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Tightlining for Crappie

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"If being forced to pick one method for catching crappie consistently year-round, I would have to choose tightlining with a double-hook rig.  It produces fish under practically all conditions."

   Getting maximum results from the tightline rig depends on the type of equipment you use and the terminal rig you make, which is quite simple and can be made in minutes.  First, tie a 1 or 2 oz. bell sinker to the tag end of about 6 feet on 20-lb. monofilament line and a barrel swivel to the upper end.  Eighteen inches above the sinker, tie on a StandOut hook from Blakemore. Repeat with another StandOut hook about 18" above the first one.  Thats it!   You may want to tie several of these rigs before you head out to the lake.  There are crappie rigs already made and available in stores, but they are made with wire loops and tangles easily.
   The bell sinker for this rig is primarily used to "bounce" the rig on the bottom, and to detect objects such as stumps, brushpiles, rocks, etc... The reason for the 20-lb. monofilament is to prevent a constant tangle, and is also appropriate to use when fishing in brush and getting snagged frequently. If you're fishing in a clear lake, you may want to drop down to a 12 or 15-lb. test.  The barrel swivel on the top of the rig is there so it can be attached to a snap swivel on your main line quickly in the event the rig gets broken off in the brush.  Keeping the hooks 18" apart will help you compensate for minor variances in depth the crappie prefers from one day to the next.
   The key to rod or pole selection is light-weight & sensitivity.  Any jig pole or fly rod can be used, but I like to use 10-foot jig poles from B'n'M because these poles makes it easier to detect solid structures and light bites almost immediately.

   The basic procedure for catching crappie with this type of equipment is simple.  After using your depthfinder to find a good drop-off with structure, toss out a floating marker buoy to pinpoint the underwater brushpile, stump or rockpiles. Put a minnow or a soft plastic jig with wax worm on each StandOut hook and lower the rig in the water until the sinker hit the bottom.  Keep all slack out of your line and begin lifting & lowering the rod to bounce the sinker on bottom.  This can be done while anchored or while slow-trolling. 
   When fish are active or hanging in shallower water you want to slowly raise your rod up or reel your line up very slowly until you get a strike.  Once you notice which hook the crappie strikes on, you may want to raise or lower your rod slightly, putting both hooks into the higher productive zone. 
   Doing this, and slow trolling from one spot to another works well during the spring and fall months.  With summer approaching, this is a perfect time to catch crappie with this tightlining rig.  For the next 3 or 4 months, these fish will be holding on deep drop-offs out in or near river channels. Bottom-bounce this rig for best results. This also works well in the winter when crappie are in their deep water haunts.


Author:  Bruce Spangler

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