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If you plan on being successful with your crappie fishing endeavors, aside from having the right gear you need to have the right bait.
So, what bait do you use to catch crappie? well the short answer is live bait, jigs, spinner bait, and grub baits work really well. Live baits work best in our opinion but all of these baits are all well proven to be effective. here is a detailed rundown of each bait that we consider to the best.
1. Live Bait
Hands down, one of the best baits to be using to catch crappie is live bait. This is actually true when it comes to most fish. Artificial baits do their best to imitate live foods which fish like to eat, but they never get anywhere close to the real thing. Sometimes there is just nothing better than live bait.
Minnows Are Great!
To catch crappies, the best way to go is with live minnows, but they also like to eat worms (you can make your own worm farm), large insects, and small crustaceans too. Any of these things will work just fine, but minnows are generally regarded as the best option here.
If you really want to be successful, we would try using some kind of jig in combination with live minnow bait. This will maximize your chances of catching crappie fish. The good thing about using live bait is that you can use pretty much any type of line, hook, and reel with them, as live bait tends to be quite versatile.
However, we personally would recommend going with a lighter line that is easy to tie, as well as a medium rod.
Another great type of bait to use for crappie fishing is the jig. Jigs have been around for a very long time now and they are some of the most common, proved, and most used fishing baits out there. Tons of different fish will respond to jig baits and this includes the crappie.
Jigs are easy to use and work well with a fairly flexible rod, one that has fast action for precise control. Jigging does require a bit of skill and quick movements, but it works well to catch crappies. Do remember to stick with fairly small jigs, as crappies are also fairly small and will not go for something that is way too big.
Jigs are very bright and colorful, and many of them look like real fish, so that always helps. Getting a jig that resembles a minnow is definitely a good way to go here. If you want to up your game a little bit, a skirted jig is also a good option to go with. Just be sure to choose a skirted jig that resembles a prey fish which crappies are known to eat, ones such as minnows.
Skirted jigs are a little harder to use, but they do attract a whole lot of attention from crappies and other fish too more so than normal jigs. If you want to make things easier yet, using a jig in combination with live minnow bait should increase your chances of making a catch.
3. Spinner Bait
Yet another prime crappie fishing bait to go with is the spinner. Spinner baits have also been used for quite some time now and they definitely prove to be quite effective for crappie fishing. Spinner baits kind of look like skirted jigs, which is true for the part with the hook, but they also have something added to them which jigs do not.
Spinner baits feature a silver, gold, or other colored pendant which spins in the water as you reel the bait in. These things are always very shiny and they work well to create a huge visual effect when they spin due to being reeled in. They do a great job at reflecting light.
Now, if you are fishing on a dark day, a spinner might not be the best as it does rely on light a whole lot, but on bright days it certainly works fine. Spinner baits do not need to move all that fast, so you are good with a medium rod here. Once again, throwing a live minnow into the equation might go a long way in attracting more attention from crappies.
4. Grub Baits
Yet another great bait option for crappie fishing is the grub bait. Grub baits are more or less just jigs, but instead of a normal hook or a fish-like bait, it looks like a grub. If you are not aware, grubs are just fat little insects that crappies love to eat. Crappies love eating grubs and they will do so all day long if they can.
Grubs work really well to catch these fish and crappies will go for pretty much any kind of grub and any color too, which makes life a bit easier when selecting the bait you want to use.
Of course, you can go with a good old hook and real grubs, but that can be a bit of a pain in the neck. Using artificial grubs is much easier, probably cheaper, and the selection of colors is great too. The neat part about grub baits is that you can put them on a normal hook, on a jig, or on a spinner too. Therefore, if you want to see success when crappie fishing, you might want to try using a grub in combination with a spinner or jig.
In terms of colors, there are some tips that you want to follow here in relation to grubs. If you are fishing in clear waters, using a grub that is naturally colored will work the best. If you are fishing on a dark day, using a bright grub color so the crappies can see the grubs is ideal. If you are crappie fishing on a sunny day, using pretty much any color will do just fine.
Related: Ideal hooks and rigs to use for Crappie.
Some Other Crappie Fishing Tips
Just to give you the best chances of success, let’s talk about some other crappie fishing tips that can come in quite handy.
- Crappie usually reside at depths between 3 and 6 feet below the water’s surface. Therefore, you want to make sure that all your gear is ideal for fishing at this depth.
- Do not reel the bait in too fast. Crappie are not very fast moving and will most likely either lose interest or be unable to keep up with a bait that is moving too fast. A slow and steady retrieval is the way to go here.
- Crappie have pretty soft lips, which means that if the line is not always very tight, they will most likely slip off and break free of it. Thankfully, crappie do put up quite a fight, so leaving too much slack is not usually an option either way.
- When using a jig to fish for crappie, the best knot to use is a loop knot. This will allow for good maneuverability and will allow the jig to move freely in order to attract the attention of nearby crappie.
- Floats and Bobbers can also come in handy sometimes, more on those here.
At the end of the day, fishing for crappie is one of the easier kinds of fish to go for. You don’t need overly specialized gear, they are plentiful if you go to the right place, and there are lots of different baits that work for them. A jig or spinner, in combination with grub bait or live bait is a good way to go if you want to catch a lot of crappie with minimal effort.