Flies and Roadrunner jigs were my most productive lures during my early years of crappie fishing. However, my selection of crappie lures has increased throughout the years as lure manufacturers continued to offer a variety of soft plastic baits for panfish. Some of the hottest soft plastic styles of crappie lures available today are double-tail grubs, minnow or shad imitators, twitch baits, and grubs.
Here’s a look at five Karl’s Amazing Baits for crappie and how you can use these lures to catch big slabs.
This is my favorite style of soft plastic baits for catching crappie in the winter when the fish are sluggish. Attached to a 1/16-ounce jighead, this lure can be fished ultra-slow because it doesn’t require much movement to make the thin twin tails quiver. I like to fish it vertically over deep brush piles and just let the movement of my boat create enough action on the lure to trigger bites from inactive crappie. The lure’s ribbed body is also ideal for holding scent gel in its ribs.
This is the soft plastic style I rely on for most of my crappie fishing tactics. The lure’s fluke-like design perfectly imitates the body of a minnow or young shad and its thin tail creates a subtle darting action similar to a fleeing baitfish. I can fish this lure vertically or horizontally for crappie suspended over brush piles and I frequently fish it 1 to 2 feet under a bobber to catch spawning crappie in the shallows. The lure’s subtle action and small profile make it ideal for tricking wary crappie in clear water.
This miniature jerkbait features a classic minnow profile big crappie find irresistible. The lure’s single slender tail delivers a tantalizing quiver and shake with a twitch of the rod. I like to throw this lure on windy days when crappie are chasing shad along wind-blown rocky banks. It is also a good choice for fishing under a bobber with a twitch-and-pause retrieve.
I rely on this grub for targeting aggressive crappie in dirty water. A heavier jighead such as a 1/8-ounce model will cause the lure to fall faster and generate the optimum action from its twin tails. I either cast this lure to brush piles and swim it over the cover or I pitch it into the brush and let it fall straight down to trigger strikes from crappie holding tight to the cover.
The kicking action of this 2-inch swimbait makes it the perfect choice for catching big crappie at various depths. When crappie are suspended high in the water column, I combine the swimbait with a 1/16-ounce darter jighead so the lure will fall slower and swim longer in the fish’s strike zone. I switch to a 1/8-ounce darter jighead for swimming the lure deeper in the water column. The paddletail provides plenty of kick so you can retrieve this lure at a slow, steady pace to trigger strikes from slab crappie.
Feature image credit: David Yang