Scaled-Down Bait Choices for Finicky Crappie

Here are some of the techniques used by the pros.

Scaled-Down Bait Choices for Finicky Crappie

Crappie pro Terry Blankenship with a slab caught at Toledo Bend. (Photo by Scott Bernarde)

Crappie anglers use some small lures and line to catch their favorite fish, but there are times when they have to use even smaller stuff to coax bites.

I have faced this situation on my home lake where the water is so clear that I actually sight-fish for spawning crappie.

The fish tend to ignore standard size tubes and grubs as the fishing pressure builds in the spring, but I can still catch these bedding fish by scaling down to 1-inch Southern Pro Tackle Lit’l Hustler Crappie Tubes or Bobby Garland Crappie Baits 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’R lures attached to 1/48- or 1/64-ounce jigs and tied on 2-pound-test line.

I use the same lures for catching crappie at night under a light during the summer. The micro-sized lures work best because they are the same size as the minnows hanging around the light.



Three veteran crappie anglers who also use tiny baits to catch crappie when conditions are tough or when they want to match the size of the forage are Gary Rowe, Terry Blankenship and Brad Chappell.

When fishing 10 feet deep or deeper, Rowe rigs a Bobby Garland Itty Bit Swim’R or Itty Bit Slab Slay’R on a 1/48-ounce or 1/64-ounce jighead and crimps a 1/16-ounce split shot above the lure to give it added weight.

The post-spawn in the spring is Rowe’s favorite time to throw a tiny jig. He favors a large bait during the spawn when crappie are more aggressive and attack bigger lures, but he scales down when the bite gets tougher during the post-spawn.


Crappie Fishing with Brad Chappell

A micro bait is most productive for Blankenship after a shad hatch when the baitfish are about an inch long. Blankenship uses Itty Bit baits and adds weight to his 1/48-ounce jighead to fish deeper water by crimping a split shot about 1 foot below the lure or uses a double rig with a 1/16-ounce jig and a 2- or 2 1/2-inch soft plastic bait tied about 1 foot below the Itty Bit.

Downsizing to catch more crappie pays off for Brad Chappell during guide trips when crappie are transitioning from summer to fall.

The guide usually spider rigs with minnows using a 1-ounce sinker between two baits. When he notices his minnows are larger than the forage he is seeing, Chappell replaces the minnows with Itty Bit Swim’Rs and Slab Slay’Rs attached to 1/64-ounce jigs and applies some fish attractant to add scent to the soft plastic lures.


Best Fishing Tips Ever-Terry Blankenship

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

Trending Articles

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing How-To

Dr. Todd Kuhn discusses best practices on how to select and use soft-plastic baits for increased bass fishing success in this debut video of Beyond the Bait, Powered by Streamlight. Beyond the Bait

How to Select and Use Soft Plastics for Bass

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 11, 2020

Dr. Todd Kuhn discusses best practices on how to select and use soft-plastic baits for...

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn discusses why compact soft plastics are great options for bass in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight. Beyond the Bait

Why Tube & Creature Baits Are Bass Magnets

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 18, 2020

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn discusses why compact soft plastics are great options for bass in this...

Often reserved for fishing heavy cover in summer, a frog can be just as effective during the spawn. Bass

Frogs for Spawning Bass?

Dan O'Sullivan - April 02, 2020

Often reserved for fishing heavy cover in summer, a frog can be just as effective during the...

Todd A. Kuhn says hook geometry makes a huge difference in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight. Beyond the Bait

Hook Selection for Soft-Plastic Bass Lures

Game & Fish Digital Staff - March 17, 2020

Todd A. Kuhn says hook geometry makes a huge difference in this episode of Beyond the Bait...

See More Fishing How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.