Are you a newbie at jigging for crappie and wondering how to jig for crappie? The most common baits used by anglers to fish crappie are jigs and minnows. They are either used separately or together; it is all a matter of preference.
What is Jigging?
Jigging is the act of fishing using a lure referred to as a Jig. The jig is a soft plastic bait used to attract fish. It consists of a hook molded into a lead sinker and covered by the soft plastic.
Jigs are preferred to spinnerbaits as they create jerky, vertical motion whereas spinnerbaits only move through water horizontally. So, how do you fish for crappie with a crappie jig?
For any successful fishing expedition, you need to have the right combination of fishing gear to have the ultimate experience. The same principle applies to jigging for crappie.
Crappie is very aggressive during the spawn, and this is the best time to jig crappie and hang out in deeper water. In the pre and post-spawn season, crappie usually spends less time suspended out away from a structure.
The Ideal Gear Combination for Jigging Crappie
To be able to catch more crappie when you go out fishing; the following are some measures you can adopt to help improve your chances of striking a lot of crappies:
Having The Right Length of Rod
When fishing for crappie, it is recommended that you use a long pole/ rod of about 8- 12 feet. Long rods are useful as you try to determine the depth that you are fishing. It gives you control over the depth that you will be able to cast your fishing line.
A long rod will also give you a long swing where you can set your hook when a fish strikes. Longer rods have the advantage of giving you a better hook set than a shorter rod. You could give both a try before settling for one.
As for which type of reel to use with your rod, it is preferable to use a baitcaster reel. However, baitcaster reels require years of experience or rather practice, for you to work it out, just right.
Using a baitcaster reel, you will be able to let the line out by just clicking a button then clicking it back. It improves your depth control.
Color of the Jig
The color of the water you are fishing governs the feeding habits of crappie. They feed on what they see; and if they can’t see it, they won’t hit it. Fish see the same color differently in various light levels and water clarities.
For starters, you may slow-troll with different colors to be able to establish which color the crappie want that day and in those waters. You could start with a color that you most comfortable with as you refine it.
Most anglers prefer to use chartreuse colored jigs, say black and chartreuse or white and chartreuse. When you find the right color for the fish, keep the other colors nearby just in case the conditions change.
By contrasting the color of the jighead and jig, you will be creating more hues for the crappie to trigger on. Well, you are going for a reaction strike to a big and aggressive bait. For clear water, use clear jigs whereas dark jigs are suitable for dark and muddy water.
Type of Line
The fish usually don’t mind a thick line. A thick line helps to prevent a lot of line breaks. Preferably use a ten-pound test line. Your bait will fall a little bit slower if combined with the right weight of jighead.
Most anglers use 1/8 ounce head while others use a jighead of up to ¼ ounce. It is all a matter of what works best for you. It is preferable to use a head with a brighter color than that of the top of your bait.
Pro Tips for Successfully Jigging Crappie
Once you have the right gear combination for jigging crappie, then you are ready to go out in the water. How do you successfully jig for crappie, you may ask? You need to:
Know The Exact Location of Where the Crappie Is
The location is a key factor in getting numerous strikes if you are in for the big catch. There are various approaches that you can adopt to achieve this. Paying attention plays a significant role in this.
Look out for small details that indicate the presence of crappie. Try and figure out their patterns. Or simply, as you fellow anglers on the area where you can find crappie. It will be much easier and will take a shorter period.
Try to avoid the current any time you out fishing for crappie as they shut off in a current. Typically, crappie gets caught behind structure breaks; this is where you should be at, fishing.
Understand Your Depth
You need to be able to tell the difference between fishing a certain depth of water and catching fish at a particular depth. When you catch fish at a specific depth, it means that the fish were suspended, in the water, at that particular depth.
Most fish are suspended at an appropriate depth of water say 10-15 feet deep. If this is so in the water that you are in, then you will need to fish for a deeper depth than the 10-15 feet range.
Crappie sees bait in an upwards direction. Do not cast your jig below the fish as they won’t see it and in turn, you won’t get a bite.
How Do You Present Your Jig
Once you have the right location and depth for the crappie, drop the jig and tap it gently, down and up. It is meant to mimic a natural shad in the water. If you adopt a frantic movement, you may spook the fish.
Sometimes, you may need to drop the jig and hold it still for a couple of seconds. Try to understand which type of bait the crappie want for that day, e.g. a bait that’s moving away. These are the same simple tricks that you would use with other fish.
How to jig for crappie, can prove tricky for a newbie but you will improve on your techniques for jigging crappie by following the above-outlined tips. Having the ideal fishing gear combination is the first step towards successfully jigging for crappie.
Which combination of line and rod are you using? What color of jig does the crappie prefer on that day? Remember that the water color plays a significant role in this. Finding out the answer to these questions will help you get more crappie strikes and not crappy ones.
As for the optimal length of the rod to use, this is very flexible. You need to ensure that you are far enough from the crappie so that they will not get spooked by the noise from the trolling motor or of the boat.