Skip to main content

Eagle Claw Nitro Crappie Trailers: A Short History of Midwest Finesse Tactics for Crappie

 Eagle Claw Nitro Crappie Trailers: A Short History of Midwest Finesse Tactics for Crappie

Dave Schmidtlein of Topeka, Kansas, is a consummate crappie angler. And for several years, he has been catching untold numbers of crappie by using one of the favorite baits that scores of Midwest finesse anglers use to catch largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. That bait is a Z-Man's Fishing Products' 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ affixed to a jig. At times, Schmidtlein uses a 1 5/8-inch ZinkerZ, and he also uses a pair of Fiskar Scissors to whittle a group of tentacles on the tail of his ZinkerZ, and he utilizes one of the tentacles as a hook guard, which allows him to probe the interior sections of a brushpile without getting snagged.

Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, says that several of his crappie fishing cohorts have been cutting a two-inch segment off of the tail of a seven-inch Z-Man's pearl Floating WormZ, and they affix that two-inch tail to a 1/16-ounce jig. Customized Z-Man's worms, of course, have played an integral role in the tactics that Midwest finesse anglers use to catch largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

Recently, we have heard stories about crappie anglers at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, who use a tiny jig-worm rig -- similar to the one that Desch described above -- to catch crappie around the thousands of boat docks that clutter its 1,150 miles of shoreline. What's more, these crappie anglers inadvertently catch an array of largemouth and spotted bass.


The bait that the Ozark crappie anglers are using is a 2 1/2-inch Eagle Claw Nitro Crappie Trailer, which looks like a tiny soft-plastic worm. And these anglers affix this 2 ½-inch Nitro Crappie Trailer to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce jig. The size of the jig that they employ is determined by the disposition of the crappie. In general, these anglers prefer to work with a 1/16-ounce jig during the fall and early winter, when the crappie are often aggressively foraging. Then as the water temperature plummets to its wintertime low temperatures, these anglers have found the slow pace of a 1/32-ounce jig to be more alluring than the 1/16-ounce jig. These anglers suspect that the cold-water conditions make the crappie more tentative than they are when the water temperatures are warmer in the fall.


The Ozark dock anglers present the jig-worm to the crappie by pitching it into the boat slips and along the sides and around the corners of the boat docks. After they execute the pitch, they allow the jig-worm to slowly glide back to the boat at a prescribed depth, which is determined by the length of the pitch. In sum, a short pitch translates into a shallow presentation, and a long pitch results in a deeper glide. In the vernacular of crappie anglers, this retrieve is described as a pendulum presentation. The depth that the crappie abide in can vary from dock to dock, hour to hour, day to day, and area to area. Therefore, these anglers consistently test different depths through out an outing.

When this jig-worm glides through the best depth, the angler will occasionally flex the hand that holds the rod, and this will cause the jig-worm to subtly undulate and shake, which at times seems to provoke the crappie to engulf the bait. But there will be spells a plenty when the crappie will be attracted by a pure glide or a do-nothing glide.

According to the anglers at the Lake of the Ozarks, four-pound-test fluorocarbon line in a clear hue is the best line to use for probing boat docks for crappie with this jig-worm rig.

The Nitro Crappie Trailer is available in five colors: natural, orange, chartreuse, white, and pink. Some anglers customized the colors by using permanent-ink markers and Spike-It Dip-N-Glo. These baits are also impregnated with a scent called Nitro's Factor X2. A package of 10 retails for $1.99.


 End notes

(1) For another perspective on this on phenomenon, please see this report by Phil Lilley at http://www.ozarkanglers.com/lake-of-the-ozarks/2013/12/10/shaky-head-fishing-for-lake-of-the-ozarks-crappie/#more-3556.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

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.

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

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

Channel Cats on Ice

Channel Cats on Ice

The In-Fisherman staff reveals some of the hottest action of the winter season, as they show how to ice 20-pound channel catfish.

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.

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.

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.Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power Accessories

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

OSG Editorial Staff - November 01, 2020

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more...

Introduced species often directly or indirectly adversely affect native species.Questioning Fish Introductions Other Fish

Questioning Fish Introductions

Dr. Hal Schramm - July 06, 2020

Introduced species often directly or indirectly adversely affect native species.

See More Trending Articles

More Midwest Finesse

Here is what we discovered about the Baby Goat.Z-Man Fishing Product's Baby Goat Midwest Finesse

Z-Man Fishing Product's Baby Goat

Ned Kehde - October 02, 2020

Here is what we discovered about the Baby Goat.

The Rabid Craw's two chelae or claws consist of delicate nuggets of rabbit fur.Rabid Baits' Rabid Craw Midwest Finesse

Rabid Baits' Rabid Craw

Ned Kehde - September 15, 2020

The Rabid Craw's two chelae or claws consist of delicate nuggets of rabbit fur.

Here is what we discovered about the Diamondback Quiver Worm.Top Shelf Tackle's Diamondback Quiver Worm Midwest Finesse

Top Shelf Tackle's Diamondback Quiver Worm

Ned Kehde - September 11, 2020

Here is what we discovered about the Diamondback Quiver Worm.

It was designed to be rigged vertically as a trailer on a spinnerbait, blade jig, or scrounger jig.10,000 Fish Yoto Worm Midwest Finesse

10,000 Fish Yoto Worm

Ned Kehde - September 02, 2020

It was designed to be rigged vertically as a trailer on a spinnerbait, blade jig, or scrounger...

See More Midwest Finesse

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