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Top 6 Micro Plastics for Wintertime Crappie

Top 6 Micro Plastics for Wintertime Crappie

When Paul Mueller isn't travelling the country fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series, you can usually find him on the water—in his boat, or literally, on the water ice fishing. As a guide in his home state of Connecticut, Mueller spends more time on the water than most, and even during the dead of winter, he is fishing. Known as one of the best multi species anglers in New England, he has learned how to catch big fish even during extremely cold conditions. Whether he is drilling holes through ice to drop a bait to panfish, or guiding from his boat, wintertime fishing has taught him how to adapt and adjust to catch the biggest fish in the lake.

During a guide trip years ago, his clients were enjoying a successful day catching a plentiful amount of quality-size crappie. The bite was good, but he noticed in the midst of constant success and happy clients, several larger fish on his Garmin electronics were mixed in but were not biting. Even through the action was exciting, Mueller still wanted to catch the biggest fish. A quick switch to an extreme micro finesse bait quickly paid dividends as the non-stop 10- to 13-inch bites turned into 15- to 16-inch crappies.

Mueller’s Top 6 Micro Crappie Plastics

Euro Tackle Gamma Scud 1-Inch</b

The ultimate downsize for not only crappies, but perch and bluegills as well, is the Gamma Scud 1-inch plastic. It is a perfect imitation for a freshwater shrimp and is available in 9 colors.

Euro Tackle Crazy Critter 1.1-inch

The Euro Tackle Crazy Critter is another micro shrimp imitating plastic for panfish. Made from extremely durable super soft plastic, the Crazy Critter is available in 10 colors.

Do-It Molds Bubba Scud 1.25-inch

Slightly larger than the Gamma Scud, the Do-It Molds Bubba Scud features subtle invertebrate appendages that are attractive to pressured fish. Still considered the ultimate downsize, the Do-It Mold can be poured in any color to attract weary crappies.

Euro Tackle Euro Grub 0.8-inch and 1.4-inch

The Euro Grub comes in a 0.8-inch and 1.4-inch size bait so you are virtually adding a bait to your lineup without changing style. When the crappies are on minnow style bait fish, the Euro Grub is a must have. Start with a 1.4-inch and downsize to the 0.8” for spooky fish or when the body of water is pressured.

Euro Tackle Shrimp-X 1.5-inch

For a larger shrimp style bait, the Shrimp-X 1.5-inch bait is the go-to. Not only on ice, but Mueller has success from his boat during the cold winter months when he finds schools of crappies but they are not wanting to bite.

Do-It Molds Crappie Fluke 2.5-inch

The Crappie Fluke is the largest of the micro finesse baits but crappies love it. The mold allows for a solid color or a two-tone approach. For minnow style forage, when the fish are keying on juvenile bluegills, alewives, spot tail shiners, or even small panfish, the crappie fluke is a great bait. When the conditions get tough, the tail can be cut off and used on its own.

Do-It Molds


Smaller is Better

To catch wintertime crappies, Mueller keeps it simple when selecting his micro jigs. He uses a Euro Tackle Finesse Soft-Lock Tungsten Jig Head and a Do-It Mold Round Head Steelhead Jig. The Euro Tackle jig is available in a size 4 or 6 hook, while he has more choices with the home made Do-It molds. The flexibility to choose the hook size with different size weights is key as he can perfectly match his micro plastics to any jig head. For the 1 1/2-inch and larger micro plastics he uses a size 10 hook. Anything 1- to 1 1/2-inch is size 8, and only one bait requires an ultra-micro size 10 hook.

Mueller has learned through several winters in New England that downsizing his presentation when targeting pressured crappies in cold water will offer a stealthier approach that yields more bites. In addition to downsizing the size of his micro jigs and panfish plastics, using a lighter line has added to his success. It's not just a matter of downsizing, but how much.


“As rule of thumb, the tougher the bite the lighter the micro jig. I start heavier to begin with, dropping down in size as it gets harder to get bite, and I downsize the line too. For my rods, I stick with a rod that offers the action I needs for each bait and I never use a spring bobber. With as big a role as electronics plays in seeing fish, you can tell when you're about to get bite – it's on you to figure out when and set the hook.”

Line Matters Too

Mueller sticks with two sizes of line for wintertime fishing – 3-pound and 5-pound Gamma Touch Fluorocarbon. He employs the 5-pound as his “standard” line while and drops to 3-pound for the smallest micro jigs and plastics he uses.

“The biggest misconception for downsizing line is that people think it's just so the fish can't see it. That does help, but more importantly, the smaller line gives me better control and a better action on the bait. The other misconception is that braid offers the best feel. That is true, but only on a tension bite. Because crappie feed upward in the water column, the fluorocarbon actually gives the best feel for a slack line bite.”

Just Try It

Just like that guide trip years ago, the clients were catching plenty of fish and Mueller had no reason to downsize his equipment to try and catch larger fish. He wanted to downsize and learn how to catch the largest fish. Travelling the country and fishing several lakes with trophy crappies, he always takes a little time to try and catch crappies. They are not always easy but using the smallest micro plastics available to match the forage will help you catch bigger fish.

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