Best Crappie Baits
Widely abundant across the United States, crappies are one of the most popular fish targeted by many anglers. They can be found in large schools, are relatively easy to catch, and make fantastic table fare. There are a countless number of different baits you can use to catch crappies, but the following list includes the best and most universal lures for targeting this America’s favorite panfish.
Hair jigs are one of the best crappie baits out there available for anglers. They continually produced numbers of big crappies all across the country. One benefit to using hair jigs is their effectiveness without having to use live bait. In fact, hair jigs give off more action and will produce more fish when they are not teamed with live bait. Marabou, synthetic, and bucktail hair jigs are all valuable tools to have in your arsenal because they mimic different types of bait and that can be crucial depending on the time of year.
VMC Dominator Marabou Hair Jig
During spring and early summer when crappies are keying in on bugs and other aquatic invertebrates, marabou hair jigs are top producers. Marabou jigs like the VMC Dominator marabou jig in a 1/16-ounce are deadly baits for big crappies, especially during bug hatches. They do a fantastic job imitating invertebrates and other forage that big crappies feed on throughout the spring and summer months. Available in black, white, and brown color options the VMC Dominator marabou jig works in all types of fishing environments for big crappies.
Big Bite Baits Lindner Panfish Special
Designed by longtime fishing legend Al Lindner and the Angling Edge Team, the new Big Bite Baits Lindner Panfish Special is locked and loaded for battle with big slab crappies. This panfish jig features a solid soft plastic body with a feathered tail that ebbs and flows with the slightest rod twitches or water currents. Outfitted with a #2 hook and dressed in the best crappie and panfish colors hand-selected by Al Lindner and the Angling Edge crew, the Big Bite Baits Lindner Panfish Special deserves a home in any crappie angler’s tacklebox.
Northland Gypsi Jig
The Northland Gypsi jig has been a staple for panfish anglers for years and for good reason. Available in a variety of bright, fish-attracting colors its simple yet sleek design tantalizes big slabs into biting. The Gypsi jig can be fish as is, but also works great paired with livebait. This synthetic hair jig gives off a ton a flash and attracts in big crappies from a distance and is available in three sizes 1/64-ounce, 1/32-ounce and 1/16-ounce. The Northland Gypsi jig is a must have for those serious crappie anglers.
Today’s crappie plastics come in just about every shape, color, and size imaginable. Plastic also do a fantastic job triggering strikes without the aid of livebait and one of the many benefits of using plastics is their versatility and effectiveness in all different types of fishing scenarios. They’ll catch crappies in shallow, dirty water swamps and are just as effective in deep, clear water lakes. They can be fished in weeds, wood, under docks and any other place else crappies harbor. There is a shape and color for every situation a crappie angler could imagine. The following plastics are the best options out there for crappie anglers.
Lit’l Hustler Tube
The crappie tube is arguably to most used plastic in the country. Its simple design has probably accounted for more crappie catches than any other bait out there. They can be bought in just about every color pattern imaginable, but the classic red body with white legs has been a staple for many crappie anglers. Whether you’re shooting docks on reservoirs in the midwest, spider rigging multiple lines for giants in the deep south, or using forward-facing sonar to cast towards and pick off individual fish suspended over brush the crappie tube is the perfect bait for the job.
Jenko Big T Curly Fry
Tied for first in popularity with the tube, the curly-tailed grub is one of the best crappie baits out on the market. This style of plastic has been a staple for anglers for decades. Similar to the tube, the curly-tailed grub can be found in just about every color imaginable and its tantalizing action is a killer for big crappies.
Big Bite Baits 2″ Crappie Minnr
The Big Bite Baits 2″ Crappie Minnr is a small soft plastic that perfectly imitates a variety of miniature baitfish and minnow species that crappies prey upon year-round! When paired with a small crappie jighead, the Big Bite Baits Crappie Minnr makes a delectable offering that is great for dock shooting, casting at individual or schools of fish with forward-facing sonar and more! Available in a wide variety of colors, this is the perfect plastic for targeting the biggest fish in a school!
One of the best crappie baits for springtime slabs, the Puddle Jumper is a staple for many northern anglers. This plastic gives off a ton of action in the water mimicking invertebrates and other forage crappies feed on. Its unique winged body allows the bait to glide when falling and the tails provide action when suspended above fish. Available in a wide variety of colors the Puddle Jumper is a great option for big crappies.
They are a couple of hardbaits that make this list because they truly deserve to be in the conversation as one of the best crappie baits. Although they are limited seasonally, both have a time and place and deserve a spot in your tackle box.
Rapala #4 X-Rap
When the conditions are right the #4 Rapala X-Rap is one of the best crappie baits out there. This bait truly shines during the springtime when crappies are moving up shallow in order to spawn. This jerkbait can be fished both in an aggressive “slashbait” technique or with a classic straight retrieve, but ultimately, the angler defines the cadence for maximum effectiveness in any given scenario. Measuring 1 1/2 inches long and available in ultra-realistic baitfish patterns it’s the perfect bait for big crappies!
Northland Puppet Minnow 1/8 Ounce
Designed originally for ice fishing the Northland Puppet Minnow has proven itself in open-water scenarios. This bait shines in deep water situations when it’s fished vertically, particularly in fall. The Northland Puppet Minnow mimics small baitfish and is available in a wide variety of natural and UV colors. It’s darting, erratic action is irresistible for big crappies!