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Tips for jigging for crappie

Professional fishing guide Mike Simpson makes his living in pursuit of America's favorite pan fish, and manufacturing his distinctive line of jigs now on sale at Zeiner's Bass Shop in Wichita and online. Mike says if you want to catch more crappie more often, consider the benefits of a vertical presentation.

The vertical advantage
By Mike Simpson

One of the most productive methods I use to consistently catch crappie is a vertical presentation. You can accomplish this whether you are fishing from a boat or the bank; with live bait, jigs, or other artificial lures.

Although there are several different aspects to this type of fishing, understanding a hand full of basic information will have you well on your way to enjoying the benefits of what I call "the vertical advantage."

There are two keys for success with this method of fishing. They are finding the right depth and maintaining that same depth with your bait or lure.

Once you determine the depth range in which the "active fish" are holding you are well on your way to catching America's favorite pan fish. Since a vertical presentation literally keeps your bait in the strike zone, your chances of success are greatly enhanced.

Vertical baits

Many baits work for this type of fishing, of course jigs have always been my favorite. Most importantly you want to choose a bait that presents a natural appearance whether it's moving through the water or suspended in one general area. A bait that will allow you to maintain and fish the proper depth. Here are some of the more common baits for a vertical presentation.


If you are anchored at your favorite fishing hole, fishing directly below the boat and using minnows for bait, it is pretty simple. You could hook your minnow in any normal fashion, lower it to the desired depth, and guess what? You are fishing with a vertical presentation commonly referred to as "tight lining."

If you were drift fishing or slow trolling with that same minnow, you would hook it through the lips so it looks natural moving through the water but it is still a vertical presentation, as long as you are holding the same general depth.


Not too many years ago any lead head jig was considered just about as good as another. Some jigs had feathers, some had plastic bodies, sometimes they were painted different colors or had eyes, but a jig was a jig. You had two basic choices, color and size.

For a more effective vertical presentation, there are certain types of jig heads you can use that could give you a distinct advantage. There are several types, styles, and names for these jigs but the main consideration is that they are "balanced" heads. A balanced jig head is special because it always hangs horizontally on your line, giving the appearance of a natural minnow or baitfish. It doesn't matter if your bait is moving or not because it looks realistic, in fact some of the most aggressive bites come when I lower a balanced jig into a brush pile and just hold it as still as I can.

Jigging spoons and blade baits

There are several small jigging spoons and blade type baits on the market that do well for crappie fishing. Anglers use them in the winter while ice fishing, which is a perfect example of a vertical presentation, however these lures can also be productive in the summer months.

A good old fashioned bobber will work to suspend your bait at precise depths as long as you are fishing fairly shallow, however a slip cork will offer more versatility, especially in deeper water. Whether you fish from a boat or from the shore, a slip cork is an excellent addition to any angler's collection of tackle.


I hope you find this information helpful, and it helps put more fish on the end of your line. I invite all readers to email me with any questions and be sure to visit my website for this and other articles, tips, techniques and information for booking your own guided fishing trip with me.

Email mike@crappiemagic.com

Website www.Crappiemagic.com

Remember to take only what you need, leave the rest for seed. "I'll see you at the lake"

Editor's Note ­ Simpson is a 44-year old Professional crappie fishing guide and lure manufacturer who has been preoccupied with fishing as long as he can remember. He is an acknowledged pan fishing expert, recognized for his enthusiasm and willingness to share knowledge with anglers of all ages and skill levels.

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