Nov 2020 Tackle Techniques

Crappie Basics – Don’t Rule Out Jerkbaits, by Tim Huffman

Travis Bunting (center) and his brother Charlie are regulars on the crappie circuit. While Travis enjoys using jerkbaits for crappie occasionally, Charlie isn’t so crazy about it.


Crappie Basics – Don’t Rule Out Jerkbaits

by Tim Huffman


It isn’t a common technique and most hardcore crappie anglers never consider it. But the fact is, there are times when jerkbaits can be excellent crappie-catchers.

Late fall and winter, when water temperatures drop into the 40’s, is an excellent time to give it a try. Shad are often stressed in cold water temperatures and every game fish in the lake.

CrappieNOW Editor Richard Simms said, “On my home lake, Chickamauga in Southeast Tennessee, bass fishermen often tell me about catching monster crappie when they’re casting jerkbaits for bass.”

Crappie professional Travis Bunting will pull out jerkbaits occasionally.

He said on his home lake, Ozark Lake in Arkansas, “The fish will come up and hit a crank at five feet. Throw a 2.5 to 5.5-inch jerkbait on 8-pound fluorocarbon line. I prefer a 6-foot ultra-stiff pole.”

Bunting experiments with different retrieves but says you should always include pauses in your retrieve. Sometimes extremely long pauses. The key is to imitate a shad stressed out by the colder water temperatures. Strikes often occur while the lure is sitting dead still, suspended in the water.

“It’s a fun and challenging way to fish,” said Bunting. “It’s the best way to find the most active and biggest fish.”

More on this and other great tips available in the book “300+ Crappie Fishing Tips.”

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