coastalfreak

Best live baits for crappie (not minnows)

16 posts in this topic

I kind of impulsively planned a brief Crappie trip tomorrow to the local lake. Literally the whole lake is covered in grass on the perimeter, so I suspect there could be crappie there. Anyway, I don't think I'll have time to get minnows. Don't have a lot of panfish lures, just have a few Beetle Bous and curly tail grubs in the 2 inch range. 

 

I'm wondering if I could run by the store tomorrow before the trip and get Berkley Crappie Bites, Nightcrawlers, or even other lures. I know people like to rig jigs under a float but how do yall fish it? 

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If you have a Pet Smart near you stop in and ask for their large meal worms. Less expensive than bait shops and they will usually have larger ones for people with reptiles for pets. Sometimes work as good as minnows and easy to store for other trips. Tip a small hook or jig with one or two and sit back and have some fun. 

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15 mins ago, odiemike86 said:

I like the gulp alive 1'' minnows. I get more bites on the smaller baits in the colder months.

I usually find the same with bait size but decades of fishing has taught me one thing. There is no constant. When I take minnows even in the winter I always take small and large. One day they won't look at a minnow over an inch or inch and a half then the next trip they line up for two and even three inch minnows. Even pickerel that can swallow the biggest minnow you can find but on certain days they will only take small. Always figured it was what size food they were feeding on at the time. Then one day I couldn't get a bite on a large minnow so I switched to small and caught right away. Pulled in a decent size pickerel on a very small minnow and found the tail of a decent size yellow perch sticking out of it's throat. Another fish had the tail of a small sunny in it's throat so there is no perfect size bait. Just have to hope that we carry what they want that day. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Haven't done this in decades.  Mostly due to lack of access to the good crappie pond when I was a kid.

 

Netting grasshoppers...…  Prevalent insects in the area make great bait. Get a insect net or use a lure / fly that imitates whats there.   Suckers are a lot like trout far as seasonality of their palate.

 

Rebel has a classic critters collection.  Everything in that collection catches fish.

 

Leaches, bug poppers, those little fuzzy jigs are good ones too.

 

IF you see an insect struggling in the water, take a video of it, then try to match the hatch.

 

 

Edited by salt deficient

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1 hour ago, DoorGunner said:

If you have a Pet Smart near you stop in and ask for their large meal worms. Less expensive than bait shops and they will usually have larger ones for people with reptiles for pets. Sometimes work as good as minnows and easy to store for other trips. Tip a small hook or jig with one or two and sit back and have some fun. 

+1 on the meal worms.

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We did a trout show two years ago and I had small minnows and meal worms. Never had a touch on the minnows but everything attacked the meal worms. Caught my biggest crappie ever and I didn't even know there were crappie in the lake. Caught about ten trout but even more crappie.

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2" curly tail on a 1/16 oz jig head. Trout or crappie magnets on a slip bobber for smaller and slower presentations.

Live baits meal worms and minnows.

 

DG

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7 hours ago, Dan Grulke said:

2" curly tail on a 1/16 oz jig head. Trout or crappie magnets on a slip bobber for smaller and slower presentations.

Live baits meal worms and minnows.

 

DG

This.

 

 

I like to jiggle the float a little with lures unless it is windy then the wind and chop do that for you 

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You folks that use mealworms for bait should think about raising your own, if you don't already.  Its pretty easy and doesn't require a whole lot of attention.  Plenty of instructions can be found online.  Also good for reptile pets and outdoor bird feeders.

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On ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 7:45 AM, DoorGunner said:

If you have a Pet Smart near you stop in and ask for their large meal worms. Less expensive than bait shops and they will usually have larger ones for people with reptiles for pets. Sometimes work as good as minnows and easy to store for other trips. Tip a small hook or jig with one or two and sit back and have some fun. 

Meal worms work great, but I prefer wax worms, also available from most Pet Smarts.  Slip bobber rig, tip the smallest jig head you can find (1/64 - 1/100 oz) with a waxie.  Deadly. 

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Bobby Garland - baby shad or any of their other plastics.  A few other brands make the same baby shad under a different name.  Put on a 1/32 or other jig head under a bobber.  Many times, just cast and let the slight chop on the water do the work.  Other times give them a twitch or two.  They work really well on a 1/8 jig head, casted and retrieved with a twitch or two every couple cranks on the reel.  They replaced the Berkley Gulps as my go to.  That said, they seem to work better in the spring than fall for me.  I get most crappie in the fall at dusk or after dark.  A lighted bobber helps.

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