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Last Minute Gift Ideas for Crappie Anglers

We called on Bobby Garland pro staffers, and they promptly delivered with outstanding holiday shopping ideas that would make any crappie angler happy!

Does the accelerating Christmas countdown find you still scratching your head over what to get your crappie angler, either because you don’t have a clue as where to start or because you think he or she already has everything?“

No problem.” That’s the word from a handful of folks who are familiar both with the intimidating task at hand and who have crappie-fishing expertise. We asked for details, and they provided some outstanding last-minute gift ideas, which offer quick and easy solutions that are sure to be a hit with any crappie angler, from beginner to pro.

DIY Crappie Bait Kit

Bruce Stanton, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits General Manager

Sure, you can find pre-made crappie kits for sale, but a viable quick alternative is to build your own customized assortment, which can be fun to put together and serves up a more personal touch.

For less than $50, you can purchase a Plano utility box, an assortment (up to 10 packages) of Bobby Garland Baby Shad, Slab Slay’R, Stroll’R and Itty Bit baits, and a pack of Crappie Pro Mo’ Glo Jigheads. (Stanton recommends the 1/16-ounce size, pink or chartreuse.)

Proven colors for just about any crappie waters are Monkey Milk, Bluegrass, Blue Ice, Electric Chicken, Black/Hot Pink, Pearl and Lights Out, to name a few.

All of these items are usually easy to find in the marketplace, and a crappie angler can never have enough of any.

All-Purpose Crappie Rod

Dustin McDaniel, GFB Crappie Guide Service

Shopping for crappie rods can be a daunting task and particularly confusing for a non-angler because there are so many to choose from. McDaniel suggested a 7-foot spinning rod as a good all-around option.

Look for rod labels that specify “crappie,” and you’re well underway. Then, focus on “spinning” models for now. Next step is to find the rod length of choice, and then a price point that fits the budget.

For adults, a crappie-model 7-foot spinning rod is a great rod for most crappie fishing techniques and situations. Expect to pay at least $40 for a decent rod, but know you will spend $100-plus to get a rod of highest quality and componentry.

Don’t feel like you must accompany a rod gift with a reel. Most crappie anglers will tell you the rod is a more important choice than is the reel for our kind of fishing. Of course, a reel is a nice bonus. (See next pick!)

For youngsters, say under age 12, consider a shorter crappie rod, something 5 ½ feet or less, for starters. Also, for kids, a rod-and-reel crappie combination is a good option, with spincast models (the push-button type of reel) arguably being the best choice for the really young.

All-Purpose Crappie Reel

Mike Taylor, Taylor Made Outdoors

crappie on sonarcrappie on sonar
Let us help you put crappie fun beneath the tree!


Without a doubt, a spinning reel is the most versatile reel type for the widest range of crappie fishing techniques, so that’s the recommendation here. As a general rule, spinning reels for crappie fishing are considered ultralight models, and often designated as 50- or 75-size, depending on the brand. Either is adequate for most crappie fishing, but stepping up another size or two is often preferred for rods 6 feet or longer.

A size 100 or 200 spinning reel is what many crappie anglers use, and the direction Taylor recommends going. (Note: reel-size designations vary by manufacturers, but you’ll see the pattern. A 10, 100 and 1000 are comparable sizes in different brands.)

These are still considered light-sized, especially in bass fishing circles. They handle the small diameter lines used for crappie fishing well, but their larger spools hold more line, which usually translates into facilitating longer casts and less line tangle.

Spinning reel prices are influenced more by ball-bearing count, drag quality and construction, than by size. Higher ball-bearing counts typically afford smoother action and extend the reel’s life.

Go with whatever your budget allows because you do get what you pay for, but many spinning reels in the $25 to $50 range make great crappie reels.

Bobby Garland Baby Shad

Lee Pitts, Lee Pitts Outdoors Guide Service

crappie guide Lee Pittscrappie guide Lee Pitts

Needing just a couple of small items for the kiddos to gift, or maybe something to drop into Christmas stockings? You can’t go wrong with the original Baby Shad. This 2-inch soft plastic crappie bait is the country’s top-selling crappie bait and brand and closely mimics the minnows and shad that crappie feed readily upon.

You can make it even more fun by playing off some of Bobby Garland’s fun names for Baby Shad colors to help with your selections. Think of what you could do around names like BBQ Chicken, Diamond Mist, Purple Monkey, Gumdrop and Pink Lemonade.

A package of Bobby Garland Baby Shad, 18 baits per resealable bag, retails for around $3.59. Chances are high you can find an assortment of colors nearby at a local tackle store.

Lifetime Fishing License

Gary Dollahon, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits

Many states make available the purchase of a lifetime fishing license for their residents, and what a special gift of love that can be. It’s a pricey investment, ranging from a few hundred dollars to up around the $1,000 mark, depending on the state, but even at the high end it’s a great value for any special angler, and especially for youngsters.

Such a purchase usually requires an application process through your state’s fish and wildlife agency. Search it online for details got your state. Should the process take some time to get the license, announce your intentions now in a Christmas card or personal letter, wrap it up in a big box to make it a mystery, and put it under the tree. 

DIY Gift Certificate

The Bobby Garland team

How about a gift certificate for a guided fishing trip? Photo courtesy of Brad Chappell.


Get the kids to put their own touch of love and creativity into gifts for fishing family members by way of homemade gift certificates. Good options are a “free” boat wash or truck wash, which might lead into a learning discussion about seasonality and expiration dates. All of this can be great fun and followed by watching the calendar together for the arrival of spring and getting out the suds.

A similar thought could be for a “Take Me Too” certificate, to which a child can affix a bag or two of crappie baits or maybe a fishing hat, letting a parent or other relative know he or she is ready for some fishing fun.

A gift of a guided crappie fishing trip would also be a special treat, and something else that is gift-certificate friendly.

Kids are often the best at coming up with their own ideas around these themes, so turn ‘em lose on the project and watch in delight.

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