending on your preference.
The other part is the body which is usually attached to the head. Since the head is compatible with almost everything, you can attach a soft bait like a curly-tailed grub. This makes jigs multipurpose/ versatile as they’re blank slates you can rig anything on them.
But it’s best to note that some jigs have blades/spinners connected to the head to enable them to move like crankbaits. The blades also vibrate and flash, attracting the fish’s attention.
The Best Way to Jig for Crappie for Beginners
Coming out of the water with enough crappies is a joyous and satisfying experience. However, you should know the best way to jig for crappie to achieve this. You can do this after learning the right techniques that will see you prosper.
Use the below techniques to jig for crappie;
Use this trick when you’re directly on top of the school of crappie. It best works if you’re fishing from ice, dock, or boat. You can also introduce fish finders to help scan through the bottom of the lake and locate where schools of crappie are.
After that, you should strategically position the boat, then drop your jig directly down where crappie will come looking for food. Ensure the jig stays above them so that they can bite it as they eat. Raise and lower the fishing rod to create a ‘yo-yo’ effect on the jig.
Vertical jigging best works when you don’t know the exact position the crappie is staging. Crappie is likely to bite the jig as it moves down towards the bottom.
Another way to succeed when using the vertical jigging technique is to place the jig where the crappie is. For instance, if you’re sure the crappie is 10 feet deep into the water, open the bail and release 10 feet of fishing line. After that, close the line and hold it well without moving the rod tip or bouncing it.
The jig will move under the water and, in some instances, do erratic actions that will scare crappie. This vertical stationary technique works best when you realize the fish is stubborn, but you’ve got to trick it out of the water. You will, however, practice patience as it will take some time.
Casting And Retrieve Technique
This is the most common way to jig crappie. All you need to do is cast the jig out and retrieve it after some time. It’s an ideal method of identifying where a crappie is hiding or how deep they are. If you want your jig to stay on top of the surface, reel fast. But if you reel slowly, it will sink deeper and be closer to the bottom.
After that, retrieve the jig at varying speeds to help you know where the fish is. When you notice a bite, continue casting and retrieving at the same speed and cadence. This is the best technique to use when fishing for crappie at the shoreline, from a dock or boat.
You can identify where the brush pile is, then cast the jig and retrieve it fast to have the fish swim on top of the brush pile. Alternatively, you can cast on both sides of the brush pile to have the jig parallel to the brush.
Note that if you opt for this trick, avoid being aggressive. Don’t move the lure up and down continuously, and let the water, wind, and currents do this for you. In the end, the jig movements will attract crappie prompting a bite.
There are times when you go to the water and realize that crappie is scattered all over. Don’t stop targeting them. Instead, trolling the jigs to capture their attention. This is an effective method for fishing in large water bodies where you move farther away looking for fish. Since there are several rigs and techniques for trolling jigs, you won’t have many challenges. Identify your favorite, like the spider rig set up to troll jigs. You can also troll with one or more rods.
If you’re trolling for crappie, use a jig head style with the right weight that will put the lure in the desired depth. Use a heavy jig when intending to capture deep lying fish. For example, if the crappie is 12 feet into the water and you’re trolling in an area that’s 15 feet deep, ensure the jig is heavy enough to sink up to 12 feet even while moving.
Note that it can be tricky identifying the right jig weight for trolling. So, take your time, learn how it works, and make errors to perfect the art. Also, when trolling for crappie, do it very slowly at a speed of .5-1mph. You can let the wind gently move the boat or use a trolling motor on low settings.
It’s advisable to troll for crappie in larger rivers, lakes, or reservoirs. Consider fishing at the coves, submerged timber, or over the channels when you go to these water bodies. If you notice a bite, circle back to that specific area and troll through it. After doing this, you’ll realize where the crappie is and how deep they’re hiding in the water.
What To Consider When Crappie Fishing
The Size of Jig to Use for Crappie Fishing
There are several sizes of jigs you can use for fishing crappie. You can use a jig weighing between 1/32 and 1/8-ounces whose jig heads are not heavy. So, you can settle for one within this range and enjoy fishing.
However, consider its weight before settling for the right size, which depends on the conditions and techniques you’ll use when jigging for crappie. For example, go for heavy jigs if you’re fishing in murky waters.
But you need to remember that a heavier jig will sink faster in deeper water than a lighter one. When fishing in windy water, you should also use a heavier jig, especially if you intend to cast on a long distance. When doing this, ensure you maintain a good feel as you cast the jig alone and keep the line tighter to avoid missing a strike. A lighter jig head won’t sense the structure better, and you’ll miss the target if it’s windy.
But when trolling or tightlining, a lightweight jig head will do as this adds additional weight. Use a smaller jig on clear water or fishing in a heavy vegetation area.
The Jig Styles for Crappie
There are four jig styles popular for crappie fishing. You can use any of the below jig styles when fishing;
This jig style has a fat body with a longer tail that wriggles in the water.
These are soft bullet-shaped cylinders with a fringe tail. But you can also find the strong tube with a grub style head plus a fringed tail.
These are hairy jigs with long skirts that are pre-tied and resemble a fly. They best work when you jig slowly, creating a lot of movement in the process.
You can also use minnow jigs that resemble a live minnow. The jig comes in various colors giving you several choices to choose from depending on the water conditions.
Color of Jig for Crappie
You need to use the right color of the jig to help capture crappie. Remember there are instances when this fish becomes choosy and selects certain colors it can bite. To avoid frustration while out fishing, consider the following conditions to help you settle for the right color;
The Water Color
The watercolor will affect the kind of jig used to attract crappies’ attention. For example, when fishing in clear water where crappies’ vision is good, use natural-colored jigs. The crappie won’t be able to spot such a jig, and it will bite it. But when on murky water, bright-colored jigs will help you attract a bite.
If you’re going to fish in deep water, you need to know that water absorbs light. So, the deeper the jig, the less visible the original color. When fishing in shallow water, it’s advisable to consider color much as the jigs become more visible. Since most people fish crappie in shallow waters, be keen on the color you use.
- A black jig is favorable for shallow waters with sufficient light. But it’s more visible in clear waters.
- Chartreuse; use this jig in clear or cloudy water as it’s highly visible and creates high contrast. It’s ideal for deep waters as you’ll be able to spot it down there.
- Red/purple/pink/white; combine them with other colors if you want to succeed when using any of these jigs. For example, combine red and white or black and white.
Tie A Jig Crappie Fishing
It’s best to know how to tie the jig correctly to use any of the above techniques successfully. First, ensure the jig hangs horizontally, even if you’re doing vertical jigging. Do this by tying a knot that you will use to attach the jig to the fishing line on the eye well.
Make any of the popular knot styles and have your jig hold in place. You can make a Palomar knot, Trilene knot, or simple loop knot and use it to attach your jig to the fishing line.
When making the knots, you’ve got to consider the kind of jig you’re using. Make a Trilene or loop knots for a single rig jig to enable the jig to move freely on the water without challenges.
But for a double jig rig, use Palomar knots which allows you to use two jig styles and colors to increase your chances of catching crappie.
Which Fishing Lines Best Works for Crappie Jigging?
A fishing line is a crucial component of the fishing tackle you should pack before setting out for the waters. It determines the trip’s success, and it’s important to select the right one when crappie fishing.
Before choosing the fishing line, though, it’s best to know the type of water you’re going to fish in. You can use the monofilament crappie fishing line, which is easy to cast, affordable, and resistant to abrasions. Alternatively, go for the fluorocarbon line, which is invisible in water but with good knot strength and is highly sensitive.
If you love fishing, it’s best to know different techniques will make your trips successful. This is not different when crappie fishing, a reason why you need to know the right jig to use. This is after considering the jig’s color, weight, and style, which is the popular method for catching crappie.
However, you will smile all the way home after employing the best way to jig for crappie and getting enough catch. So, learn every technique as this guide elaborates to allow you to handle any situation in the water while fishing for crappie.
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