Crappies are a panfish found almost all over the United States and into parts of Canada. Fishing for these attractive and tasty game fish requires light tackle, as they typically are not large. Among the most effective lures for catching crappies is the jig, a weighted hook often disguised to look like an insect, worm, fish or something else a crappie will devour. You can get your limit of crappies using jigs if you pay attention to certain aspects of using this type of lure.
Crappies will eat what they can see. It is important that the crappie can see your presentation, so consider both the color of your jig and the clarity of the water that you fish. As a general rule, try to use light-colored jigs when fishing in clear water and darker colors when the water is dark or muddied. Black and brown jigs work best in the darker waters, while colors such as yellow, white, red and green are optimal for jigs in clear conditions. You sometimes can have success in a particular area with one color, but conditions may change, rendering that color jig ineffective.
Crappie jigs are typically lightweight lures, with many in the 1/64- to 1/32-ounce range. This can make casting the jig problematic when you want to access areas frequented by crappie, such as near brush piles and downed trees. By attaching a lightweight pencil-type fishing float to your line, you can add enough weight to reach these areas with accuracy. The float will suspend the crappie jig in the water at whatever depth you desire and you can twitch the end of your rod tip to make the jig move enough to attract the crappie's attention. Crappie tend to look up to find their meals, so if you fail to catch crappie with this type of presentation, move the fishing float a bit closer to the jig until you get some strikes.
Ice Fishing Jigging
Ice fishing for crappie can provide nonstop action, with a crappie jig an effective choice as bait. After cutting a hole in the ice, attach a small jig to your ice fishing rod and lower it. Try fishing at different depths until you get a bite. Many anglers will take a small piece of a shiner or minnow and put it on the tip of the jig's hook to make the presentation hard to resist for crappies. Others will use a grub, waxworm or mealworm for the same purpose, putting it on the hook and lowering it to the hungry crappies. Once you have the presentation at the depth you desire, bring the rod tip up a foot or two and let the crappie jig flutter downward. Crappie normally strike a jig when it is on its way down. Watch your line for the slightest indication of a bite and then set the hook when you detect one.