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.

How To Tie A Fish Hook On

Which Fishing Knots Are The Best To Use

When it comes to tying fish knots there are several to choose from, but do you need them all? Factors to consider when deciding on which knot to use are; its purpose, the strongest, and the easiest/quickest to tie. Here we will focus on the most common knots used and pick the 3 that most anglers will ever need. *Note, when using Monofilament wet the line first, this helps keep the knot from slipping out before becoming tight.

Knots Used For Tying Two Unequal Size Lines Together

In the cases where you need to tie one fishing line to another or tie a leader on, there are a few knots to choose from, but the most popular are the Alberto Knot, Albright Knot, and the Double Uni Knot. Any one of these knots will do the job, so whichever one is quickest and easiest for you, go with it. I prefer the Double Uni Knot as this is the easiest to tie, thus our #3 knot.

Alberto Knot

The Alberto and Albright Knots are extremely similar with both knots starting and ending the exact same way. It’s the style of line wraps in the middle section of these knots that separates them. This knot was designed to join lines of different diameters and/or composition such as monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders to braid line.

Albright knot

The Albright Knot is one of the most reliable knots for joining lines of greatly unequal diameters or different materials such as monofilament to braided line.

#3 Double Uni Knot

The Uni to Uni Knot is a standout for joining lines of relatively similar diameter or for adding a monofilament leader to your mainline or fly line. This knot produces a stronger connection than either the Surgeon Knot or Blood Knot. However, if you’re joining lines of vastly different diameters then the Albright Knot would be a better choice.

Knots Used For Tying On Hooks & Artificial Baits

The most common knots used for tying on baits and hooks are; Palomar, San Diego Jam, Trilene, and the Improved Clinch Knot. All four of these knots rank at the top of the list for being the strongest. I prefer the Improved Clinch Knot with 7 twist, but the Trilene Knot will resist slippage better and due to it’s double wrap around the hook eye is considered stronger.

#1 Improved Clinch Knot with 7 twist

The Improved Clinch Knot is our #1 knot. This is the only knot you really need for tying on hooks, artificial baits, or the line to your reel. I use this knot weather I”m fishing for Bluegills, King Salmon (Chinook), or Sturgeon.

Trilene Knot

The Trilene Knot is a strong and reliable knot for joining monofilament line to hooks, swivels and lures. This knot resists slippage and is a stronger alternative to the Clinch Knot.

Palomar Knot

The Palomar Knot is a good knot for attaching a hook to your line or a fly to a leader. However, this knot seems to be a bit confined or bunchy.

San Diego Jam Knot

The San Diego Jam Knot is also known as the Reverse Clinch Knot. This Knot is a little harder to tie and does take longer than the Clinch Knot. The San Diego Jam Knot works well with monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon lines.

Rapala Knot

Another knot that you could consider is the Rapala knot. This non-slip knot allows you to leave a loop in front of your bait, creating a little more action. This knot is harder to tie then the Clinch Knot and will required a little more time.

Tying A Line To Your Reel

The Arbor Knot is most commonly used for tying your line to a reel, however this knot is not as strong as the Improved Clinch Knot. Stay with the Improved Clinch Knot.

Knots for tying on Additional Hooks

When you’re looking to tie more than one hook to your line there is one knot I prefer, that is the Snell Knot.

#2 Snell Knot

The Snell Knot works great on live bait when you need multiple hooks or when adding a stinger hook for light biting Walleyes. This is our #2 Knot.

Our Top 3 Knots

The top 3 knots we have chosen will suffice most Fisherman and any line tying need that arises. These Knots again are; #1 Improved Clinch Knot (or Trilene Knot), #2 Snell Knot, and #3 Double Uni Knot.

See Animated Knots By Grog

Here you will see many of the fishing knots in Animation.

More Animated Knots By Netknots

This site will cover more Animated Knots but is not as good as Grog’s site.

Bandit Crankbait Review- Walleyes, Bass, & Crappies

The Bandit Lure

The Bandit Crankbait comes in 3 different series (100, 200, 300) and covers depths of 2-5 feet, 4-8 feet, and 8-12 feet. By using a lighter weight line or longer distances by trolling you can get these lures to dive even deeper. The best action comes when pausing the retrieval once your Bandit has reached its maximum depth, then starting your retrieval again. These lures also work great in heavy cover areas such as wood, stumps, and rocks, you just need to slow down your retrieval and work the lure through it.

There are many other crankbaits that will also catch fish, however, the shape of the Bandit seems to produce more fish caught when it comes to the strike to catch ratio. On many of my crankbaits too often the fish does not get hooked once it strikes, however, I have found with the Bandit’s shape it seems to hook the fish at a much higher percentage.

Bandit vs the Countdown

Another successful lure I use for Walleyes are Countdowns, however, there are advantages to using the Bandits. The disadvantage of the Count-down is that you have to wait for the lure to sink to the desired depth and due to its light weight you can not toss it as far. The Bandit 100 & 200 series weights in at 1/4 oz where the 300 series weights 3/8 oz allowing a much further cast, they are approximately 2″ long. You will increase your strikes by pausing the lure for a few seconds once it reached its maximum depth, allowing the lure to slowly rise, then dive again once you restart your retrieval.

Bandit’s Only Disadvantage

At 1/4 and 3/8 ounces the Bandits are still very light compared to much heavier Crankbaits or Top water baits, so they will not toss as far. You can improve you distance by lighter weight line and a better rod & reel.

Bandit Series To Use

These lures are good for Spring, Summer, and Fall, but you will need to change between the 100, 200, and 300 series depending on the water temperature and season.

The 100 series is great for Spring Bass and Summer Crappies working in shallow water during the early morning and evening hours.

The 200 series comes into play in the early Summer through Fall, when the bass are just off the weed-line and the Walleyes are suspended 8-11 feet down. Use this lure early in the morning before the sun is too high and in the evening when the sun starts to set.

The 300 series works great during the Summer daylight hours when the water temperatures have warmed up and the fish have moved to deep water. Focus on the steeper drop-offs for both the Bass and Walleyes. In this video I was fishing at noon on a 17 ft drop-off and catching Bass. The lure weights 3/8 oz and dives 8 -12 feet.


If I were to choose one series that works best for all seasons and depths, it would be the 200 series. This seems to be the most consistent at catching bass and suspended walleyes.

What Colors To Use

Colors will vary depending on the live bait in the lake and its water clarity. Study the lake habitat, type of minnows, and the color of the crabs in the lake. This will give you a good idea of what colors lures to focus on. For example, on my lake the crabs are blue with bright orange and I found the Bandit 200 series Humble Bee to work the best for both Bass and Walleyes.

Catching Crappies – Simple, Quick and Effective

A Great Bait for Catching Crappies

Over the years I have tried many artificial and live baits for catching Crappies and here is what I have found to be the best Crappie Bait combination for summertime fishing (July – Oct).

Crappie Tube Tipped With Artificial Shiner

You can use a plain Crappie Tube and it will catch fish, but if you tip it with an artificial shiner you will increase the action tremendously. This combination bait will also out fish live bait, such as minnows. Start with the white tube with a silver skirt, this represents a minnow more closely in the water.

How To Use The Crappie Tube and Shiner Combination

Two ways I use this bait is by fishing the weed-lines or by chasing Crappies around the lake. Chasing Crappies seems to produce large fish, but you need to know what to look for. Crappies chase minnows, which stay close to the surface, so if you see any water disturbance, shallow or deep and it keeps moving, these are most likely Crappies. So take your bait and toss it into the area, if they are Crappies you will catch one or two before having to move, following them around. What I use is a tube bobber with 2 feet of line, let it set for 5 seconds then reel in a foot and let it set again. Continue this until it’s out of the area the Crappies are in.

Why I Recommend This Bait

Even though it may cost you $10 to get hooked up with this Crappie Bait Combination it will pay off, as your cost per Crappie will be much less than using other baits. And by chasing the Crappies around you will increase the size of your catch.

Catching Crappies Morning and Evening

Best Time To Catch Crappies

During the Summer and Fall the best time to catch Crappies is from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and 2 hours before dark.

Where To Find Crappies

During the early and late hours the best place I have found Crappies is just off weed-lines that have shallow drop-offs or the beginning of a sand bar. This seems to hold the most schools of minnows that these Crappies are feeding on. You also want to try under swimming rafts that are stationed just beyond the weed-lines, here you may find a few protecting themselves for the sun. During the day time hours you will want to focus on the deep drop-offs, fishing a little deeper.

Mid-West Crappies.

Florida Crappies.

Best Bait To Use

I have found that a plain Crappie Tube will work well, but by tipping it with a PowerBait 2″ shiner it will increase the action even more. However, I do cut or bite off half of the shiners head to cut the length down and expose more of the hook. I have also found that this combination works as well or better than using live bait or tipping with a live minnow.

How I Rig My Fishing Pole

I like to use a tube bobber with 2 feet of line between it and a Crappie Tube. This seems to work well as the Crappies are close to the surface chasing minnows.

How To Fillet Crappies

Filleting Crappies is easy and quick, here I show you how to use either a fillet knife or an electric knife.