CrappieNow 2014

Double-minnow Rigs For Summer Crappie

By Vic Attardo If crappie could watch cooking shows, I believe their favorite recipes would all feature minnows. In my humble opinion, you can fool … Continue reading Double-minnow Rigs For Summer Crappie

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Vic Attardo

If crappie could watch cooking shows, I believe their favorite recipes would all feature minnows. In my humble opinion, you can fool a crappie with a minnow better than any other bait, natural or artificial.
So if one minnow is so good on a hook, how about two minnows? For the angler hoping to collect a stringer of scrappy crappie, wouldn’t a pair of minnows work even better?

The dual-minnow rig should fit very nicely into your fishing scheme this month on Lake Jordan, according to TJ Stallings, head of “marketing and crazy ideas” for TTI-Blakemore. “Water temperatures will already be close to 80s,” Stallings said, “so crappie will be deep, 16-20 feet deep.”

These are questions that many double-minnow rigs answer with a strong affirmative.
Rigs that are built to hold two minnows – and there are a number of good ones – offer a host of advantages. The first is the natural effect. Two minnows swimming together look like they really belong. Add the fact that many anglers use two or more rods with two minnows each and you have the potential to imitate a small school of minnows, which looks very natural indeed.
In any case, a few dangling minnows also adds to the commotion the bait causes. Certainly a couple of struggling minnows are bound to attract more attention than a single loner.
Another advantage is the ability to place two minnows at divergent depths in the water column. Dual-minnow rigs display the minnow pair separated by about 8 inches, sometimes more. At the very least, the separation is needed so that the baits don’t tangle but the added benefit is that baits will be swimming at different levels. Generally speaking, one minnow will be at least a foot above the bottom, often higher, while the other minnow is two to four feet over the bottom.
When using a dual-minnow rig, the best approach is to keep the lower minnow 8- to 12-inches above the bottom. Depending on the season and the water temperature, crappie will go even higher to attack a bait. Having a minnow several feet above the bottom to a level a foot or two below the surface is advantageous.

From the top down the Sipes’ jig rig first consists of a three-way swivel with a six-inch leader tied to a swivel eye and, using the loop knot, one-sixteenth ounce Road Runner. Often this upper lure does not carry an attractor body only the minnow bait.

With these stacked minnows the real trick to collecting a cluster of crappie is the dual-rig. Brothers Gilford and Shannon Sipes often used their two versions of a dual-minnow rig, with toughies and shiners.
Though fundamentally the same, one rig uses plain hooks, a Daiichi D50Z, size 1, while the other rig has two Road Runner bladed jigs. Both are vertical presentations that depend on a special knot.
The purpose of the StandOut hook is to hold the bait at a 90-degree angle from the line. While the use of a regular shank hook connected to the main line could result in the bait fouling the main line, the StandOut hook prevents this.Look closely at the Sipes’ rigs and you’ll see that the Road Runners and plain hooks are all attached by a loop knot. On the jig rig, the top jig dangles on a 2.5 inch loop knot while the bottom jig has a shorter half-inch loop.
To make the knot the Sipes double over a short length of line to form a simple overhand knot. What’s important in tying on the jig (or plain hooks) is that the newly formed bend of the loop be pushed into the eye with the hook point facing the loop, i.e. the front of the hook. Correctly attached, the loop is then brought over the shank and hook point and tightened at the eye.
If an angler were to push the loop into the eye with the point going away, or from the back of the hook, the hook would be held in the wrong position. According to the Sipes team, the purpose of the loop is to ensure the proper positioning of the hook point. “With a regular knot, the point rides straight down but with a loop over the eye, the point is angled up. When you pull on the line, it properly puts the pressure on the point,” said Gilford Sipes.
From the top down the Sipes’ jig rig first consists of a three-way swivel with a six-inch leader tied to a swivel eye and, using the loop knot, one-sixteenth ounce Road Runner. Often this upper lure does not carry an attractor body only the minnow bait.
Tied to another eye on the three-way swivel is a 16-inch length of line that is connected to a small barrel swivel. An unpegged half-ounce egg sinker is slide onto this line connection and the sinker rests above the barrel. Tied to the bottom eye of the barrel swivel is a ten-inch length of line which holds a one-thirty-second ounce Road Runner with a short, half-inch loop knot.
When using just plain hooks the top leader is still 6- or 7-inches while the bottom plain hook leader can be lengthened to 16-inches, but everything is adjustable for various depths.
As they troll with a bow-mounted motor and their rods hanging over the bow, the bottom minnow rides about 18-inches above from the lake floor. With the 16-inch shank of line between the bottom swivel and top leader, the upper minnow swims about three feet off the bottom.
The Sipes dual-minnow rig is an obvious stand out, but there is another dual-rig that stands out as well. With this rig the angler actually uses a rather unique hook called a “StandOut.”
The makers of the hook refer to the physics of their product as the “lever action fishing system.” Certainly it’s one of the more unique hooks I’ve seen.
Parts of the hook look like any other hook. The shank is straight and the bend is wide ending in a barbed point. However the eye is very unusual. Instead of an eye being where the hook eye should be, there is a wide, unclosed loop. The wire bends back along the shank like the taper of a salmon fly hook but bends out at a 45 degree angle. The actual eye of the hook is at the end of this angled wire, away from the shank.
The purpose of the StandOut hook is to hold the bait at a 90-degree angle from the line. While the use of a regular shank hook connected to the main line could result in the bait fouling the main line, the hook prevents this. In effect the hook holds the bait perpendicular to the main line so it cannot foul. For minnow-crappie fishing, size 2 and 4 are most appropriate.
To attach the hook to the main line simply tie a Palomar knot onto the loop with a two- to four-foot tag end. Don’t cut the tag end. Next run the tag end through the actual hook eye, which will hang below the loop. That’s the knot.
To make a dual-rig with a StandOut hook you can do one of several things. You can attach another StandOut hook below the first using the long tag end and then attach a weight on the end of line.
The other way to make a dual-rig is to use the hook for the upper point and a Road Runner or a plain jig for the bottom hook, threading a minnow onto the plain hook and jig.
StandOut rigs also come pre-packaged with a small swivel at the top to attach directly to the main line and a Slab Daddy jig as the second hook on the bottom. This jig provides enough weight to hold the line straight.
The Sipes dual-rig was designed for slow trolling and so was the StandOut rig when a bladed Road Runner is the bottom hook. But for simple drifting or dipping two minnows into heavy cover, I like the StandOut rig made with either two hooks and a light weight on the bottom or one hook and a jig on the bottom. I’m fond of this latter rig because the upper minnow is served up plain while the bottom minnow has the added color of a jig and probably a soft plastic for cloudy water. In clear water added color can actually be a determinant in attracting crappie. White jigs rarely put off crappie so use white or switch to a double StandOut rig if crappie aren’t hitting color.
If needed I add a soft-plastic body to the jig. The minnow is hooked through the lips behind the plastic.
There is another advantage to using either a jig or Road Runner to hold the minnow that I’ve not mentioned yet. Because tuffy minnows are short, the jig or bladed Road Runner adds length to the total presentation. Where crappie over a pound in weight are the norm, the added length helps attract the bigger fish, either Black or White crappie.
As summer heats up, you might find it difficult to keep minnows alive. A good trick the Sipes use is to add ice to the bait’s holding water. But don’t just shake a bunch of cubes into a cooler. Instead the Sipes take a five-pound bag and place the bag, plastic and all, into the water. This, they say, ensures a slow, steady drop in water temperature which helps keep the minnows alive and wiggly.
There’s a lot of truth to the saying that “two heads are better than one” and the same can be said about minnows when fishing for summer crappie.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You may also like