Skip to main content

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 'Earthquake 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 'Crappie 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.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

“If that engine starts without my kill switch on, I ain't the one driving it,” Blake Broussard says after ejection video goes viral.

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Doug Stange joins Capt. Aron Kastern on Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin where they go after whitefish on ice.

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

The In-Fisherman crew head to Lake Erie to catch smallmouth bass.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Fall presents opportunities for both numbers and trophy fish.Stellar Late-Season Destinations for Panfish Panfish

Stellar Late-Season Destinations for Panfish

Steve Ryan - October 25, 2020

Fall presents opportunities for both numbers and trophy fish.

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. 8 Best Catfish Rigs - When, Where and How to Use Them Catfish

8 Best Catfish Rigs - When, Where and How to Use Them

In-Fisherman

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

Serve these walleye fish cakes with homemade blue cheese aioli or blue cheese salad dressing.Walleye Fish Cakes with Blue Cheese Aioli Recipe Fish Recipes

Walleye Fish Cakes with Blue Cheese Aioli Recipe

Chefs Jerry Swanson and Tommy Nuesse

Serve these walleye fish cakes with homemade blue cheese aioli or blue cheese salad dressing.

See More Trending Articles

More Panfish

A dropper line offering a secondary lure has proven deadly on shallow panfish and bass.Tailgunner Rigging for Panfish Panfish

Tailgunner Rigging for Panfish

Rob Neumann with Jeff Simpson - June 25, 2019

A dropper line offering a secondary lure has proven deadly on shallow panfish and bass.

On Lake Michigan, signs of a perch revival are on the horizon.Perspectives on Perch Panfish

Perspectives on Perch

Cory Schmidt - September 29, 2020

On Lake Michigan, signs of a perch revival are on the horizon.


Scooping out nests, laying eggs, warding off nest invaders, staring down or dodging toothyFind Your Biggest Bluegills During Summer 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

Crappies are one of the most ubiquitous, easy-to-catch fish species in freshwater.Springtime Crappies on the Upper Red Panfish

Springtime Crappies on the Upper Red

Cory Schmidt - March 24, 2020

Crappies are one of the most ubiquitous, easy-to-catch fish species in freshwater.

See More Panfish

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now