Live Bait for Crappie

Minnows work well – stick with lively fish that are small to medium sized. I like to hook these minnows right behind the dorsal fin just below the bone. When hooked just right and hung below a bobber you will find your bobber moves around a lot, so much so that you really have to keep an eye on it to keep it out of cover or you’ll never get your hook back. I find that a two inch, a health two inch, minnow will work very well for most crappie. When you get your bait be sure to ask what they are biting on recently and if they don’t know be sure to get varying sizes of minnows.

With all live baits I use them on a bobber, dragging your live bait through the water just kills them quicker. Do not use a bobber that is a gallon jug, those are for catfish, pick one that will just support your bait or just give you an idea of what your line is doing. With many baits I’ll use a small stick style bobber or a small one inch or less round bobber. As for depth you need to know the cover that they are hiding in and fish six to twelve inches above that.

Also if you are not going to catch your own bait use a bait supplier that is close to where you are fishing. Avoid some of the larger outfitters for live bait as they might import many of their baits or if you use their baits make sure the bait is healthy and allowed where you are fishing. I like the small mom and pop bait shops because chances are their kids or some local school kids caught the bait right where you will be fishing. Local bait means that you have what the crappies are already eating so you now have the simple task of making it easy for them to eat.

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

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