2017 Crappie Fishing – Best Crappie Bait Out there!

Catching Summer Crappies

Looking for a lot of action and fun fishing, then you need to try Crappie Fishing in the Mid-West. As the water warms up in the summer and the new fry (minnows) put on some size the Crappies move into the shallow water chasing and feeding. With the following presentation you will find yourself in the middle of all the action.

Best Times To Fish For Summer Crappies

1. June Sunrise and Sunset in shallow water near the weed-lines, 5 – 7 feet.
2. July sunrise and sunset in shallow water near the weed-lines, 5 – 7 feet.
3. August after sunrise throughout the day, in the deep drop-offs, 10 – 12 feet.

Best Bait For Catching Summer Crappies

The best bait I have found for catching summer Crappies is the Gulp or Berkley 2” minnow on a Crappie Hook. With this presentation you can catch 20, 30, or even more crappies off one bait.

Crappie Action

See the action with this bait and how to use it.

Catching Shellcrackers – Florida Shellcrackers Start The 2017 Season Early

Florida inland water temperatures are warmer than normal

Due to warmer than normal water temperatures the 2017 fishing season has started off in full swing, producing early catches and larger fish.

Fishing Crappies & Shellcrackers

This year we have seen one of the best Crappie seasons in a long time and we believe it’s due to the water reaching higher temperatures much earlier in the season. Now not only did we find an abundant of Crappies this year, but the average size being caught was larger, so what does this mean for the Shellcrackers? We believe these warmer temps will bring the Shellcrackers in earlier and that’s exactly what we are seeing.

First 2017 Shellcracker Catch

I know it’s difficult to take time out from catching large Crappies, but with the Shellcrackers being a preferred fish to eat we did not want to miss out on any early runs. We also expected that the warmer water would bring the Shellcrackers in earlier as they prepare for spawning. So my friend Ed and his wife continued to checkout their favor fishing spots for these aggressive large Bluegills.

Well we were right, it’s only the second week of March and Ed has already caught his first mess of Shellcrackers. Here is a photo of his catch this past weekend, with the Shellcrackers ranging between 10” & 12”. Now that’s not a bad size Bluegill, but these are not the largest Shellcrackers we have seen. I myself am heading down March 31, hoping to catch the prime time and experience another incredible fishing trip with a great friend.

The Best Shellcracker Bait – Freshwater Shrimp

The bait we prefer are freshwater shrimp, which can be netted or purchased. See How To Catch Freshwater Shrimp.

TIP: If you are limited on vacation days and the time to fish for this Bully of the Bluegills, then focus on the prime times of the season, one week before and one week after the full moon, early morning and/or evening, and plan your trip accordingly.

2017 Shellcracker Expectations

What are my expectations this year? I expect 2017 to be one of the best Shellcracker catches I have experienced. Why, well the Crappie season was incredible with large fish, the water levels are normal, and the early warm water is forcing the Shellcracker to start feeding aggressively much earlier. This can only equate to a Shellcracker Season like we have not seen in many years. Even if I’m wrong on my prediction you still will not be disappointed this year and don’t be surprised if you tangle into some of the largest Shellcrackers you have ever caught.

How To Find Crappies – 2016, Crappies Jumping Out Of The Water

2” Gulp Minnow Helps Japan’s CAJ Teachers Catch Crappies

On this fishing trip I took a couple of Teachers from Japan’s CAJ (Christian Academy of Japan) fishing for Walleyes, bluegills and Crappies. But since the Crappies were feeding so aggressive and these teachers wanted action, we focused on the Crappies. Teachers Victor & Craig from CAJ!

How To Find The Crappies

Crappies are easy to find, depending on the time of day, and this trip was no different. With a little experience you will learn what action on the water is crappie action, weather you are near the weed-lines or in the middle of the lake you can catch Crappies.

The best time to get out onto the lake to search for Crappies is at dawn (5 am to 8:30 am) or a few hours before Sunset (6 pm).. What you want to look for are; the schools of minnows on the surface, minnows jumping out of the water, rough looking water when there is no wind and water is like glass, and crappies jumping out of the water.

On this trip we found all of these signs, but decided to focus on the crappies jumping out of the water on a weed-line that was deeper than normal. We were hoping for larger Crappies on this trip, 10 – 14 inches.

Crappie Bait the CAJ Teachers Used

Again I used the best bait there is for these catching Crappies; the Gulp 2” Minnow on a Crappie Tube Hook with 2.5 feet of monofilament line behind a Tube Bobber.

How To Catch Crappies – The 2” Gulp Minnow vs The 1” Jigging Rapala

Catching Crappies – The Action Is On

I have found over the past years that the best bait for catching Crappies was the Gulp 2” Minnow on a Crappie Tube Jig Hook with a tube bobber. But could the ice fishing Rapala Jig work? Would it catch just a many Crappies, and would it out last the Gulp Minnow by hundreds of fish? Well here is what we found.

Jigging Rapala Catching Crappies

We took a tube bobber with 2.5 feet of line and tied on a Gold 1″ Ice-Fishing Jigging Rapala. I then made small slow retrievals with a pause between each. We were not surprised to find the Rapala Jig worked well and at first we were catching one for one against the Gulp Minnow. Within a few minutes however I started to fall behind and then the action really slowed, almost to a stop, why?

Jigging Rapala Gets Out Fished

First my wife and I located the Crappies and got our boat positioned so we could both start the competition at the same time. I gave my wife the Gulp Minnow with a white-silver tube while I used the Ice-Fishing Rapala.

Why the Rapala Came In Second

What we found:
The Jigging Rapala catch to bite ratio was much higher.
The Jigging Rapala did not take any abuse and would definitely catch countless Crappies
The Jigging Rapala’s multiple hooks and treble hook was difficult to remove
The Jigging Rapala harmed the fish to the point it would kill them if released
The action of the Jigging Rapala slowed quickly, increasing the time between bites
The action with the Gulp Minnow was faster, consistent, and continued beyond our fishing time
The Gulp Minnow was quick to remove, getting you back into the water quicker
The Gulp Minnow did not harm the fish or kill any fish
The Gulp Minnow would catch 50 plus Crappies before needing another one, but did require adjustments

Thumbs Up For Gulp Minnow

It was obvious the 1” Ice-Fishing Jigging Rapala did not perform as well as the 2” Gulp Minnow. The size of the Crappies were the same, but the action clearly was in the favor of the Gulp Minnow. Also the difficulty of removing the Jigging Rapala and the undesirable chance of killing the fish, it did not take me long to change over to the same bait my wife was using. Now if I were Ice Fishing straight down maybe the Rapala would out fish the Gulp Minnow, but that would be another fishing test I would need to do. Here the Gulp 2” Minnow Is The Winner!

Best Way To Catch Crappies & Bluegills – Best 2017 Crappie Action

How To Catch Crappies & Bluegills

The techniques used for catching Crappies and Bluegills are the same across the United States, but depending which state you’re in some baits work better than others. But, I have found these two baits, one for Crappies and one for Bluegills work great throughout the US. I would go as far to say you will not find a better bait combination than these in any part of the US, especially in the Midwest!

The Crappie & Bluegill Bait Combinations

For Crappies it’s the Crappie Tube Jig Hook with a 2” Gulp Minnow and for the Bluegills it’s our 1/64 oz Gum-Ball Jig with light blue flashabou skirt.

Catching Crappies

For Crappies start with a tube bobber, 2.5 feet of monofilament line, a crappie tube hook, a crappie tube (black or silver), and a 2” Gulp Minnow (Black Shad or Smelt).

Catching Bluegills

For Bluegills use a tube bobber with 2.5 feet of monofilament line, our homemade jig with the flashabou skirt, and tip the hook with a pink Gulp Maggot or Waxie.

Striped Bass to Speckled Bass – Catching Crappies & Bluegills

For this trip I flew back from Anderson South Carolina, fishing for Striped Bass, picked my wife up and head up toward Duluth Minnesota. Once on the lake we headed for a nice weedline and started catching fish, I focused on the Bluegills as she went for the Crappies. After two hours we had all the fish we wanted. Here is a small video our our action.