Crappie Swim Jigs

Crappie Swim Jigs

Mary Savage just told Dave Genz, "Mine's bigger." He's formulating a response.

Well, yeah. Different species. C'mon, Mary. She wanted to try something different and rigged up a pearl, 2-inch Bobby Garland Hyper Tail gub  on a 1/32- ounce Lunker City Fin-S-Head. The Fin-S jig has the best collar for securing a plastic bait and keeping it viable for the longest period of time. She began swimming it through the cabbage beds, directing it around the tall corn with a 7-foot St. Croix Avid ultralight rod. Crappies were up and aggressive.


Mary caught some slabs. Dave and I couldn't stop She corralled several big bluegills with the grub, too — but it was soon obvious which species was dominating the weed tops. Crappies and largemouths were more likely to be up high, based on what Mary was doing.


A light, little Shimano Symetre reel filled with 4-pound braided line makes swimming small grubs, tubes, and crappie swim jigs a blast. We tie in three or four feet of 5.8--pound Raven fluorocarbon  leader using back-to-back uni knots. The Avid can bring big fish with delicate mouths through timber and tall weeds with a light, braided line.


A lot of companies make 2-inch plastics that excel at triggering crappies. We use Kalin's and Yamamoto grubs a lot, along with 2-inch Gulp and Berkley Power Bait swimbaits and Southern Pro Crappie Stingers. Little shad bodies, 2-inch soft jerks, grubs with paddle tails, mousie-shapes — all kinds of plastics work for this. But Mary likes a grub. She has confidence in it and that makes her pretty darn good with it.

Grubs on jigs. Works for everything. Smallmouths and largemouths, crappies and bluegills, pike and muskies, steelhead and lake trout.

If you know how to present a jig on a grub, you'll never go hungry in the wild. When the boys get on the radio way up north and sing the collective "we can't catch a lunch fish" blues, out come the jigs and grubs. I'm not going hungry up there.


We let the big crappies go, but took plenty of images for future In-Fisherman magazine pieces.bUsing a controlled swim for crappies, showing all the current plastic options, is probably something we'll cover in detail (again) before long.

6 Arc of Slabs, Northeast Mississippi

Like the Bordeaux region grows world-class wine grapes, the Arc of Slabs is famous for producing giant crappies. Grenada, Sardis, Enid, and Arkabutla — it's a tossup which of these reservoirs might be best for giant white crappies during March and April. Jigging in brush and spider-rigging are the best bets. Wading, too, at times. Contact: Guide John Woods, 731/334-9669; Guide John Harrison, 662/983-5999.

2 Lake Erie, Ohio

The best opportunities are between Port Clinton and Vermilion, says Ohio fishery biologist Travis Hartman. Many marinas and backwaters have excellent crappie fishing in the spring, peaking in late April to early May, and occasionally in the fall. Good open-water spots are East and West harbors and Sandusky Bay. Check connected rivers, too. Lots of fish to 12 inches, with 14-inchers not uncommon, Hartman says. Craig Lewis of Erie Outfitters says Lake Erie is a surprisingly overlooked crappie fishery, considering the numbers of fish caught, up to 18 inches, as big as any in the state. Contact: Erie Outfitters, 440/949-8934; Ohio DNR, dnr.state.oh.us.

4 Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

Guide Billy Blakley says the crappie forecast for the 'œEarthquake Lake' is excellent for 2013, with average fish running 1 to 11⁄4 pounds and catches up to 23⁄4 pounds. The lake contains both black and white crappies. From March through May, spider-rig and jig around underwater wood, and jig around exposed cypress stumps. The bite picks up again in the fall. Top-notch lodging and food at Blue Bank Resort. Contact: Guide Billy Blakley at Blue Bank Resort 877/258-3226, bluebankresort.com.

7 Weiss Lake, Alabama

The crappie outlook is very good for 2013, reports Alabama district fisheries supervisor Dan Catchings. Samples indicate one, and possibly two, strong year-classes of crappies in 2010 and 2011. Expect good numbers of harvestable-size fish from the 2010 spawn this spring, with the 2011 year-class contributing to the fishing in mid- to late 2013. Fishing picks up in February as crappies move shallow. March through early May is best, with April being the peak. Contact: Guide Richard Green, 859/983-0673, or book through Little River Marina and Lodge (256/779-6461); Guide Mark Collins, markcollinsguideservice.com, 256/779-3387.

8 Kentucky Lake, Kentucky / Tennessee

Anglers look forward to the 'œCrappie Capital' living up to its name in 2013, says guide Steve ­McCadams. Expect numbers of quality fish with a shot at slabs over 2 pounds. While action during the spawn in late March into April is outstanding, don't overlook May and June, when stable lake levels and weather patterns find crappies concentrating around fish attractors at midrange depths, he says. Contact: Guide Steve ­McCadams, stevemccadams.com.

9 Kerr (Buggs Island) Reservoir, Virginia/North Carolina

Numbers of crappies from 1 to 13⁄4 pounds with a chance for 2- to 3-pounders. Once the spider-rigging bite wanes in shallower creek channels by April, action turns to jigging deeper brushpiles. Contact: Guide Bud Haynes, 434/374-0308; Guide Keith Wray, 434/635-0207; Bobcats Bait and Tackle, 434/374-8381.

3 Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma

This shallow reservoir boasts numbers of crappies in the 2- to 3-pound range, with 37-fish limits common. In spring, the action is shallow, doodlesocking flooded buckbrush in high water, or working rocky banks and brush cover in low water, says guide Todd Huckabee. Crappies move to deeper brush later in spring. Contact: Guide Todd Huckabee, toddhuckabee.net; Guide Barry Morrow, barrymro.com; Blue Heron Bait and Tackle, 918/334-5528.

5 Lake Fork, Texas

Numbers of slabs from 11⁄4 to 21⁄2 pounds tend to get overlooked in this lake famous for lunker bass. Mid-May through June is guide Terri Moon's favorite time for crappies, when the fish head to brushpiles and bridge abutments in 20 to 24 feet of water. Pitching Fork Tackle's Live Baby Shads on 1/16-ounce jigs is a top option. Ivan Martin and Rick Loomis also guide clients to Fork's crappies in November and December, when fish are on points and in deeper brush. Contact: Guide Terri Moon, 903/383-7773; Guide Ivan Martin, 918/260-7743; Guide Rick Loomis, rickloomis.com; Lake Fork Marina for lodging, food, and tackle, lakeforkmarina.com.

1 Lake of the Woods, Ontario

The Woods is top-notch for black crappies to 16 inches, says In-Fisherman contributor Jeff Gustafson. Many crappies on this massive water have never seen lures, so once you find them, the numbers and quality are second to none, he says. Action starts in mid-May, with fish moving to shallow areas with cover. After spawning in early June, target them on weedflats in 6 to 10 feet of water. Float-and-jig combinations excel. Also try small suspending jerkbaits and swimming marabou jigs. Contact: Guide Dave Bennett, davebennettoutdoors.com, 807/466-2140; Guide Jamie Bruce, brucescanadianangling.com, 807/466-7134.

10 St. Johns River, Florida

The stretch of the St. Johns River south of Lake George offers outstanding fishing. Crappies from 2 to 3 pounds are caught regularly, with average catches well over a pound. This was the scene of an In-Fisherman television episode that airs this spring. Weedflats hold fish that can't resist tubes fished under a float. Or troll channel edges using jigs or minnows. Contact: Lodging at Castaways on the River, 352/759-4522, castawaysontheriver.com; Guide Steve Niemoeller, 386/846-2861, cflfishing.com.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat! Bass

Topwater Lure Secrets for Bass

Jim Edlund - April 26, 2018

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat!

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues. Bass

Deep Cranking Confessions from the Pro's

John Neporadny Jr - December 18, 2017

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues.

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures. Walleye

The Lowdown on Walleye Hardbaits

Steve Ryan - May 28, 2019

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Awesome Spoon Bluegill System

Awesome Spoon Bluegill System

Check out this deadly spoon system for big bluegills introduced by one of In-Fisherman's readers.

Spider Rig Crappies

Spider Rig Crappies

Doug Stange employs one of the most effective crappie systems ever.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers nationwide. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Catfish are among the most popular groups of fish with over 7 million catfish anglers...


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

See More Stories

More Panfish

Late fall is basin time. Panfish

Basin Crappie Roundup

Matt Straw - November 08, 2019

Late fall is basin time.


Scooping out nests, laying eggs, warding off nest invaders, staring down or dodging toothy Panfish

Find Your Biggest Bluegills During Summer

Matt Straw - July 06, 2018

Scooping out nests, laying eggs, warding off nest invaders, staring down or dodging toothy

Nothing near shore. Nothing on the weededge. Braid whistled through the guides as I decided to Panfish

Big Baits for Big Crappie

Matt Straw - April 19, 2018

Nothing near shore. Nothing on the weededge. Braid whistled through the guides as I decided to

See More Panfish

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.