By Josh Boyd
With spring setting just over the horizon, many anglers are beginning to have vivid visions of boating slab crappie at a break-neck pace. If this sounds like you, it is quite likely that you have already begun gathering your poles, checking the line on your reels, and pouring over your tackle box.
As you prepare to head to the lake in search of crappie catching glory and banner afternoons on the water, it is worth taking a second look at your gear selection. Although most anglers can certainly catch crappie on whatever tackle they have at their disposal, this certainly does not mean that they could not maximize their efficiency and boat more crappie by making a few adjustments.
In a recent interview with B’n’M Crappie Pro David Jones during his recent seminar series at Cabela’s in Bowling Green, Kentucky, David shared his list of gear that he never heads to the lake without. He also discussed why he considers these items to be vital for anyone looking to consistently boat crappie on any body of water.
A Good Rod
High on Jones’ list of go-to gear is a quality rod of the right length and sensitivity, that allows an angler to feel the hits of even the lightest biting crappie. “There is one thing that works on every lake, and that is to get and use a good pole,” Jones said.
“Many people ask me why they need a good pole, and that is because crappie are so sensitive. They will come up sometimes and barely suck that minnow in, or barely suck that jig in, and if you don’t have a good pole, you’re not going to detect that bite,” Jones continued. “I would rather have one good pole, then five cheap poles,” said Jones.
Double Minnow Rig
David Jones also had words of wisdom to share regarding what you should be tying onto the end of your line if livewells and fish baskets full of crappie are what you are after. Jones fishes for highly depth-oriented crappie with the use of a Capps and Coleman Double Minnow Rig, utilizing its dual minnow, staggered depth rigging to ensure that he has bait in front of feeding crappie at all times.
“I do not fish without this,” Jones said regarding the Double Minnow Rig. “You double your chances,” he continued. The Capps and Coleman double minnow rig comes in five different sizes and features two hooks, with one being eight inches below an egg sinker, and another being 20”-22” above the sinker, tied into a swivel and leader. “If you’re fishing live bait, you’re missing the boat if you are not fishing this right here,” Jones said.
Although David Jones regularly utilizes live bait in conjunction with the Double Minnow Rig, he is also no stranger to throwing quality plastics to much success when the situation warrants such. Like most anglers, he has his go-to plastics that he has found to be consistent producers, time and time again, no matter the body of water.
“I have heard some people say that they don’t like to fish live bait, and that is okay. My number one plastic bait that I go to is a bait made by Southern Pro. It is a minnow tube in Baby Bass color, and I put crappie nibbles on it,” said Jones. He capped this off by saying, “I recommend them this spring. They will produce many fish.”
Yet another item that David Jones does not leave home without is Crappie Nibbles. Made by Berkley, Crappie Nibbles can be threaded onto a hook and fished in conjunction with any jig or live bait, and according to Jones, the results speak for themselves.
“I never fish a plastic that I do not put this right here on,” Jones said about crappie nibbles. “I promise you these work. I put two on instead of one because it seems to produce more bites. They are scented, and after a period of time dissolve in the water, and look like scales floating around that makes fish feel like other fish are feeding on shad,” continued Jones. “They will produce more fish for you,” he said.
Gear That Simply Works
As you prepare for the spring fishing season ahead, take stock of your gear selection and seek to find areas in which you can make strides toward improved angling efficiency. By taking into account your setup’s current shortcomings, you can better your chances of consistently putting crappie in the boat. With a limit of crappie in your livewell, your only regret will likely be that you didn’t make these subtle changes to your gear selection sooner.