How do I stop losing crappie when they are on the hook?

I’m having a real problem setting the hook when I get a Crappie on the line. Presently I’m losing three times as many as I’m catching. Do you have any tips that might help?

This is probably one of the biggest problems that novice Crappie fishermen have to learn to overcome.  Trust me, you’re not alone. Known also as the “paper mouth”, Crappie are famous for their soft, paper-thin mouths and setting the hook too hard will simply tear the membrane and release your hook.  Technique for setting the hook on a Crappie is very difficult to teach without someone to illustrate it for you.  The trick is that you definitely don’t want to yank the line.  Practice makes perfect and a usually all it takes it a quick jerk of the wrist.  The amount of pressure you’ll need, however, will also depend on how deeply you’re fishing.  If you’ve hooked a Crappie in shallow water, for example, any pressure you apply will be transferred directly to the hook, if you’re finishing in deep water though, much of the force will dissipate before it actually gets to down to the fish.  Another factor is going to be the type of rod you’re using.  A limber rod will allow for a much harder set than a more solid rod.  Once the hook is set, you may also have problems getting the fish into the boat.  To keep the hook planted, you’ll need to keep a slight bow in your rod and tension on the line.  Allowing the line to go slack as you’re moving it toward the boat will give the Crappie the opportunity to shake the jig out of his mouth.  It’s equally important that you use a fishing net when fishing for Crappie.  Make sure you’ve caught the Crappie in the net before it reaches the surface of the water or again, odds are that you’ll lose him.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

One Response to “How do I stop losing crappie when they are on the hook?”

  1. ike isenhoff says:

    Bend the hook open just a little bit so it catches easier on what ever it touches

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