Unusual Techniques For Catching Crappie With Topwater Lures And "Odd-Ball" Jigs
There are a few great ways to trigger bites from finicky crappie who just don't seem to want to bite... with lures.
Yes... I said lures. Here's a great one:
Tie a small jig about 18 inches behind a floating lure. I like to use Chugger's or Pop R's... in the smaller sizes of course.
Cast the whole thing out, and give the lure some action as you normally would. Just "pop" the lure in towards you, and the jig will mimiick the movements underwater. This gives the appearance of a smaller bait fish trying to attack another fish towards the surface.
Hold on tight, crappie will hit one or both of your baits quickly and visciously. When the lure disappears, give a quick jerk and you've got one. Colors should be yellow, white, and/or chartreuse.
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In the winter, when it gets cold, the key is to think small. Here's a great lure setup for vertical fishing that you can make at home, in a pinch.
STEP 1: Collect some size 22 midge hooks. These are used mainly for tieing flies. Also get an empty soda can. (or any aluminum can with a silver color.)
STEP 2: Clean the can, and especially wash the inside. Then let it dry. NOTE: do NOT use any sort of soap or detergent to clean the can. It will leave a spell that will turn the crappie off.)
STEP 3: Once your can is dry, punch a bunch of holes in the can with a hole puncher. (You may need to cut the hand in half first.) Then collect the silver "dots".
STEP 4: Next get some "brush on" super glue. Put one of your aluminum can "dots" on a table or something, colored side up. Hold a hook in your other hand and put a single drop of super glue in the middle of the aluminum dot.
STEP 5: Grab your hook near the bend and put the straight part of the hook across the center of the glue on your dot. Just hold it there for about 60 seconds to let the glue dry. You want the hook to stay in place with the point up.
STEP 6: Let the glue set for an hour or more. Next, use some needle nose plier to bend the aluminum dot over the straight "shank" of the hook so it makes a half circle over it. To crappie, under the watter, this will look like a "copepod", a major source of food for crappie in the cold.
STEP 7: Now, time to go fishin. Rig it to an ultralight setup over a a split shot or 2. Jig it up and down, gently. The hits will be light as crappie just barely "suck it in".
Now, for straight jiggin', here's an oldie but goodie.
Rig a simple marabou jig under a bobber. If the crappie are deep I always recommend using a slip bobber.
Use a 10 to 12 foot crappie rod and a decent spinning/spincast reel. Throw this setup into cover, around structure, all the usual places.
If you use this one with a live minnow, throw on a light split shot sinker and a European porcupine quill floats. There are really sensitive and they can detect the lightest little bites from picky crappie.
In the end, no technique, bait, or strategy is a substitute for knowing crappie tendancies, and how the act in a body of water. Do your homework. Study, experiment... and get out there and catch 'em!
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