The best crappie fishing jigging rods have advanced a lot in the last 3 or 4 years thanks in large part to more anglers targeting bigger crappie with the advent of LiveScope and forward facing sonar. As we mentioned in our 3 best crappie rods article, we can perfectly present a jig in cover and stalk the biggest crappie in the lake if we have a combination of rods and the jigging rod is just one of those combos that every good crappie angler needs. Livescope has made us more efficient at catching bigger crappie. That has led to anglers requiring beefier rods that can not only reach out and touch a crappie at distance, but can also lift a 2-pound crappie up and out of cover and into the boat. Swinging big 2-plus-pound crappie is not for those old wispy cane poles of yesteryear.
What is a crappie jigging rod
A jigging rod for crappie is generally an 9-foot or longer rod that can handle either a bait caster or small round reel as well as a spinning reel. Not to be confused with the best crappie fishing rods with more conventional lengths and actions, jigging rods usually are 2- or 3-piece rods. They generally will be a little stiffer than say a trolling rod or a spider rigging rod. Most of the time with a jigging rod, you’re lowering a jig in and around cover and you need to be able to steer a big crappie away from the cover quickly when they bite. If you don’t have enough backbone then you may lose a lot of fights in thick cover. And landing the fish can be a little harder and often require a net. But if the jigging rod has enough backbone, you can swing it and not worry about losing fish as easily.
What to look for in a jigging rod
Generally I look at the handles, the lengths, and the guides on a good jigging rod. I want a comfortable handle that I can put under my forearm and have some control of the rod swinging a jig out and setting a hook and playing a crappie to the boat. Cork or EVA handles both work well and a lot of the newer rods have gone into carbon fiber. Most rods are made to use a spinning reel or round reel alike. I will put an affordable baitcaster on them most of the time because that feels natural. I use the Piscifun reels a lot because I can find them on sale for under $40 at times. All your work is done with the rod. The reel is nothing more than something to hold your line and manage your depth.
Usually I will pull line with my off hand and swing the jig out to the cover and then watch it fall on my electronics or count it down. As it comes to vertical. I will try to hold the jig right on the cover as much as possible. So a jig you can hold comfortably that is balanced and not too tip heavy is a big deal. Some higher end rods even have counterbalance weights so you can reach out 14-15 feet and not wear yourself out all day.
Why length matters in jigging rods
If I’m fishing shallow visible cover, I’m usually using a shorter rod that I can dip around the cover and swing up and out without hitting branches and such above me all the time. If I’m fishing deeper or clearer water, I like a longer rod where I can put the jig well in front of the boat and not disturb the fish. Jenko Fishing for example makes a 15-foot rod that really gets out there. And B’n’M Poles now has a Little Mighty Pole that comes in telescoping lengths of 20 and 25 feet if you can believe that. A 10-foot rod is much easier to handle than a 20-foot rod I assure you. So choose wisely there.
Our suggestions on jigging rods
Check out these long rods for jigging that can handle swinging 2-pound slab crappie with ease.
B’n’M Poles Stick and Super Stick Rods
The B’n’M Poles Stick and Super Stick are throwbacks to their popular stiff crappie rods from the early 80s. The Stick and Super Stick feature 21-inch Portuguese handles with reinforced reel seats that are made to fit under your arm for leverage to swing hard on a fish around cover and then swing them easily into your boat. The Stick was made for spinning reels and the Super Stick is made for baitcasters. Both work great with braid.
I fished them with Piscifun Spark Baitcasters and 10-pound braid. So it was easy to hit fish, move them away from cover and swing them into the boat. With a light reel like a Bucks Best Ultralight Crappie Reel your whole combo will be 10-11 ounces. Not too shabby for a 13-foot, heavy-duty crappie rod.
The Super Stick is a 2-piece rod, making it a lot easier to transport two 6 1/2-foot sections in your truck or boat.
Lew’s Wally Marshall Pro Target Rods
The new Lew’s Wally Marshall Pro Target Rods feature durable and sensitive IM8 graphite blanks. They come with stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts and no-tangle tips and Winn Dri-Tac grips. The rods are light and comfortable to hold in your hand and have the backbone to swing big crappie in at a distance. The jigging rods are 10, 12, 14 and 16. We fished the 12 and liked the feel and power of these rods. The extra handle is nice for walking up the rod to swing big crappie as well.
Jenko Big T X Series Rods
Originally Jenko came out with the X-13 rod to showcase the quality and innovation crappie anglers could experience going forward in crappie fishing tackle. Now they have the 10-foot and 15-foot models to get the exact rod that fits the type of crappie fishing you want to do.
The X Series of Jenko crappie rods feature ultra lightweight minimalist carbon fiber grips and ALPS guide systems as well as a carbon fiber nut on the reel seat. But the real feature is the power of these rods and the integrated weight balance system in the butt of the rod that allows you to balance your rod with your reel so your rod won’t be so tip heavy and wear you out holding a 13-foot rod out in front of you all day.
These are some of the most advanced crappie rods ever developed in the space and they are expanding to give anglers what they have been asking for. I have caught more crappie on this rod than any of the others because I’ve been fishing them for 3 years.
You can find these jigging rods at JenkoFishing.com.
Huckabee Phantom 13
Many folks don’t know this, but these heavy duty rods that everyone has for crappie fishing now was actually the idea of Todd Huckabee back about 15 years ago when he was pro staff for a big rod brand and asked them to let him design longer rods with some backbone in them because they catch big crappie and need heavy duty rods that can handle big fish in cover and at a distance.
The rod company thought his idea would never sell, so he left their prostaff and started making his own rods with Power Crappie LLC.
Now he offers a suite of his Huckabee Rods like his Phantom 13 that features a heavy power rod with a long cork handle to give you total control over spooky big slabs at a distance. I have enjoyed swinging some big crappie out of shallow cover this spring with this rod.
These heavy action blanks with sensitive tips can feel the bite at a distance and swing fish easily. They feature extra long cork grips, fixed reel seats and stainless steel guides. These rods have thicker blanks and bigger grips for guys that prefer a bigger grip on a rod.
You can find the Phantom 13 at toddhuckabeerods.com.
ACC Crappie Stix Super Grip Rods
The new Super Grip rods from ACC offer lightweight, power, sensitivity and comfort in a modernized rod for crappie fishing. At 5.1 ounces, this 11-foot rod was a joy to fish with. It’s comfortable, powerful and just easy to fish with. I love the looks of them and how they fish. I’m a big fan.
The grips are tacky and smooth. You can walk up the rod and swing 2-pounders easily on it even though it feels so light in your hands. It really is a cutting-edge rod for the price.
You can find the ACC Crappie Stix Super Grip rods at acccrappiestix.com.
Jenko Kevin Rogers Jigging Rods
I’ve learned a lot about crappie fishing from Kevin Rogers over the years, and watching him jack crappie in Texas and Missouri with braid and a jigging rod is what made me want to get into fishing for crappie this way. So when he came out with his own rod at Jenko, I was first in line. I really enjoy the look and feel of this rod, and its simplistic approach to crappie fishing. He puts a cheap $20 crappie reel on it, fills it with braid and proceeds to jack crappie all over the country.
The rod features ultra-thin EVA foam grip, stainless steel micro-guides, no insert guide at the tip, and hook hanger all on a thin, lightweight graphite blank.
This rod is offered in 10, 11 and 13-foot mid-seat options as well as an 11-foot rear-seat option.
Huckabee Rods 12-foot Slab Swinger
Todd Huckabee designed this rod for dipping timber and brush. It’s the perfect length to get you out there on spooky fish but also not be too unwieldy in and around a bunch of trees. It has stainless steel guides, fixed reel seat, extra long handle, and 2-piece construction. The medium-power rod is easy to hold under your forearm all day and balances well with a spinning reel or a baitcaster. I’ve swung 2-pounders on it easily.
You can find the Slab Swinger at huckabeerods.com.
ACC Crappie Stix Original Green Series 12-footer
Another one of the lighter rods that can swing big crappie that you will find out there, the original Green Series from ACC Crappie Stix offers comfortable cork handles, quick identification tips and a carbon fiber, blended blank that offers incredible strength without added weight. The 12-footer was the lightest heavy duty rod at 5.9 ounces until they made their new Super Grips even lighter.
I have swung countless huge crappie on them. The backbone on these rods is impressive for how light they are.
You can find these rods at ACCCrappieStix.com.
Baitcasters work well on these rods
A lot of guys using Livescope and “sniping” crappie are using long rods with baitcasters and braid now. I tested these rods with Piscifun Spark baitcasters that you can pickup for $39 (cheaper if you catch one of their sales). It’s perfect for these heavy duty crappie fishing rods.
Combos side by side for comparison
Here is a closer look at each rod handle and tip side by side for comparison on handle lengths and blank thickness.
12-foot ACC Crappie Stix Rods Got These
I spent a weekend down on Lake O’ the Pines with Charlie Burrow and we cracked more than 40 big slab crappie on ACC Crappie Stix 12-footers all day, swinging every fish, including a couple over 2 pounds.
Huckabee Slab Swinger Swings big ones easily
I got the Huckabee Rods late but have slung a bunch of big crappie on shallow brush in April and May.