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What is a Crappie Jig?

Clayton Luz
Clayton Luz

A crappie jig is an artificial lure primarily used to catch crappie, a popular freshwater game fish prized by anglers for its flavor.

A crappie jig has two parts: the head, which is a ball- or bullet-shaped piece of lead opposite an exposed hook, and the body. The body can made of materials such as hair, chenille, tinsel, or feathers, and is attached to the hook shank. Also, objects made of soft plastic in the shape of minnows or curly tails can be attached to the jig by passing it through the hookpoint and running it up the shank until it meets the bottom, or collar, of the head.

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Man with hands on his hips

Fishing with a crappie jig offers the angler the advantage of switching bodies quickly and easily. By varying the sizes and colors of the body, the angler increases his chances of matching whatever the crappie are “feeding on,” or eating. Jig heads come in a variety of colors of chip-resistant epoxy paint. The typical weight size of a crappie jig is 1/16 (27g) and 1/32 ounces (13g), with a range of body shapes, designs and sizes.

There are three types of crappie jigs: the marabou jig, which is made from the soft feathers of the marabou stork. This jig is a timeless classic and has caught more fish than any other type of crappie jig. There is also the curly tail jig, which has attached to the jig head a tail- or minnow-shaped plastic body. Lastly, there is the rooster tail jig, which basically is a marabou jig that has a spinner, or rotating metal blade either attached to the shank or above the jig head.

The most effective way to fish a crappie jig involves jigging it, a technique whereby the angler casts the jig, lets it sink, then retrieves the jig by raising and lowering the rod tip in alternating fashion. This technique moves the jig vertically through the water. Remember to reel up the slack line as the rod tip is lowered. This is especially important because most crappie will bite the jig when it is falling, not rising, through the water during jigging. If you have too much slack line out, the lack of tension will prevent the jig from hooking into the mouth of the crappie. When fished correctly, the jig should imitate the movement of a small minnow.

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