Crappie are perhaps one of the most sought after freshwater fish because they provide incredible table fare. Not only that but getting into a mess of crappie is one of the most enjoyable days on the water you can have.
It takes some experience in picking out the right lure to entice crappie and in this article, we will discuss some of the best crappie lures on the market.
We will look at both conventional and unconventional lures that are going to put crappie in the live well. I hope you enjoy!
What are the best crappie lures?
Here is a quick preview:
- Eagle Claw Crappie Jig
- Marabou Jig
- Lindy Little Nipper Jig
- Zoom Salty Super Tube
- Strike King Mr. Crappie Thunder Bait
- Strike King Shadalicious
- Berkley Swimming Mullet
- Mister Twister Teenie
- Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap
- Norman Lure Professional Edge Deep Little “N”
- Rat-L-Trap – Tiny Trap
- Mepps Aglia Ultra Lite
- Booyah Micro Pond Magic
If you have any experience in crappie fishing or have talked to many anglers, you know how important jigging is to crappie fishing. When spring rolls around, and crappie begin schooling up, often in large numbers, jigging is the top method of putting your lure right in the middle of them. It is for that reason, that many fishermen say that jigs are the best lures for crappie fishing. Is this true? Are jigs the best crappie lure? Let’s take a closer look at jigging.
Using jigs for crappie are one of the oldest but still one of the most effective lures. The great thing about jigging is that there is almost no wrong way to use them and they are great year-round for crappie though we like the fall and spring months when crappie are schooled up tighter than usual.
Like any crappie jig or any lure for that matter, the color might be the biggest lure characteristic that determines how effective it will be from day-to-day. We like lighter and brighter colors on sunny days and clear water while darker colors tend to better in more stained water. That doesn’t mean darker or more natural colors can’t catch fish in clear water. The key to picking a color is experience in your home waters and experimenting.
Some of our favorite crappie jigs are the simplest. The Eagle Claw Crappie Jig, Marabou Jig, and the Lindy Little Nipper Jig (pictured above). All of these jigs are simple, easy to fish, and they catch crappie. You can suspend these beneath a bobber and twitch them, vertical jig them, or bump them across the bottom, or use a slow retrieve.
While these jigs can catch crappie throughout the year, we like to use them during times where crappie are grouped up and in the characteristic staging areas. Jigs are not great searching patterns, but we will cover some of those shortly.
While there are plenty of jigs that can be bought pre-dressed, soft plastics can also be fished like a jig, and they give you a lot more room to play around with weights and movement styles in the water.
The most popular soft plastics for crappie fishing are grubs and tubes. Even within these two categories the amount of different designs can be overwhelming to new anglers. Should you go with skirted, straight tail, twisted tail, or paddle tail? We think it all depends on the technique you are using, but more on that shortly. These types of lures are quite a bit more affordable than hard body baits, and you can accumulate a lot of different styles and eventually narrow down to the types you have the most success and confidence in using.
The color is another important option, and each specific type of soft plastic is going to available in a wide range of colors. Most crappie anglers go with bright colorings such as Chartreuse. We have had success with most colors, but do like more natural colorings, especially if fishing in clear water.
How you fish them is really up to you, but most crappie anglers are going to use them with jigheads and bounce them or drop shot setups and fish them with a vertical technique. With this technique, we like using lures that are going to have plenty of movement when falling slowly or suspended. Tubes are great for this such as the Zoom Salty Super Tube and Strike King Mr. Crappie Thunder Bait (pictured above). Both of these baits have incredible movement in the water when using slow retrievals.
You can also fish soft plastics for crappie with a simple retrieve technique and trolling. When fishing with this technique, we like soft plastics that mimic a swimming motion more closely such as; the Strike King Shadalicious and Berkley Swimming Mullet.
Another extremely easy to use crappie lure is the Mister Twister Teenie. I love Mister Twisters. This is what I started fishing with back in the day when I was just a kid and I still think these are the best crappie lures. They are a great lure because they are available in a ton of different colors, they are affordable and they give off a lot of action with very little effort. If you are fishing with a beginner angler I would highly recommend you check these lures out!
You should invest in a wide variety of soft plastics for crappie fishing. They are easily affordable, and they can catch crappie year round.
The last two types of lures we are going to discuss for crappie fishing are not near as popular as jigs and other soft plastics, but they offer a new and refreshing change from the more popular options, and when used in the right situations, they can land big slabs of crappies.
Crankbaits are the first style that is an underutilized but effective method for hooking up on crappie. They are also one of the best methods of hooking up on the larger 2+ crappie because of the lures size. We rarely ever throw any crankbait that is over 3” in length and even try to stay below that length when possible.
Crankbaits are also great for searching water and are a bit quicker than trying to search with a jig, which is a much slower technique. This is important when you don’t have a fish finder and are working water you might not be as familiar with.
Crankbaits can be a little more difficult to work with when crappie fishing, especially when trying to gauge the right depth that schools are holding up. We like suspending crankbaits used with a retrieve and pause technique, suspending the crankbait for a few seconds gives you a better idea of where the fish are holding as you can be more confident at which depth the lure is at.
If you don’t have any luck in an area you know crappie should be, you can adjust with different crankbaits that have more shallow or deeper depth ratings. The Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap (pictured above) is great for spring when crappie are moving to shallow waters before and post spawn. We also love the wobble in the lure as well as the more lifelike movement of the lure itself and think it is great for getting strikes aggressive and protective crappie.
For a deeper running crappie crankbait, we like to tie on the Norman Lure Professional Edge Deep Little “N”. This is one of our favorite fall lures where crappie have moved down deeper. Use it as a cast and retrieve with pauses suspending the bait or use it as a trolling lure.
Don’t forget about lipless crankbaits! Crappie love to feed on shad and one of the best ways to imitate them is with a lipless crankbait. We like the Rat-L-Trap – Tiny Trap. One of the best ways to fish this lure, is probably one of the easiest ways. Just cast it out past the structure the crappie are holding up in and bring it back to the boat. It is that easy. This way you allow the rattle to do all the work for you and to bring the crappie to you. The best thing about lipless crankbaits is that they aren’t limited to the regular fishing season, learn more in a previous post: The Best Ice Fishing Lures For Crappie.
Spinners are another type of lure that can highly effective when hunting for crappie. While most often thought of as a bass lure, those same qualities that make it so popular with bass fisherman make it an effective crappie lure when used in the right place at the right time.
Our favorite spinnerbaits for crappie are considered in-line spinners, and we like them on the lower end of the weight scale. One such lure is the Mepps Aglia Ultra Lite. The spinner on this lure gives it a nice flash that is designed to give it great appeal to crappie. One of the best features that we like is the gold blade. This gold-colored blade helps to make it extremely effective in stained or dirty water.
While it is possible to fish for crappie with larger spinnerbaits, we think that other species of fish key in on spinners larger than 3/8oz. While we have no problem hooking a couple of bass while crappie fishing, it can get annoying when you have crappie on the mind.
Our favorite time to throw spinners is during the spawning period. If you can find crappie spawning areas, spinners with a fast retrieve around nests are going to elicit a lot of strikes from crappie who mistake them for small baitfish intruding in their nesting areas. We like the Booyah Micro Pond Magic (pictured above) for provoking nesting and spawning crappie. Spinnerbaits can also be effective in more stained waters where the vibrations of the blade on retrieval can draw in fish when visibility is down.
While straight retrievals will catch fish, we also like to toss in pauses in retrieval and let the lure suspend and gently fall down the water column. These pauses can be the trick to getting a strike when simple retrieving is not yielding the desired results.
You May Also Enjoy Reading: The Best Ultralight Spinning Rod For Crappie Fishing
Spring crappie fishing can be one of the most productive fishing seasons of the year especially when you are using the correct lures with the correct techniques. In this article, we have listed some of our favorite crappie lures that will bring you success during the spring as well as other periods of the year.
What do you think are the best crappie lures? Please share with us your thoughts in the section below.