Few fish are as notoriously fickle as crappies. Often, for no apparent reason, they choose to hit only a lure of a specific size, shape, wobble, or wiggle. They may stubbornly opt for only one lure color, or a lure sporting multiple, well-defined hues. Other times they want a quick, tight-twitching lure, or one with a wide, slow-wiggling pace. Today it’s a 1/8-ounce lure on the dinner menu. Tomorrow a 1/16-ounce or even a 1/32-ounce is necessary to catch them.
Jig size and configuration varies, too. Straight or curly tail? Soft plastic, Mylar, chenille, bucktail, or marabou? They decide. You serve the entree. Figuring what crappies want to eat can be a major headache wherever the fish are found. But the following lures are among the best at consistently putting slabs in the boat.
1. Blakemore Road Runner
The unique little Road Runner jig has been around for decades and has a reputation for catching a multitude of fish—especially big crappies. The lure is available in a wide variety of colors. Body configurations vary, too, including curly-tail soft plastic grubs, tube lure styles, and ones with chenille bodies and wispy marabou tails.
The jig also has an oversized hook that makes hooking fish easy. But it’s the addition of a small single spinner incorporated into the jig head of the Road Runner that sets it apart from so many other jig designs. The spinner comes in various colors, in hammered or shiny willow leaf and Indiana blade configurations. The spinners are molded right into the jig head with a quality barrel swivel, which allows for easy spinning and holds up to rugged fishing.
No less than three International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records have been set by anglers using the Road Runner. The most notable crappie is the one-time IGFA 6-pound-test world record black crappie of 4-pounds, 8-ounces caught by Allen Paap Jr. from a Nebraska farm pond in June, 2003. The 18½-inch crappie took Paap five minutes to land.
Another IGFA 6-pound-test-line record white crappie weighing 2-pounds, 4-ounces (retired) also was caught on a Road Runner by angler Don Meyer in September 1999 from Enid Lake, Miss. And a third IGFA white crappie record weighing 1-pound, 10-ounces was caught on a Road Runner by Kristin Turley in Sept. 2001 near Coppell, Texas.
2. Fin-S Fish Grub Jigs
Top Connecticut angler Rich Zaleski is a long-time crappie expert and an adamant fan of lightweight Fin-S Fish grub jigs. He uses a whippy 7-foot spinning rod, 10-pound braided line, and a 6-foot fluorocarbon leader to fish for them.
His favorite Fin-S Fish grub body colors are Chartreuse Silk, White Satin, and Arkansas Shiner. He varies the hues until he dials in the right color for the day he’s fishing. He also trims the front part of a plastic grub so that the plastic is flush to a jig head on the hook.
“I cruise steep banks looking for submerged treetops, which usually are laydown trees,” he says. “I really like spots where a bank has a small landside that includes a vertical tree, some of which don’t reach the surface. I’ll keep my boat tight to a steep bank, in deep water, while watching the depth sounder for brush and timber, and suspended fish near the cover.”
Zaleski would rather find crappies just outside cover because he can catch them easier on a Fin-S Fish using a slow, steady, horizontal retrieve.
“If I have to fish among branches, I’ll try to do it by dropping my jig straight down to the fish and basically holding the jig steady.”
3. Skipper’s Moon Jig
These handmade powder-coated jigs got their start in Wisconsin in the late 1980s, and they are now made in Northeast Florida. They come in a huge variety of colors, in 1/8- and 1/16-ounce sizes, with large-gap quality Mustad hooks that easily accommodate a minnow or soft plastic grub.
Skipper’s models have their roots in the ice fishing world, and they are among the most popular styles for panfishing on hard water. Moon jigs have an unusually smooth half-moon shape, which makes them especially well-suited to trolling. Thus they’re ideal for anglers either spider rigging or pulling lures.
All credit for this awesome list goes to Field and Stream. https://www.fieldandstream.com/story/fishing/best-crappie-lures-ever-made-and-how-to-fish-them/