If you live in the northern tier of the country, it’s spring crappie season and these fish are getting ready to spawn. In Minnesota, crappies are just starting to bite as water temperatures are starting to bump up. In early spring, we often find these fish up in shallow water back in the bays that warm up quicker.
As far as the best presentation goes for targeting these fish, here are a couple of things that I think are important. If the water is clear like it often is this time of year, it’s important to make long casts so I often like to use braided line – even 10lb braid will work. Another thing is to use a bigger/heavier bobber to help you make those longer casts. Below the braid, I like to run a fluoro or mono leader and, again, this doesn’t have to be ultra-finesse – 6 or 8 pound test will work so you can boat flip the fish. Be sure to tie your jig to the leader with a loop knot so it’s always sitting horizontal and swimming naturally.
A fixed cork bobber will swim the bait a lot differently than a slip bobber. It’s like a pendulum where you’re just gliding that jig, stopping it, and repeating. A lot of times we’re making a long cast, popping the bobber a few times – maybe 6 inches, let it sit, pop it again, let it sit. The water temperatures are still cold so these fish are a little bit sluggish.
Braided line, big cork, leader, loop knot, small hair jig or plastics, and sometimes minnows should set you up for success. 8 times of 10 you should be able to get it done with the hair – it’s just a deadly set up for catching shallow spring crappies.