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How To Rig A Crappie Swimbait To Catch More Fish

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Fish are one of the most popular targets for anglers. They provide a great source of protein and a great way to spend time with loved ones, by a lake or a stream. Fishing is a sport that people of all ages can enjoy together.

But not every fish is worth the effort to catch, and some fishing spots have different requirements than others. For example, crappie fishing on lakes requires different bait than crappie fishing in streams does. In this post, we’ll explore how you can rig your swimbait to make it more effective for catching crappie and other small-mouth fish species.

Before exploring, we must know first..

What is Crappie Fishing?

Crappie fishing is a sport that targets the black, white and yellow crappie species for capture. Crappies are members of the sunfish family and are widely distributed across North America. They are an excellent source of protein with fewer bones than other fish species.

Is Bass Fishing Different?

Bass fishing is another popular sport in North America. It employs strategies that are different from crappie, but can also be caught on swimbaits. Yes, it’s different!

Tips & Techniques from Crappie Anglers

Here are some of the tips from professional crappie anglers that you can use, especially when you are a beginner:

Rod Tip

Keep your rod tip high. This will allow you to detect strikes quickly and react accordingly. Tie your line to the end of the rod tip. This will allow you to cast further and more accurately, especially when you are in open water.

Some of the best rods with a fast action tip for swimbait would be the Dobyn’s Rods Fury Series 795SB.

Fish in Shallow Water

Crappie is known to be bottom feeders, which means that they will typically stay in the shallows. Keep this in mind when you’re locating them.

Trolling Motor

Try using a trolling motor to move your boat at slow speeds. This will allow you to cover more water, and be able to detect the slightest movements from your swimbait.

Use Live Bait

Live bait like earthworms or nightcrawlers can be very effective when used as a trailer for your lures. You can also use crayfish, which are typically available during cooler seasons where crappie is present.

Find Areas With Slope & Cover

Crappies usually prefer to stay around drop-offs that have some type of cover nearby.

Check Brush Piles

While crappies are bottom feeders, they will also move upwards to find food. By checking brush piles you should be able to detect them easily.

Use a Fishing Swimbaits

It triggers fish to strike with slow tantalizing movement. There are several types of swimbaits that you can use, which are dependent on the type of water you’re fishing in.

If possible, using different types will increase your odds of catching more fish since they’ll be more likely to bite at one than another depending on species and availability.

Learn Strike Zone

The area forward of the swimbait, in which the fish will strike depending on species.

Let’s take a look at some techniques you can employ to fish for crappie when using swimbaits:

  • Fishing Knots: First, you need to tie your line to your lure. The best knots are the Palomar knot and the Improved Cinch knot. These are both easy enough to tie and won’t come apart easily, even after repeated use.
  • Casting & Retrieve: This is one of the most important parts of catching with a lure like a swimbait. You’ll want to cast it out, and give it time to sink down before bringing it back slowly.
  • Spider Rigging: This technique entails adding additional weight so that your bait can get past cover like a brush pile. You simply tie 6 to 8-inch dropper lines with small split shot sinkers on each. This allows the bait to go past underwater obstacles easily without any resistance.
  • Split Shot Rigging: Instead of using a Spider rig, you’re also able to place one or two split shots onto your line directly. This is easier than tying individual droppers since it requires fewer materials and effort.It’s effective in areas that lack cover since it will allow your swimbait to sink quickly upon entering the water.  

Different Lures and Baits

Crappie Fish are not picky eaters. They will eat almost anything that they can fit into their mouths. That’s why using bait with a natural swimming action is recommended in waters containing these fish species. But remember…

It’s not just about how it swims but also how it looks! Use shiny colors like silver, gold, or even better glow-in-the-dark colors if seizing fis at nighttime so you’ll get more bites from crappies & other small-mouth fishes.

Jig Weights

This is a simple way of adding weight to your hook without using split shot sinkers. They come in different colors and sizes so choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Jig Head

This type of weight is usually cone-shaped with an eyelet on top. The eyelet allows you to tie or snap it onto your line, increasing or decreasing the level of hook penetration depending on the situation.


These are the best types of live bait to use if you’re targeting crappies. Minnow can be found in most ponds, lakes, and even river systems during the springtime.

Smaller Fish

You can use smaller minnows, shiners, or even fingerlings if you want to get an upper hand. Using these types of live bait will allow you to get more fish since they don’t seem so suspicious compared to using larger minnows.

Techniques To Catch Giant Crappie

In most cases, crappies are considered as easy prey when compared with other species of fish. And while they’re not the biggest and baddest around, there is a specific technique that you can use to get gigantic specimens.

Here’s How:

Combine several techniques like jighead and jig weights to maximize your chances of catching giant crappies. They’ll get hooked easily by the jighead, while the minnow is natural motion will increase your odds even more.

Use soft plastic lures like 3″ jerkbaits to imitate one of their favorite food sources like shad. Spider rigging with a jig head or using a split shot rig is also recommended. This will allow you to go through covers like brush pile and docks more efficiently.

Best Crappie Bait Rigs

Although you’ll have to use different types of lure rigging depending on the depth, wind, tide, etc… There are three techniques that are best used when fishing for crappies.

Drag Rigging

This is the most effective way of catching crappies in deepest water during high winds since it doesn’t require any action from your part. You can do it yourself or with the help of a friend.

For those who don’t want to use this rigging, this is one of the easiest way to fish since all you have to do is cast and let your line go into the water.

Bounce Rigging

This type of rigging uses an incapacitated jig that doesn’t require you to reel or use any form of movement. You can also tie the jig directly on your line for this rigging type.

Split Shot Rigging

Fishing this way is very versatile. It can be used in almost all situations, including rivers and ponds with heavy current, strong winds, and even low tide periods. All you have to do is put your line up, snap on the split shot sinker, and start fishing!

Using jigheads with minnow or spinner bait will increase your odds of landing monster crappies. You can also use soft plastics like shad-imitating jerk baits if you want to go after trophies in deep water.

Jigheads & Weights

You can add extra weight or action to your hook by using either of these types. They’re used in all kinds of situations depending on the availability of cover and the depth of water.

Choose one that best suits you or experiment with all three if you want to find out which one works the best for you.

Jerk Bait Rigging

If you’re fishing in ponds or other areas where crappies are spread out, this is one of the best rigging techniques to use. It works for any water depth and can be applied when you don’t want your jig to fall too fast.


Crappies are known to go after different types of lures depending on the season, time of the day, and even the water temperature. In this case, crankbaits such as Johnny Stewart’s Spook Jr can be used during springtime when you’re not able to use live bait to go after them.

When using soft plastics, use a technique called “high-sticking”. This will allow you to catch more fish since the plastic will swim in a natural motion.

Crappie Swimbait

Knowing where to rig is an advantage to fish giant crappie. That’s why it’s very important to understand where the crappies will be most likely hiding.

For instance, you can use ledge or drop-offs since they act as natural cover for these fish. You can also choose points, points with ramps, ledges without ramps, flats, etc…

Deeper Water Crappie Swimbait Rigs

This is a great technique for catching fish in deeper water. You can use a flat line with a simple rubber band so your swimbait swims naturally, or you can add additional weight to fish in even greater depths.

Shallower Water Crappie Swimbait Rigs

This rigging technique is a good option for catching around grass beds or brush pile. You can use a bobber stopper or create your own using twine and split shot sinkers. This will allow you to go snagless when crappies are in these areas.

Clear Water Crappie Swimbait Rigs

When you fish in extremely clear water areas, try using a slip bobber for this type of rigging. This will allow your swimbait to appear more natural by swimming just below the surface of the water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Catch a Suspended Fish?

Yes, you can! One of the most effective ways to seize suspended crappies is by using a slip bobber rig.

Although this is just one of the options, it’s very easy to use and works in most areas with a cover that crappies are likely hiding.

What’s the Most Aggressive Fish?

Inshore-type crappies are very aggressive. They’re usually in shallower water and will swim towards the surface with a single bait if it’s floating or swimming right below it.

Sometimes, they’ll even hit the bait so hard that you won’t even notice.

Can I Use Crappie Swimbait Anywhere?

Yes, you can! One way to land trophy-size crappies is by catching in deeper waters using this rigging technique.

It works best when the lake or pond has an abundance of covers like trees or rock piles. You can also use it in deep water during low tide periods.

Where do Crappies Hide During Daytime?

Crappies are usually found under large rocks, logs, and other objects where they feel safe from predators like bass and walleye.

Because of this, you should choose your swimbait according to what cover they’re hiding under.

Where do Crappies Hide During Dusk and Dawn?

Crappies will look for the deepest water areas during these periods. They’ll usually go under logs, fallen trees, and big rocks rather than small debris like twigs or sand patches.

That’s why it’s important to know where crappies are hiding in the daytime so you can seize them again once the sun goes down.

Do Crappies School Together?

Although they don’t school together as trout do, they do move around in schools of 2-5 fishes when the temperature is very low during early morning times or at night.

You can still use this rigging technique effectively even if there aren’t any crappies around to get one by yourself!

What Bait Can I Use?

One of the most effective baits to use is a soft plastic one. It mimics real fishes and will be able to simulate a swimming motion when you use this rigging technique.

There are many options available so choose the one that’s most natural for your area or go for color variations if they’re relevant.

How Do I Rig My Crappie Swimbait?

In order to rig your swimbait, secure it on top of your main line using a Palomar knot. Once done, tie the other end directly below the first eyelet on your swivel. Do it carefully since this part is crucial in determining how well your swimbait will work!

After that, add a split shot sinker approximately 1 foot above the swivel. When done, secure your slip bobber on top of this sinker using another Palomar knot. If you’re using a slip bobber besides the one included in our package, use a Palomar knot to tie it securely around your mainline instead.

Can I Use Crappie Swimbait With Other Bait?

Yes, you can! In fact, you can use it along with two jigs or a minnow once the crappies have been attracted to your swimbait.

You can also use this technique for other types of fishes like trout and walleye so feel free to experiment no matter which species you’re going after.

Where is a Good Place to Rig a Fish Swimbaits?

While crappies are known to be secretive feeders, they’ll usually go for anything that’s swimming near them as long as there isn’t any danger.

Because of this, try rigging it right underneath logs, over rocks on steep drop-offs, and even around weed lines as long as they aren’t too thick or big.

What Depth Should I Rig?

Once your sinker touches the bottom or there are less than 6 inches still sticking out from the surface, that’s when you should start reeling in slowly while adjusting your bobber to float around 1 foot above the ground.

If it suddenly dips under without moving towards you or going up and down, set the hook immediately since there might be fishes underneath it!

Where Do I keep My Crappie Swimbait When Not in Use?

You can keep your swimbait safely inside a tackle box with some Formalin if you’ve been using it for a while.

It’ll prevent the plastic from getting torn apart and will make it last longer! Otherwise, you can keep it inside a mesh bag while hanging on a rope or pole where other fishes won’t be able to get to them easily.

How to Get Big Crappie?

In order to get big crappie, you’ll need to use heavier lures ranging from ¼-1 oz in weight.

It’ll help in attracting them towards your swimbait while adding more colors and features will give it more natural characteristics that they can’t resist!

Is it Best to Go Crappie Swimbait in Spring?

Although crappies are available all year long since they’re able to adjust their spawning periods according to the environment, it’s best to fish for them during springtime.

That’s because more crappies will be moving towards shallower waters where they’ll leave easier traces of their presence.

Final Thoughts on How to Rig a Crappie Swimbait

Yes! Once you’ve pulled up your swimbait, reel in slowly until the bobber is near the surface again. Do it carefully so you don’t pull out any fishes underneath it before casting it back into place.

After that, make sure you know which depth the crappies are at or else they might get scared of your lure if you keep on catching them deeper than usual. So remember these tips and use them for your next swimbait trip!