Because crappies often roam vast open-water regions of a lake or reservoir during summer and fall, most anglers who pursue this spectacular species do so during spring. As the sun warms the water in shallow-water bays and canals, springtime crappies are hungry and willing biters, provided you know exactly where to look and how to properly present your lure.
To help you get started catching slab spring crappies, visit the Cabela’s Tackle Shop. Here, you’ll find guide-testing tips and strategies, as well as an outstanding selection of crappie lures and gear, including the select items highlighted below.
One note regarding selective harvest: Crappies are fantastic in the frying pan, so certainly keep enough for dinner, but also keep in mind that crappies are not an unlimited resource. Proper selective harvest (releasing the smallest and biggest fish) ensures a healthy population of crappies and good fishing for years to come.
From one day to the next, you never know what color might be preferred by finicky crappies. For that reason, it’s important to have a wide selection. This 80-Piece Lit’l Hustler Kit includes 70 of Southern Pro’s top-producing 1-1/2″ Lit’l Hustler tubes (7 colors; 10 tubes per color). To help fool wary crappies, it’s best to rig Lit’l Hustler tubes on a 1/32-oz. Minnow-Head jighead (10 jigheads included in kit). The Minnow-Head darts from side to side during a slow stop-and-go retrieve, perfectly imitating an injured minnow.
The extra-long tail hinge of the 1/16 oz. Blakemore’s Slabalicious Jig has a sensitive action, allowing you to slow down your presentation for convincing wary crappies. With 9 high-contrasting color combos from which to choose, you can find the hot color for any given day. Priced per each with a spare plastic body.
Available in either 1/16 or 1/8 oz. sizes (and 12 colors!), the Blakemore Roadrunner Crappie Thunder jig features a long-lasting solid jig body and a flared tail, which together deliver a slow descent through the water column. When crappies are aggressive they’ll hit almost anything, but when times are tough you need the slower drop of a Crappie Thunder jig.
The 1-inch-long Sweet Pea Crank from Cabela’s is ideal for ultralight angling in all freshwater conditions, but it really shines when crappies are No. 1 on your species list. Diving 2 ft. to 4 ft. on a steady retrieve, the 1/6 oz. Sweet Pea produces a tight wiggle that drives crappies into a feeding frenzy. Colors include: Silver/Black (shown), Silver/Blue, Gold/Black, Rainbow Trout, and Fire Craw; a single size 10 treble ensures solid hook-ups.
Mimicking a shad, the Johnson Crappie Buster Shad Crank (2-1/8″, 1/4 oz.) emits an attractive, high-pitched rattle that calls crappies from long distances. This crankbait is available in a wide range of colors so you can experiment until the crappies tell you what’s working best, and hooks on each model are an enticing red for added appeal.
If you love targeting crappies, sunfish and even trout, check out the specialized actions and lengths of the Pro Guide PTC series rods from Cabela’s. The IM6 100% graphite blanks deliver awesome strength and sensitivity, and fast-action tips provide quick, precise casts and rapid hooksets. Other features include: lightweight, high-strength graphite reel seats with padded hoods; aluminum-oxide guides; comfortable cork handles; convenient hook keeper; and limited 2-year warranty.
Tailored for crappies, you’ll have no problem landing the biggest springtime slabs with the Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Jig/Troll Spin Combo. The two-bearing spinning reel has a rugged graphite body, and its pre-spooled with Mr. Crappie fishing line. The two-piece fiberglass rods are available in 7-, 9- and 10-foot lengths and have comfortable EVA foam handles for a nonslip grip, plus Wally Marshall approved crappie-specific actions.
Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Two-Piece Rods have fiberglass blanks with EVA foam handle grips and graphite reel seats, plus crappie-specific actions approved by Mr. Crappie, Wally Marshall. These 9-, 10- and 12-foot durable rods have stainless-steel guides with stainless-steel inserts and feature a unique rod-length label indicator.
Available in lengths ranging from 8 ft. to 16 ft., these lightweight 96% graphite, 100% tubular two- and three-piece rods pack surprising backbone and sensitivity. The 20″ EVA foam handle on the B’n’M Buck’s Crappie Jig Pole adds more balance and feels 25% lighter, and they have eight, single-foot Fuji guides.
Responsive and sturdy, the Cabela’s Crappie Rod by B’n’M lets you feel the slightest bite. These rods have 80% high-modulus graphite with blank-through-handle construction. Available in 7-, 8-, 10- and 12-foot lengths, these two-piece spinning rods feature an ultralight tip, high-quality aluminum-oxide guides and cork handles.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.