Scaled-Down Bait Choices for Finicky Crappie

Scaled-Down Bait Choices for Finicky Crappie

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

Here are some of the techniques used by the pros.

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

Recommended for You

Trout & Salmon

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

David Paul Williams

Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or...

Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

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.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Bass

7 Best Bets For New Jersey Largemouth Bass

October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll...

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.

See More Stories

More Fishing How-To

Walleye

Match Sonar Specifics To Presentation Speed

Joel Nelson - June 28, 2019

Clues to the best presentations for walleyes often stare anglers in the face. Interpret what...

Other Freshwater

Killer Tips for Catching Pike with Dead Baits

Mike Gnatkowski

Dead baits under a float provide an easy meal for early-spring northern pike.

Bass

Topwater Lures, Tactics for Summer Bass

Ronnie Garrison - June 24, 2019

Here's how you choose the best topwater baits and where, when and how to fish them.

See More Fishing How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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