Crappies are highly sought after and can be found any season, any day, any time. In addition to their great taste, they’re popular for the variety of methods they can be caught. Generally, crappies favor deeper waters of about 10-15 feet deep, unless it’s spawning season. Deeper waters maintain more consistent temperatures, which translates to more stable living conditions. Like most fish, Crappies also spend most of their time under structures such as rock piles, dock pilings, fallen sunken trees and weed beds. Here are a few crappie fishing tips that can come in handy.
Crappie Fishing Rods
When it comes to crappie fishing, fancy equipment is not necessary as just about any type of fishing rod will do. However, the cane pole and the spinning rod are considered to be very effective. Traditional cane poles are simple, with just a rod and a line holder to wrap the fishing line around. If you like the idea of the classic cane pole, but with the advantages of modern technology, a fiberglass or graphite pole can be an excellent choice.
For other types of fishing techniques besides vertical jigging, ultralight spinning rods are a better choice. They come in different lengths to suit different fishing methods and tactics.
Related: Best Spinning Rods Review
Crappie Fishing Reels
When choosing the perfect reel for crappie fishing, there are plenty of variables you can consider. Things like body material, gear ratio, ball bearing count, drag system and line weight/capacity are all characteristics of any fishing reel. However, you don’t have to look at all the characteristics to find a great reel. The most critical factor to bear in mind is the overall size, which boils down to the line weight/capacity.
Most often, a small reel that can handle about 4-6 lb. should work. When trolling or drag-lining with heavier weight lines, you’ll want to use a larger reel.
Related: Best spinning Reels Review
Crappie Fishing Lures
Crappies can be caught using both artificial lures and live bait. Both methods are highly effective. Since crappies have keen eyesight, opt for lure colors that go with the surrounding. On bright sunny days, you can go for pretty much any color you want, but bright colors will do you more justice. At night, try dark blue and black colors. In clear waters, go for lures close to the typical color of crappie food such as gray or silver.
Choosing baits for crappie is fairly easy. Crappies feed on worms, minnows and just about any insect. Crappie fishing lures can work wonders for your fishing experience, but don’t underestimate fishing with live bait either. The real-life movement can appear extremely attractive to crappie, and any other type of fish. Live bait is also effective when fishing in dense vegetation, where crappie like to hang out.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways to hook a crappie as there’s no wrong way to do it. Try out different methods and you’ll soon find your favorite way to catch.
Crappie Fishing Rigs and Jig
A great crappie fishing rig is to use a live minnow, a mall split shot, a hook and a slip bobber. The slip bobber gives you the freedom to adjust for depth without compromising on casting ability. You can hook the minnow behind the dorsal fin or through both lips.
The most popular and effective lures used for crappie fishing are jigs. Jigs are highly adaptable, versatile and crappie are always eager to grab them when fished properly.
Overall, your best bet for finding crappie and catching them effectively all year long is to study their behavior and patterns throughout the year. During winter, for example, when fish are spawning, crappie are close to the shore in shallow water. You’ll have to adapt and change your tactics just as crappie change their behavior.
A basic understanding of crappie habitats will also go a long way in your fishing expeditions. You will rarely go wrong if you choose to go crappie fishing in large ponds or in shallow parts of lakes with mud and sand at the bottom. Lakes are especially great because they have a broader selection of vegetation and wildlife, providing food and coverage. Nonetheless, any water with inlets, holes, points, dams, sunken islands, reeds, weeds and submerged objects is prime real estate for the crappie.