How To Trigger Instant Crappie Bites
With 4 Jig Styles
So, minnows are the best all-around crappie bait, year round. But there are situations where jigs will perform better, and give you a serious advantage.
Here are the 4 styles of crappie jigs that work best:
1. Jigs with feathers or bucktail attached.
2. Jigs with plastic bodies attached to the hook.
3. Jigs that are placed inside plastic bodies.
4. Horse-Head jigs w/ spinners.
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So, in that first category, is the simple Marabou jig. One of the most effective, long-lived jigs ever made for crappie.
My guess is, this jig is responsible for more crappie catches than any other...hands down. What is it?
It's a very simply colored jig (marabou) that is ball-headed and sometimes has a bucktail and cherill attached to it's collar.
The best sizes are typically 1/16 oz. and 1/32 oz. You can fish the marabou jig at any depth...by itself or on a double rigging... or under a bobber.
For many, it produce crappie when nothing else seems to trigger a bite.
Even better, they are cheap...and you can even make them yourself. If you fish for crappie, you should always have a selection on hand...white, chartreuse, and yellow.
Next up are ball or bullet head jig heads. Standard jig heads with a curly tail (plastic), minnow-like body slid onto the hook up to the collar.
The cool thing about these is, you can change the body on the fly quickly and easily for a different look. You don't even have to remove the jighead...just slide the body off, and the new one on.
Fish these just like you do the marabou jigs.
The best performing jig of this type is called the "Sassy Shad", and there's another called the "Sassy Grub". Stil to yellow, white, and chartreuse. (Are you noticing a color trend yet? I hope so... )
The 3rd type of jig, where the jig head is placed inside the plastic body, is relatively new. It was developed 30 years ago, and gives a life-like look and feel to it. It actually challenged the marabou for the industry standard.
These work best with sluggish crappie...any time you're having a hard time getting bites. Fish these in any depth of water, singly, on a double rig, or under a float. For crappie, you want to go with the 1 1/2 to 2 inch sizes. Colors? You guessed it. White, yellow, chartreuse. The most popular brand is "Gitz-It".
Finally, the horse-head jigs. They've got noses that bend down, which makes them look like...well, you guessed it... "horse heads".
This creates a wiggle movement that can stimulate the crappie bite in different situations.
Typically the body of the horse-head is cherille or marabou...and many use plastic bodies.
These are great choices when crappie are holding deep because they are usually quite a bit heavier than the other jigs we've discussed here.
Sometimes you can add a small spinner on them in order to put forth a little more action and flash.
Fish the horse-heads by themselves...not double rigged, and you'll fish them "retrieval style"...but slowly.
I wouldn't recommend using this for crappie that are sluggish and suspended.
Crappie Jigging Techniques
1. Vertical jigging. This is the act of just dropping a jig down to the crappie holding depth, and gently working it up and down, slowly, and periodically.
This is the beset way to fish thick brush, fallen trees, or dense structure. This should be your "go to" method. I always start with vertical jigging.
2. Bobber rig. This is when you rig one or two jigs under a slip bobber. Then just cast it out to crappie spots, and bring it in slowly, jerking occassionally. You can also fish them in current by casting upstream, and drifting them down into crappie holes.
3. Simple cast and retrieve. This is experiemental...for fast fishing with spinner baits.
In the end, it's all about trying to match your technique to the current conditions and crappie moods.
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