Crappie fishing has been advancing at warp speed the last couple of years thanks to the popularity of technology like Humminbird 360 Mega Imaging and Garmin LiveScope. Anglers are learning more about crappie behavior and disproving things we thought were facts when it comes to chasing these finicky freshwater fish. And learning you can target 2-pound-plus crappie specifically has called for new gear and new techniques.
I was fortunate to get one of the new flagship long rods designed for hunting bigger crappie with new technologies—the Jenko Big T X-13 high end crappie rod—in May before they were announced to the public. I found a lot of big prespawn, spawn and post spawn slabs still in May on Kentucky Lake and caught some of the biggest crappie of my life on my first few trips with the X-13. That was not only a great introduction for me to the rods, but it also was a great test for what the X-13 could handle.
The Big T X-13 features a 13-foot, 2-piece high modulus blank that weighs a mere 7.5 ounces, thanks to lightweight ALPS guides, Recoil tip, carbon fiber fore grip and blank through seat as well as EVA foam handles. But one of the big features is the weight system on the butt.
Because a long 13-foot long rod is so tip heavy because of where the reel sits on the handle so far back on a super long rod, Jenko added a series of 1/3 ounce weights that you can add or remove to make the rod balance in your hands and not be so unwieldy when fishing all day or trying to swing a big crappie in from 13 feet out.
While the weights will make the overall weight of the rod greater, they can make the rod easier to fish.
I put a Piscifun baitcaster on mine instead of a spinning reel. I like the easy one-handed operation of a thumb bar for letting out line. I often keep the rod in my right hand and manage line with my left hand to swing a jig out past the cover and let it pendulum back to the fish to gauge their activity level and aggressiveness. I will also use my left hand to help pull line when I swing a fish into the boat.
This rod gives crappie anglers the high-end quality and advancement of components ordinarily seen in bass fishing but instead in a high-end crappie rod. The blank is sensitive with a ton of backbone. I’ve swung 5 pound catfish and 4 pound bass in on the rod. So it can handle the biggest of crappie, I assure you.
The two 6 1/2-foot sections breakdown easily but have a rock-solid, no-slip connection at the ferrule when in use. I store a couple long rods in a single Rod Glove sock when they are broke down like this. So I can reel my jig up to the Recoil tip without worrying about damaging an insert, and break the rods down and stuff them in a rod stock and go. They store in little to no space this way quickly and easily.
You can find the Jenko Big T X-13 at JenkoFishing.com. Get a closer look at these rods and the results in the photos below.