While casting crankbaits for crappies is an excellent and way to catch them around the spawn, trolling crankbaits for crappies shines after they’ve dispersed following the spawn. Jack Uxa from Jack’s Guide Service hails from Missourri’s Lake of the Ozarks, where he commonly trolls for crappies starting after the spawn and throughout the rest of the year. He walks us through his process for finding crappies, lure selection, and establishing an effective trolling set.
FEATURED TACKLE (retail links)
- Berkley Money Badger Crankbait, size 4 and 5, color – Pink Pearl Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- Berkley Flicker Shad, 3-inch Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- Abu Garcia Max Pro Spinning Combo, 7’ Medium Power Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- Berkley X9 Braided Line Flame Green, 20-pound Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- Berkley Trilene XL Monofilament Line, 10-pound Buy at Tackle Warehouse
- Millennium Marine R-100 SpyderLOK Multiple Rod Holder Buy at Tackle Warehouse
How to fish for crappies depends on the time of year. Contrary to popular belief, many crappies move to open water instead of heading toward brush piles, docks, and other cover areas following the spawn. Food is the driver here, with much of the biomass of small baitfish heading into open water. The crappies aren’t far behind! Whereas fishing crappie jigs is an excellent method for targeting crappies relating to cover, trolling crankbaits targets nomadic crappies suspended in deep water along bluffs, where they feed on small shad.
The best crappie fishing rods for a particular application is a loaded question. For trolling, Uxa keeps it simple with a medium power spinning setup. He shares his approach to setting up a trolling spread with multiple spinning rods using spider rig rod holders. He details his rod, reel, and line setup, highlighting why he favors a braided mainline with a monofilament leader.
Focusing on bluffs with adjacent river channels, Uxa reveals how these areas concentrate baitfish and gamefish, making them perfect areas for trolling crankbaits for crappies. He reduces tangling by fighting crappies on the surface to avoid tangling lines.
Uxa’s go-to crankbaits are the Berkley Flicker Shads and Money Badgers. Crappies often show a preference for either subtle or aggressive bait actions, depending on the situation. The Flicker Shad offers a more subtle action, while the Money Badger boasts a pronounced roll and wobble that can be a highly effective trigger.
Following Jack Uxa’s expert advice on trolling crankbaits for crappies, you’ll be well-equipped to find and catch open-water crappies outside the spawn.