How to Fish For Crappie – Effective Tips and Techniques for Beginners (and not so Beginners)

how to fish for crappie


If you are looking for information on how to fish for crappie, you have come to the right place! Crappie fishing is one of the best and most fun experiences out there. It is my favorite type of fishing.


Crappie are feisty. They can be aggressive and they are a hoot to pull in. They may be on the small side of fish in the lake, but they fight big!


They are also very tasty fish. Anyone that has tried them will tell you that they taste amazing. People I know (myself included) will catch and clean crappie for weeks until we have enough for a fish fry.


Fish fries at my house are extremely popular. My kids don’t even like fish. But when I fry up a batch of crappie, they are gone before they have a chance to make it to the table!


That is why people love to catch crappie. But the truth is that crappie can be a bit finicky and hard to catch. You require some tiny bit of specialized gear as well as some basic techniques and tips to be successful.


You cannot just go to Walmart and buy a catfish rod and expect to catch crappie. That will not work. I know because I tried it. It was absolute misery to watch people around me reel in crappie after crappie while I caught nothing.


This post will give you the basic knowledge you will need to effectively fish for crappie. Don’t worry, it is neither expensive nor difficult!

fishing rod



This post is written for the casual or beginner crappie fisherman/woman. If this is your first attempt at crappie fishing or if you do not intend on going crappie fishing more than a couple times then you will need very basic and inexpensive equipment.


You will need:


  • A rod and reel
  • Fishing line
  • Hooks
  • Split Shot
  • Bait
  • A Bobber


Let’s briefly go over each piece of equipment;


1- Rod: You will need a fishing rod that will have enough bend at the tip that you will be able to see when the crappie bite. Crappie bites are very subtle and the rod you choose needs to be sensitive enough to register it.


Check out my Black Max fishing rod and reel combo review here!


Catfish poles are too stiff and thick at the tip. They will not work very well. Walmart and other sports/outdoor stores have many inexpensive poles that will do the trick (around $20). For your kids, the spiderman or barbie poles will work like a charm.


There are many cane poles that are made specifically for crappie fishing. These are long poles (15 – 25 ft) that do not require a reel. They are also very inexpensive ($10-$20).


2 – Fishing Line: The tackle you will use for crappie is small and light. In order to be effective, you will need some very light fishing line. I like 6 pound test line. I find it to be strong enough to pull in bigger fish that might happen on your crappie bait.


I also find it strong enough to survive the inevitable hangups you will encounter. Go for high visibility line (bright yellow or red). Regular mono line will work just fine ($5).


3- Hooks: Get Aberdeen hooks. These are thin gauge wire hooks made specifically for catching pan fish like Crappie and Bluegills. They have long shanks so that you can easily remove them from the fish.


They are also thin enough that they will straighten when hung. This increases your chances of saving your tackle instead of having it break off at every hangup. Expect to lose some tackle so buy enough to last the day. Expect to spend $2-$3.


4 – Split Shot: This is a round clamp-on style weight. It will go 8 -12 inches above the Aberdeen hooks. Make sure it is heavy enough to quickly sink your bait to the depth that you want. If you pick a split shot that is too light, the minnow will be able to swim anywhere it wants to.


The weight needs to be just heavy enough to prevent the minnow from swimming back up to the surface. Be warned that a split shot that is too heavy it will drag your bobber below the surface. You will spend less than $3.


5- Bait: Crappie will attack worms, grubs, crickets and minnows. I have never had a lot of success with any other live bait than minnows. Crappies love minnows! Thy are super easy to purchase. You can find then at any bait shop. You can also buy feeder minnows at pet stores. These can be pretty cool because sometimes they are in a different color. There is a pet store that sells pink minnows. By the way, I have not found that crappies prefer pink minnows over normal ones.


Anyways, stick to “normal” minnows. If given the choice, do not buy minnows for Bass fishing. They can be a bit too big. Ask for medium minnows! In North Texas, minnows sell for $3/dozen.




6- Bobber: This is an essential piece of tackle. You can get a fixed bobber that you attach at a certain distance above your Aberdeen hook. This is for fishing at a fixed depth no deeper than the length of your fishing pole.


If you want your bait to sink deeper than a few feet, you will need a slip bobber. This will take a bit more skill to set up but don’t worry it is not hard at all. You will need a slip bobber, a bead and a bobber stopper.


Here is a picture of most of what you will need.  Its pretty cheap if you go to your local Walmart!


crappie fishing tackle














The setup is fairly easy. This is how you would set up your line with a slip bobber.


  • Insert bobber stopper
  • Insert bead
  • Slide in the bobber
  • Tie your hook on
  • Attach the slit shot


I will make a video soon and post it so you can see how I do it!

Fishing from shore



Now you need to find a place to fish for crappie. If you have a boat or know someone with a boat, then you are set!


If you are like me and don’t have a boat, you need to do some detective work. Look online for lakes that are nearby. Also, look for local fishing forums. They are FULL of useful information. I have found at least 10 obscure, little known fishing spots through fishing forums.


My advice is to look for a fishing barge or public docks. One of the reasons I say this is because it can be “easier” to catch crappie from barges and docks. If you are going to take young children, you want to catch fish as soon as possible to keep their interest 🙂


I have a young daughter that got bored within 30 minutes of starting fishing. After 45 minutes we would have to pack up and go home. I found that her interest would last much longer when she was catching fish.


She never caught any crappie, but I set her up to catch bluegills. Since they are abundant and easy to catch, she would be entertained for hours…..And I could fish for crappie in relative peace 🙂


Having said all that, you do not have to limit your fishing to barges and docks. You can absolutely fish from any bank on any creek, river or lake that is near you. Make sure to look for cover and that you fish around that cover. If you are fishing a creek or river, look for areas away from the current that contain cover like reeds, stumps or overhangs.





The list above is for beginners and folks that fish every once in a while. The list of tackle is very simple and rudimentary. You can certainly expand and add to the technique. You can add jig heads and jigs. You can vertical jig or cast and recover. Check this post out if you want to include more advanced techniques.


I hope you found this post helpful. If you have anythings you would like to add to this post, or if you have any comments please add them to the comments section below.



If you go out fishing, please come back and let me know how it went. I would love to hear from you.


Good fishin’ to you,



2 thoughts on “How to Fish For Crappie – Effective Tips and Techniques for Beginners (and not so Beginners)”

  1. I like fishing. But, to be honest, I didn’t fishing before. I live in Hong Kong, I can’t find any nice place to let me fishing and nobody around me like fishing.

    Whenever I watch the video on Youtube talk about fishing in another country, I feel the environment is really nice and fishing is really fun.

    In the coming year, I may go to the USA. I hope I will have a chance to be a crappie fisherman one day and enjoy the natural environment at that time.

    I will remember what your post teaches me of how to catch crappie and all the equipment. What you write is simple, totally not difficult to implement. And the price is not high too.

    I believe my family will have fun at that time. They like to eat fry fish also. Every time buy fry fish outside, they must finish all LOL.

    Thx for teaching me to be a crappie fisherman.

    • Hi CT! Thanks for your comment. Crappie fishing is definitely an awesome hobby because you get to spend time in nature. If you ever come to Texas, hit me up on this blog and I will definitely take you to the local lakes. You will be a crappie fisherman in no time!

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