Jigging for Crappie: Guide to Help You Catch More Fish

Jigging for Crappie

Crappies may not be the biggest fish out there, but they are among the most fun to catch throughout the whole year!

And when you combine that with jigging, which is one of the coolest fishing techniques, you are guaranteed to have a great fishing day!

Jigging for crappie is the best technique to catch this fish, and you can practice both vertical or cast and retrieve jigging, depending on conditions. Most often, provoking a bite won’t be too hard, if you present your bait right. Jig color, weight, and shape are important here.

All of this can also be done with a bobber, and bobbers are very useful for complete beginners. Of course, rods and reels have to match too.

Whether you are fishing during day, night, winter or summer, this technique is suitable for both novice and experienced fishermans.

Here I will tell you more about this technique and give you some tips for success!



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Do Crappie fish Like Jigs?

Crappies love jigs, and if you can’t provoke a bite, it may be that you are doing something wrong. Jigs are extremely versatile and if I had to choose one lure that is the best for crappies, it would definitely be the jig.

You can have numerous jig bodies in your tackle box to change when necessary, and you can present them in different ways.

What is important here is to choose the right jig. A small head and soft body like grubs or tubes are the way to go. When presented naturally crappies cannot resist them. Twitching and moving in a similar way to a natural injured prey will trigger aggressive feeding behavior among crappies and bites will follow.

Present them over structures where crappies hide, and you are in for an adventure!

What are the Benefits of Using Jigs for Crappie Jigging?

There are numerous benefits when using this versatile technique and here is a list of the most important ones:

  • Availability of jigs in numerous types, sizes, and colors.
  • Ability to use them for different jigging techniques like vertical, cast and retrieve, and even trolling.
  • Jigs attract crappies of all sizes.
  • Jigging equipment enables you to feel even the smallest bites.
  • Effective at all depths.

When someone mentions jigging, beginners often think about vertical jigging only, but this technique is much more than just that. All of the options mentioned above let you fish from a riverbank or from a boat, and even on ice. There are not many other lures that are so versatile and work equally well in almost all conditions.

What is the Best Jigging Rod for Crappie?

Crappie jigging rod doesn’t have to be the most expensive piece of equipment, but it has to be a certain type. This is important for sensitivity and creating lure movement.

Jigging rods are usually fast action so that only the tip bends. This allows great sensitivity and fast hooksets. Blanks are usually stiffer, rods are shorter, and good ones are light weight to prevent a lot of strain on your wrists. They often have longer handle.

However, anglers sometimes choose rods a bit longer for crappie jigging. Not to compromise the casting distance and to keep some of the versatility. Usually, jigging rods are around 7ft long or even shorter, but for crappies, some anglers go up to 9. Of course, for vertical jigging, shorter are better, but if you plan to use it more for cast and retrieve you can opt for longer.

The best crappie rods for jigging depend on your personal preference, but I would recommend you models like Lew's Wally Marshall Pro Target Rod which is available in different lengths and shorter ones work incredibly well for jigging. Consider 6'6" or 7’ length.

Jigging for Crappie - Equipment and Rod

What is the Best Jigging Reel for Crappie?

Jigging for crappie requires suitable reels. Beginners can use spinning ones as those are easier to use and more versatile, so you can use them for other fishing too.

Conventional reels have some benefits over spinning ones, and those are better controlled with techniques like palming, and they are available in wider range of gear ratios.

For beginner and vertical jigging, I would recommend slower to medium gear ratios, and avoid fast ones. If you plan to practice cast and retrieve jigging, you can go for either type with medium speed. The size of the reel of course depends on a local crappie size but should never go over 3000. Size 1000 to 2000 is more than enough.

For a versatile beginner setup, I would recommend Shimano Stradic FL spinning reel that could also be paired with the previously mentioned rod. It is available in small sizes and works incredibly well for all fishing, not just jigging.

What Color and Jig Size is Best for Crappie Jigging?

For crappies, you don’t need to go for big and heavy jigs. When it comes to color, same as with any other lure, it is chosen in accordance with water conditions.


For crappies, you can play in a weight range of 1/32 to ⅛ ounces. Only if jigging very deep you can go for slightly heavier.

In the given range, the deeper you go, the heavier the jig needs to be. When it comes to casting a jig, if you are casting against high winds or currents are present, you can go for heavier. For sallower and calm waters, go for the lighter options in a given range. Light ones are also less likely to get snagged in cover. Go for the lightest possible in given conditions, especially in clear water.


When it comes to color, you have multiple options. For clear water, go for natural colors and shades and avoid very unnatural and bright ones. These vivid colors are excellent for dark conditions. If fishing very deep, keep in mind that colors disappear with depth, and red is the first one to go.

Black ones are very versatile especially in shallow water. Chartreuse is excellent for deeper waters and conditions where you need high visibility. Shades of red and pink are great for shallower waters where they are visible, while white provides high contrast.

Many jigs are available in combination of these colors too.

Jigging for Crappie - Jigg Colors

What are the Recommended Line and Hook Sizes for Crappie Jigging?

To have the best setup, you must carefully choose all parts of your equipment, including lines and hooks too.


When it comes to line type, you can opt for both monofilament and braided line. Beginners may find mono much easier to use, although braided gives you more “feeling” for the lure movement. Of course, visibility plays a role too, and mono is less visible.

When it comes to size, mono lines 4-8 lb are the best option. They have the perfect ratio of small enough diameter not to be too visible and strength to land any crappie.


Choosing too large hooks with significantly decrease the number of strikes, while too small will unable safe hooksets. Finding a balance between the two is key.

Rage from size 2 to size 6 is the best one for crappie fishing.

What is the Best Way to Catch Crappie? [Jig Techniques]

As already mentioned, crappie jigging is extremely versatile. Here are the best techniques:


Vertical jigging is the form of jigging that everyone recognizes. It works excellently in mid-summer and beginning of fall when temperatures are high. Gentle and slower movement are recommended, as well as presenting your lure in deeper areas of water bodies where crappies hide and seek cooler places.

When it comes to vertical jigging for crappie you can use lures like Rapala jigging rap for crappie which are extremely effective.


Cast and retrieve is a jigging method where you cast the lure and retrieve towards you by creating jigging motion. In early to mid-spring, when crappies become active, the goal is to cover as much water as possible because crappies are everywhere.


Crappie jigging with bobber is best done with slip bobber. You can precisely choose a depth and position your lure in places like over distant cover. When casting to places where jigs could get stuck in logs or rock piles at depth, bobber will allow you to keep it above. This is especially effective when jigging for crappie at night. You will see better where your lure is and you can cast towards edges of more illuminated areas where crappies tend to feed.

Jigging for Crappie - Bobber

Where are the Best Locations to Jig for Crappie?

Jigging can be done anywhere. Shore, boat, pier…. Whatever is available in your local waters.

Jigging for crappie from the bank is excellent for cast and retrieve jigging. Rarely you will find a spot on a natural bank for vertical technique, so casting is the best option here, with or without bobbers.

If you have access to a boat or even a pier that is over a place where crappies congregate, the best option is vertical jigging. Simply position yourself over an ideal place and lower you lure below you. Let it fall naturally and work it the way up. That is the best approach for beginners.

Is it Possible to Catch Crappie From the Bank?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to catch crappie from the bank. While crappie are often associated with being caught from fishing boats or out in deeper waters, they can also be found near the shore.

In fact, during certain times of the year, crappie may be more concentrated near the banks, especially in areas with abundant vegetation or structures. To increase your chances of catching crappie from the bank, consider using lighter tackle and lures, as these fish can be easily spooked by heavy gear.

Look for specific spots along the bank that might attract crappie, such as fallen trees, brush piles, or weed beds. Casting your bait or lure near these structures can be highly effective.

Additionally, pay attention to the time of day and weather conditions, as crappie tend to be more active during early morning or late afternoon when the water temperature is cooler.

So, don't underestimate the potential of catching crappie from the bank. With the right approach and some patience, you can have a rewarding fishing experience without even boarding a boat. 

What is the Best Time to Jig for Crappie?

Crappies can be caught throughout the year, even in winter. For jigging, any time of year is excellent if you adjust your approach. Deep and vertical for hot periods and cast and retrieve in after and before winter. You can even do vertical jigging when ice fishing for crappies.

When it comes to time of day and weather conditions, generally, low light is the best, and you will have the best results around and after sunset, especially when it is warm. The same goes for cloudy and overcast days.

The worst conditions are bright, sunny, windless and hot days, around midday. No matter how good you are at jigging, it is best to avoid that time.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Jigging for Crappie?

Making mistakes is the only way to learn from personal experience and it is completely normal for every fisherman to do something wrong, especially beginners.

To help you overcome these mistakes you may not even be aware of, here is a list of most common ones:

  • Using too large jigs and hooks.
  • Making unnatural repetitive movement.
  • Using too thick and visible lines.
  • Choosing wrong depths for bait presentation.
  • Using dull hooks.
  • Using too long and insensitive rods.
  • Using wrong lure colors.

Want to Catch Crappie? Follow These Tips for Increasing Your Success!

You can easily increase your jigging success by avoiding mentioned mistakes and implementing the right procedures:

  • Sharpen your hooks.
  • Make natural movements that include twitches and pauses of varying intensity and speed. And always watch how the fish react!
  • Locate crappies before you start jigging (use either fish finder or livescope or expand your knowledge about their behavior).
  • Switch shapes and colors of jig bodies and don’t stick to just one if there are no results.
  • Add natural or artificial scent to jigs to increase their appeal to crappies.
  • Concentrate on feeling the lure through the line and rod in your hand.
  • Make determined hooksets at the right time (this comes with experience).
  • Invest in decent fishing equipment if you want to catch big fish!
  • Check the weather forecast and plan your fishing at low light conditions and later in the day.
  • If you are new to crappie fishing - GO jigging as often as you can!

And that’s it. Don’t stress yourself over missing a few opportunities and keep on perfecting your technique!

Jigging for Crappie - Tips

Conclusion (My Final Thoughts)

Jigging for crappies is an excellent fishing technique that usually gives very good results, if done properly. Make sure to match your jigs with conditions in your local waters.

If you can’t provoke a bite at first, don’t worry, and change your jigging speed and add some twitches and pauses. And downsize your jigs, that is often the key to success!

Present your jigs after sunset and you can even add some underwater lights for better results!

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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