Crappie Fishing

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

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Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

Delving into the best crappie jigs requires an understanding of the types of crappie jigs, crappie jig colors, crappie jigheads, crappie jig setups, crappie jig knots, crappie jig hook sizes and types and the various crappie jig brands.

Crappie aren’t particularly difficult to catch relative to other game fish, but they can be very finicky depending on water color, seasonality, weather patterns, depth and more. So you have to experiment often with jig color, jig type, jig size and jig depth just to catch crappie consistently.

So the more you understand the best crappie jig options, the better selection you can have to catch fish more consistently 12 month out of the year.

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Different Kinds of Crappie Jigs

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

There are roughly 6 types of crappie jigs with a plethora of hybrids that have expanded out from those. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the best types of crappie jigs:

  • Tube
  • Curly Tail Grub
  • Shad Body
  • Paddle Tail
  • Spade Tail
  • Fork Tail 
  • Hybrids

TUBE JIG

A tube jig is just a hollowed out head with cut tassels to create octopus like appendages that move independently in the water. This is arguably the most popular style because it’s one of the most effective for vertical jigging. So it works for long-poling, trolling, spider rigging, vertical jigging, and even under a bobber in shallow water. You can catch fish casting them but there are better profiles for casting. 

They are cheap and come in a nearly unlimited amount of color combinations. You can buy them pre-rigged or in small 15 count packs or big 50 count bulk packs from various manufacturers. And now there are lots of variations on these with solid bodies with tassels, bulkier but less tails, larger sizes, layered pours and more. So you have a lot of options in a tube profile.

Our favorite tubes are Midsouth Tackle Super Jigs, Southern Pro Tri-Color Lil’ Hustler, SKL Mr. Crappie Joker, Mr. Crappie Crappie Thunder, and the Jenko Big T Fringe Fry.

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Curly Tail Grub

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

This is a versatile crappie jig plastic for casting applications. These don’t work as well for vertical jigging because you need a steady horizontal movement to give the tail good action. But for casting this is a very popular variation. Thread it on a jig and cast it out, count it down to depth and slowly and steadily reel it in. A simple and effective fish catcher.

Our Favorite Curly Tail Grubs are the Jenko Big T Curly Fry, Bobby Garland Stroll’R, Mr. Twister Teenie Curly Tail Grubs, Z-Man 2-inch GrubZ, Mr. Crappie Shad Pole CT, and Southern Pro Hot Grubs.

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Shad Body

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

This has become one of the most popular jig types because it’s effective vertical jigging, casting and shooting. It can literally be used in way you fish a crappie jig and it works great in all applications. And this is another plastic that comes in dozens, even a hundred colors. They are inexpensive, work great on all jigheads and all applications and give you a ton of quick looks. 

Our favorite Shad Body crappie jigs are Bobby Garland Baby Shad, Jenko Paddle Fry, Mr. Crappie Shad Pole, Jenko Big T Fry, Southern Pro Stinger Shad, and Z-Man StingerZ.

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Paddle Tail

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

Basically little bitty swimbaits for catching crappie. This has become a staple presentation for me. I will always start casting to crappie from a distance with a small swimbait like the Mr. Crappie Slabalicious and pick off the aggressive crappie before I move in and vertical jig with a shad body the stubborn fish. But these usually feature a solid body and narrow tail and a paddle or wedge that kicks the tail subtly but effectively to attract crappie.

Our favorite paddle tail jigs for crappie are Mr. Crappie Shadalicious, Charlie Brewer Slider, Jenko Big T Tickle Fry, Crappie Magnet Tiny Dancer, Bobby Garland Slab Hunt’R, and Z-Man Shad FryZ. 

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Spade Tail / Fork Tail

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

A spade tail is basically a solid round body with pointed flat tail coming out of it. Sometimes it’s a forked tail, a straight tail or a split tail. These are excellent for vertical jigging, casting and shooting docks. They are a little bulkier usually than a shad body so you are giving the fish a slightly different profile and that can matter on different days. You can modify and give added action to the spade tails by splitting them, or even cutting designs in them. 

Our favorites include Bobby Garland Slab Slay’R, Bobby Garland Minnow Mind’R, Mr. Crappie Slab Slanger, Redneck Rubber Beaver Bottom Baits, Crappie Magnet, Muddy Water Baits Custom Crappie Baits, Jenko Fishing Mermaid Jigs, Bonehead Tackle Brush Glider and Stump Bugs. 

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Best Crappie Jig Colors

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

Essentially there is just about every color combination option available in crappie jigs. That can be a blessing and curse. Because if you’re new to crappie fishing, it can make it hard to know where to start.

For the most part there are basically your color colors and your accent colors and then those combinations of all of the above. I consider core crappie colors to be Chartreuse, White, Monkey Milk (hologram pearl), Black, Junebug, Pink, Orange, Red and Blue. Those can be accent colors obviously. But most of the really good colors in crappie fishing has at least one of those colors and an accent color which could be another of those colors or something like glitter flake, or opaque versions. 

Here is a rundown of what we consider to be some of the best colors in crappie fishing, Keep in mind there are another 100 variations of these so you may find another color on this list that absolutely smashes them on your body of water. Chartreuse has been a staple in crappie fishing and variations that have some chartreuse in it are always players. In recent years as fisheries have cleared smoke and silver glitter have become go-to colors as well as the hologram pearl that many folks call Monkey Milk. 

  • Chartreuse 
  • White
  • Monkey Milk
  • White chartreuse
  • Black chartreuse
  • Wed chartreuse
  • Orange chartreuse 
  • Electric chicken, 
  • Junebug
  • Bluegrass
  • Smoke / silver glitter
  • Silver Scale

And keep in mind you can modify these colors even more like in our article: Improve Crappie Fishing with Subtle Color Changes.

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Best Crappie Jigheads

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

Jigheads are much like plastics. Some guys swear by minnow heads while others will only use roundball heads. Still others want a football head and some want a pill head. So we’ll give you a rundown of your options as this is easy to experiment with but we’ll give you some of our favorites as well. 

Here is a rundown of the most common crappie jigheads:

  • Roundball Jighead
  • Pill Jighead
  • Minnow jighead
  • Mushroom / Ned jighead
  • Spinner jighead

For the most part anglers are choosing heads that fit and present their plastics the best. With so many sizes of plastics and obviously you can fish for crappie in 1 foot or 40 foot of water, there is a need to carry a lot of different weights, sizes and colors of jigheads to match the water and plastics you’re fishing.

Here’s some quick tips on choosing the best jighead.

If it’s a big bulky plastic, a mushroom head or football head fits nicely on the plastic. A heavier jighead will have more surface area and fit on a really thick plastic. And a bigger plastic will float a lighter jighead a lot more. If your plastic is bulky you will want a nice barb or double barb keeper. If your plastic is thin, you will want a small wire keeper or no keeper and use super glue to hold your jig on the head. I will put thread on the shank of a jighead with no keeper. The thread gives the superglue and the plastic something to adhere to. 

If your jig plastic has a narrow profile, a minnow head can be really good as can a pill head. Both have a narrow profile. Pill Heads have become very popular in recent years. They are good for casting and vertical jigging. If you vertical jig with braid, you might want a heavier hook. If you cast with lighter line, you might want a much lighter jighead hook. 

A roundball head is perfect for all situations and the most versatile of all jigheads. It casts well, vertical jigs well and skips the best off all jigheads for shooting docks.

Finally if you want a little more attraction, a spinner head can add some flash and vibration to a small jig. The Blakemore Road Runner might be the most iconic jighead ever in crappie fishing. It’s horse head shape and belly blade make it a great choice for casting and trolling for crappie. Millions of crappie have been caught on spinner heads. Newer heads with props on the collar like the Jenko Whirly Bird offer the same flash and vibration with a bit different orientation similar to small Japanese bass swimbait jigheads. 

Vertical jigging can be done effectively with 1/16 and 1/8 ounce jigheads. On fisheries with big crappie in deep open water a 1/4 ounce head might be a better choice, especially in the wind. Casting a jig can be done well with both 1/16 and 1/8 jigheads with the right setups.

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Best Crappie Jig setup

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

While the specific best crappie rod and reel setup for the various types of crappie jig fishing is often more related to the angler than the specific rod, having the right rod makes all the difference in catching a lot of fish and just getting lucky with a few fish. You need to be able to get your jig to the fish and then get the fish back in the boat. 

I personally am not a fan of light or ultra light rods. I prefer well made medium-light rods for casting and shooting. And I like a nice sturdy jigging rod with a sensitive tip for vertical jigging crappie in deeper cover. 

We created a really good piece about the three best types of rods to cover all your crappie fishing in the article: 3 Best Crappie Rods to Cover Everything.

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Best Crappie Jig knot

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

I personally use either the simple loop knot or the San Diego jam knot when crappie fishing because sometimes I want my jig to move freely (like vertical jigging) and sometimes I want a real direct connection to the jig like when casting. So I like a loop knot for vertical fishing and a san diego jam for casting. 

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Best Crappie Jig hook size and type

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

The No. 2 hook is the staple in crappie fishing. Sometimes you will size down if you’re using really small heads and very small plastics, then sometimes a No. 4 hook makes more sense. Some anglers want a really stout hook if they are vertical jigging like in standing timber for big crappie like in Texas and Mississippi. Other anglers want a light hook that penetrates easier on a long cast with light line. 

Companies like Jenko Fishing designed a special hook that penetrates easily and bends out easy when it’s in cover so you can get your jigs back when you hang in cover.  You can bend the hook right back easily. I’ve landed 2 3/4 pound crappie on this hook. Just keep in mind after you bend it back 4-5 times, you’ll need to change it out as the metal weakens. 

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Best Crappie Jig Brands

Best Crappie Jigs – Buying and Fishing Guide

There are a bunch of companies making panfish and crappie lures in 2022. There are a dozen or more of your core large scale manufacturers and then there are dozens of smaller crappie companies making custom jigs now. 

If you’re talking about easily and readily accessible for all anglers these are the main brands we recommend:

  • Bobby Garland
  • Strike King Mr. Crappie 
  • Jenko Fishing
  • Z-Man 
  • Southern Pro
  • Mid-South Tackle
  • Bone Head
  • Crappie Magnet
  • Redneck Rubber
  • Muddy Water Baits
  • Berkley
  • Charlie Brewer Slider