Big Baits for Big Crappie

Big crappie like to eat big stuff. How many times have you been cleanin’ a mess and been shocked at how big some of the shad are in a big crappie’s belly. As crappie anglers we throw small lures; 1/64 oz. jigs with # 8 hooks, 1 1/2″ grubs and other small baits. Sure we’re trying to fill a limit and we’ll get more bites with the small stuff, but what if you’re looking for big crappie? How many times have you went against the grain and thrown big lures for bigger crappie?

Bigger baits catch bigger fish, here are some of the tips our crew has come up with to put bigger crappie in the boat. 

Up Size what you throw

big baits mean big crappie


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This is simple, take your favorite crappie lure and up size it. If you normally throw a 2″ grub change up to a 3″ or even 4″ and put it on a bigger head with a longer hook. It can be that easy, same action, same color just a little bigger size can have amazing results. On a lot of the more popular crappie lures you may have to get a little creative to up size, tubes can be up sized to a Southern Pro Walleye Tube, 2.5″ long and a some great colors. Bobby Garland offers several of their baits in a larger sizes, and a number of bass lure manufactures make 3″ swimbaits that can be deadly on big crappie.

Throw Bass Baits

big baits for big crappie


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A long time ago anglers at Lake of Ozarks in Missouri discovered they would catch big crappie in the winter and early spring while bass fishing with stickbaits. Stickbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are all great options for big crappie. Smaller stickbaits like Lucky Craft Pointer 78 or Bass Pro Shops XTS Minnows are smaller than their bass counter parts. Small crankbaits have a place as well particularly when crappie are holding tight to brush, Strike King Slab Hammer baits are awesome around brush piles, they dive to around 5′ deep and come through brush like a champ. 1/8 oz. small frame spinnerbaits are another great option, we like to throw them around standing timber. Cast beyond the tree, count it down to the right depth and swim it back through the tree limbs.

Use Bigger Minnows

big baits for big crappie


Depending on where you buy your bait a lot of shops offer a couple sizes of minnows, usually the standard crappie minnow is a #4, but in some shops you can buy #6 minnows, they may call them bass minnows instead of crappie. Using bigger baits does require an up size in tackle a little larger hook and split shot and possibly a larger float as well.

Bigger crappie are usually holding a little deeper than the smaller ones in a school. if you’re catching small crappie around 6′ deep, try dropping to 8′ or even 10′ to see if it makes a difference.

Bigger crappie are out there, so whether you’re looking to up grade a derby limit or just want some bigger fillets for the fryer, up sizing your baits and changing your presentation can get it done for you.