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View Full Version : Why do crappie like a still jig?



Zippy
03-28-2015, 10:32 PM
Has anyone ever thought about this? I know the easy answer is they just do but I was wondering what about a crappie makes them prefer this presentation. With bass and almost all other gamefish a seductive action usually triggers more strikes. In most cases with crappie it seems like it's the opposite. Too much action and sometimes anything other than just sitting there seems to spook them. i have caught way more crappie in my life with no action. Even a slow steady retreive when casting outfishes a jigged lure every time. When verticle jigging it almost always a still jig that gets the strike. Just wondering why.

DockShootinJack
03-28-2015, 10:40 PM
For allot of your crappie jigs. Tubes, stingers from Southern Pro, Bobby Garland baby Shad at never still the tail or tails on a tube are almost always moving. Even if its very slight. Could mimic an injured bait fish or one that just isn't paying attention. But one thing is for sure a meal you don't have to chase is an easy meal.

deathb4disco
03-28-2015, 10:46 PM
For allot of your crappie jigs. Tubes, stingers from Southern Pro, Bobby Garland baby Shad at never still the tail or tails on a tube are almost always moving. Even if its very slight.

This ^^^^^

What we consider "still" is not necessarily "still" to crappie.

That being said, a slow, steady retrieve has accounted for about 99% of my crappie.

matzilla
03-28-2015, 10:49 PM
easy meal...

its funny because through the ice they never really go after a stationary jig

DockShootinJack
03-28-2015, 10:51 PM
I am with Deathb4disco. Slowing down and fishing has accounted for most of the crappie I catch. I will fish an area being someone that has been reeling jigs at hyper speed and pick up fish they left. Usually bigger fish than the ones I saw them catch.

Zippy
03-28-2015, 10:56 PM
I guess that's true, the boat is moving, I'm talking,turning to look at the sonar, laughing etc. that's gotta be wiggling that thing under the surface. I just know that before I really started to get into crappie and I tried for them I was really jigging. I mean it's called a jig right? Anyhow my catch was never great. Once I calmed down I was amazed that one little pop and then a long rest brought all the strikes. The other day I found a stump in 13 feet of water loaded with fish. All it took was dropping the jig down and leaving it there. 10 - 15 seconds later thump you had one. I just love that, lol.

deathb4disco
03-28-2015, 11:01 PM
I just know that before I really started to get into crappie and I tried for them I was really jigging. I mean it's called a jig right?

In forty years of jig fishing for crappie, I have never "jigged" my jig. A slow, steady retrieve rules.

DockShootinJack
03-28-2015, 11:02 PM
Take a jig on a line and hold it in a glass of water and see if you can hold it still. Did this with a badly shad style jig and some hand tied marbou. Your very beat is enough to make them move especially the tail. Had some minnows in an aquarium they would suspend and not move except the tail and fins would be moving a little. Holding the above mentioned jig in the tank gave very similar movements as the live minnow. Which after all what we are trying to convince the crappie our jig is.

Zippy
03-28-2015, 11:09 PM
Thats true, I guess I have never seen a minnow bobbing up and down. Usually they just sit there and flit their fins a bit to stay in place.

skeetbum
03-29-2015, 08:14 AM
In winter I (and several others) fish deep timber with braid and heavy jigs. As already stated and occasional tap of motion is all I try to give the jig. Several times this past winter I had seen a fish on the sonar and tapped the jig once, a very slight motion, and let it be still again. Seconds later a thump was the reward. I too am convinced that less is more as imparting motion to the jig has resulted in less fish for the partner until he began "dead sticking" as I was. On a brush pile I use what I was once told was the "pitch and glide". Pitch the jig, usually very light. Take a half a turn on the reel til the line lays in a bow from your raised rod tip and let it fall. Watching the line and counting as it falls will give you an idea of how deep the fish are when the line twitches as the fish takes it. When it gets below where I have caught fish before I begin a very slow retrieve, barely turning the reel and keeping the jig as close to the strike zone as I can. No retrieve is complete without a stall of a half a second to let it fall momentarily before resuming it's path, frequently triggering a strike. When you think you're going slow enough, slow down some more. That was told to me many years back and holds true yet today.

skiptomylu
03-29-2015, 08:43 AM
In forty years of jig fishing for crappie, I have never "jigged" my jig. A slow, steady retrieve rules.

Very similar to what I see, in spring i long line troll with one Rod in hand and I keep my boat moving .4 to .8 MPH and last few years it's been closer to the .4 and it's hard to reel that slow, but is very effective!

Skip

Zippy
03-29-2015, 09:15 AM
This winter we found a c shaped cut along the main river channel. The cut was big, about 50 feet across and loaded with crappie. Saw a friend of mine back in a shallow cove fishing minnows. When he came out of the cove he asked me how I was doing? Told him I had caught a few nice ones. He had caught nothing. I asked why he was fishing the cove and he said that's were the crappie are, they like it shallow with minnows. This was a warm day in February that felt like spring. Told him that although it feels like spring to us the fish know it's still winter and are holding right on the bottom. He was again invited to share my spot but he said he had his own spots down the river he wanted to check out (shallow tributary). About an hour later he was back having caught nothing, I was just reeling in my 20th fish. This time he took me up on my offer and anchored his boat just up from me and dropped his giant minnows to the bottom. I quickly noticed that he was jigging the live minnows aggressively. "You need to slow down" I said as I pulled up another nice fish. "The minnows are too big I think, switch to a small jig and just let it sit there" I yelled over, he didn't listen. After an hour he gave up frustrated. Some people refuse to learn.

Yaker
03-29-2015, 11:35 AM
Great thread,I catch most of my crappie by swinging a jig past structure ( logs/tree stumps ) and letting it sink back towards me.Often the bight comes as the jig settles into a dead stick position.

Zippy
03-29-2015, 11:42 AM
Yeah that lob and swing method works really good. No retrieve, just lob it out, keep your rod tip high and wait for the twich as the jig swings back under you. This talk is making me want to drop my chores and go fishing. So many friends of mine don't understand why I love crappie fishing, they see it as just slightly better than a 6 year old with a plastic bobber and a dough ball. It's those subtleties of the bite then the feeling of that weight that is so addicting. Whenever I get invited on a charter to catch tuna, or Marlin I decline. What fun is that, hooking a huge fish that I had little or nothing to do with the actual catch other than cranking it in. I would rather dead stick a 13 inch crappie that I found sitting next to an old stump thank you very much.

CrappiePappy
03-29-2015, 12:09 PM
Zippy .... try this sometime : Crappie Pappy Article (http://www.crappie.com/articles/crappiepappy.htm)

... cp :kewl

Zippy
03-29-2015, 03:35 PM
Thanks crappiepappy can't wait to try it. Going out next week and are hoping they are still deep. Am I crazy for like verticle presentations over casting?

deathb4disco
03-29-2015, 03:45 PM
Am I crazy for like verticle presentations over casting?

Vertical presentations have a lot of advantages (like depth control.) Ice fishing is 100% vertical fishing.

However, vertical fishing is not always possible. If you're fishing from the bank or if the water's clear, casting is usually a better option.

Bob/MN
03-29-2015, 04:47 PM
(IMHO) Crappies have to chase down their food on most occasions. If they get the opportunity for a easy meal they will take it.
During the hard water season 100% of the time the bite comes on a near motionless lure. During the soft water season 75% of the bites come from a near motionless jig under a fixed bobber. The other 25% of the bites come from slow trolling a jig.

Gabepeeps
03-29-2015, 05:26 PM
I am with Deathb4disco. Slowing down and fishing has accounted for most of the crappie I catch. I will fish an area being someone that has been reeling jigs at hyper speed and pick up fish they left. Usually bigger fish than the ones I saw them catch.

I agree about catching bigger fish while fishing faster. I was fishing a dock one time with a slip float and jig/minnow combo. When the wind would push me to close to the dock, I would move the boat away with the tm. Every time I did, I would catch a bigger fish. I would get a reaction strike. So now when I shoot docks, I always reel in my jig fast or erratically when the bite slows or when I'm picking up smaller fish.

lowe175
03-29-2015, 06:22 PM
I think during the spawn it's in there bed longer any other time who knows. I'm about 50/50 on this topic because I catch a lot of crappie twitching or popping other times slow and steady is the ticket.

Donald@CrappieLogic
03-29-2015, 06:28 PM
in the spring I am swimming my jig 90% of the time

kickingback
03-30-2015, 06:39 AM
The question is "Why do crappie like a still jig?"... Well most of the time it just pisses them off to see an intruder in their area. If they see a jig in their spawning beds they do whatever they can t get rid of it, moving or not. Those crappie are predator fish and will strike at jigs to either eat or make them leave. That is all the crappie do!
Sometime they will be there where you drop your jig but will not bite. When you add scents then the crappie smell it as well as see it. That is when it really drives them batty!

lowe175
03-30-2015, 08:44 AM
2 what kickingback said

Tadpole!!
03-31-2015, 01:07 PM
Has anyone ever thought about this? I know the easy answer is they just do but I was wondering what about a crappie makes them prefer this presentation. With bass and almost all other gamefish a seductive action usually triggers more strikes. In most cases with crappie it seems like it's the opposite. Too much action and sometimes anything other than just sitting there seems to spook them. i have caught way more crappie in my life with no action. Even a slow steady retreive when casting outfishes a jigged lure every time. When verticle jigging it almost always a still jig that gets the strike. Just wondering why.

Easy pickings. It is as simple as that.

John M
03-31-2015, 02:11 PM
As someone that bass fishes quite a bit, a very popular technique is called dead sticking. It's the hesitation the immediately follows some type of movement ( The fall,twitch,stop and go retrieve) when using a topwater bait ,worm,jig n pig, senko. Or it could be the movement imparted by nature, current, wind etc.

skiptomylu
03-31-2015, 06:13 PM
One more thing came into my mind on the subject, have you ever just powered a jig in the water and looked at it while it's just sitting there? Even the hackle tail kind of feathers open up in the water so that would also make it have a lot of movement even when we hold it still. So I think that is why especially when they are on brush in summer they like it just holding still as we can. However I do catch a lot with just slow moving jigs.

CrappiePappy
03-31-2015, 07:26 PM
One more thing came into my mind on the subject, have you ever just powered a jig in the water and looked at it while it's just sitting there? Even the hackle tail kind of feathers open up in the water so that would also make it have a lot of movement even when we hold it still. So I think that is why especially when they are on brush in summer they like it just holding still as we can. However I do catch a lot with just slow moving jigs.

Exactly, Skip .... I mean, what are we trying to do with these jigs (?) ... answer: imitate a minnow !! And how many of us have ever seen a minnow "jumping up/down/around" under the water ??? Likely not many, if any. SO .... yeah, we hold the jig steady to imitate a "resting" minnow, and we slowly move the jig to imitate a minnow on the move. Simple as that.

Now ... there's going to be those that say ... wait a minute, what about when you're long line trolling at a pretty good clip ?? Ain't seen no minnow that could or would maintain those speeds over any distance !! Well, IMHO ... those bites are reaction bites. And if you don't have your jig within striking range, you aren't likely to have those Crappie rise very far to its level or chase it down, either.

... cp :kewl

"G"
03-31-2015, 08:22 PM
There is really no such thing as a perfectly still jig....even if you think you are holding it still it is moving. Maribou and hair seem to undulate and breathe....soft plastics all have some tail movement

healthnspector
03-31-2015, 08:39 PM
thanks for sharing...will add to my 'arsenal'...haha. Have never tried this, always like to learn something new.

NIMROD
04-01-2015, 05:04 PM
Sometimes they perfer more or less action, but try this . Hold a jig out in the air just like you do fishing , not moving. Can't be perfectly still on the end of a long jig pole , it's always wiggling ! When teaching jig fishing or explaining techniques I start off having someone attempt to hold their pole with jig on the end of the line still , can't be done. Sometimes the fish want it on the fall but many times I swim it over a stump or limb ,letting it fall on a semi tight line.

Bob/MN
04-02-2015, 10:03 AM
During the hard water season I have found inactive crappies will not take a moving bait on occasion. These fish are referred to as sniffers. They will look at a bait for sometimes five minutes. The bite is extremely lite and a spring bobber is a must.
To prevent any lure movement I rest the ice rod on my knee and watch the spring bobber for a slight twitch. I also use a inline reel to help prevent lure spin.