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Crappie on Bobby Garland Mayfly

Bobby Garland Mayfly Hatch Is On

The Mayfly, a new crappie lure from Bobby Garland, effectively matches an aquatic insect but also can be used to suggest other crappie forage. Learn more about this innovative new bait.

Google “what do crappie eat,” and you’ll surely tire, reading through the seemingly endless results. Instead, let me summarize what pops up most: insects, crustaceans, minnows and shad. That science explains why Bobby Garland’s newest soft-plastic bait, the Mayfly, borrows a few traits from each of the crappie’s favored menu items in its innovative design.

By name alone, the Mayfly lure is clearly an imitation of the common aquatic insects found in lakes, streams and creeks throughout North America. Whether in the larval stage and under water or emerged as a winged adult Mayflies have legs, an elongated and segmented body, and two or three threadlike “tails” (officially called cerci). In either form, black and white crappie find Mayflies irresistible. Of the two crappie species, black crappie exhibit a special fondness for insects in their overall diets.

“Profile” has become the new buzzword in crappie fishing, thanks in large part to forward-facing sonar. The technology has opened anglers’ eyes through real-time viewing of what’s happening below in the interaction between crappie and lures in various situations and seeing the importance of a crappie lure’s profile.

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crappie on Itty Bit lure

5 Ways to Rig Bobby Garland Itty Bit Baits for the Best Summer Crappie Fishing

Small crappie baits can produce big catches if you use the best fishing techniques. Learn about 5 proven approaches.

“Something’s changed,” avid crappie angler Gary Rowe said, as he watched another fish on his Garmin LiveScope follow and then shy away from the jig at the end of his line. Just minutes before, the Oklahoma angler and Bobby Garland pro staffer was telling me this was the very spot where he and his son had quickly finished out their summer crappie limits the day before. The crappie weren’t cooperating today, though.

Having witnessed the same scenario at two other places where Rowe had caught them the day before, I politely suggested “let’s go explore some new areas.” After all, I knew this long-time friend had more than 1400 crappie fishing waypoints on Fort Gibson Lake – from which he lives just a block away.

“Okay, but humor me for just a second,” he said, turning to grab another rod. No longer than it took for his new offering to reach the 10-foot cover, Rowe was snapping a hookset and lifting a crappie from the same brush we’d been fishing for the past 20 minutes. Grinning, but saying nothing, he admired the 10-incher and then gently tossed it back. On each of his next three drops, the results were the same: a keeper crappie coming aboard.

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spoon and jig crappie rig

Weighted Crappie Rigs You Didn’t Know You Could Use for Crappie

Learn about different crappie rigs that allow you to present soft-plastic crappie baits more effectively for a broad range of situations.

In my opinion, the most classic of all crappie rigs – a soft-plastic crappie bait rigged on a small jighead – is the most fish-catching tool on the planet. Think about it. The combo is so little that fish of all sizes, from tiny to giant, can and do eat it. We all have stories about catching – or at least hooking into – monsters of some kind on a crappie bait.

The crappie jig looks like food, most often imitating a prey fish or insect. Today’s technology allows for precision-made, multi-cavity aluminum molds that feature intricate design shapes and features. The result is a realistic forage match that appeals to most gamefish. Sometimes subtlety tempts the most. The perfect example is the teasing action of the flexible, straight tail on a Bobby Garland Baby Shad. Conversely, a bait with a crazy amount of tail action, like the heavy-thumping Bobby Garland Stroll’R, might drive attention.

A crappie jighead is the standard business partner for a host of soft-plastic crappie baits. However, at times, other crappie rigs, including some you might not consider, provide the best means for presenting these baits. Let’s look at ways that non-traditional weighting approaches can boost your crappie catching success.

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crappie caught on float rig

Is the Crappie Spawn Over?

Learn how expert crappie angler recognize the end of the spawn and how they adjust fishing approaches to continue catching spring crappie.

Cold fronts have shut down the shallow-water action on certain days, but most of the time, the crappie have been aggressive and attacked nearly anything thrown near their spawning beds. However, in the last few days the shallow-water bite has been tapering off, so you begin to wonder whether those fish you were catching along the spawning banks have been wiped out by fishing pressure or if the crappie have quit spawning.

Crappie guides and tournament veterans look for certain signs to determine if the spawn is entering its final stage.

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Bank Fishing for Crappie

Top Bank Fishing Strategies for Spring Crappie

Spring brings some of the year’s best opportunities for crappie fishing from the bank. Learn how to find and catch more crappie with a shoreline approach.

Everything looked perfect for bank fishing for crappie. The water color, bottom makeup, bank slope and cover mix all seemed ideal. The only thing missing was the crappie – at least any crappie that were willing to bite!

So, I began walking and casting, targeting scattered laydowns and stumps and making “search” casts between pieces of cover. Maybe 100 yards from my starting point the chunk rock along the lake’s edge turned to gravel and the bank got a little flatter. Scattered wood a modest cast’s distance from the shore seemed shallow but looked inviting for crappie fishing.

I clipped a spring float about 18 inches from my jig and cast tight to the first piece of wood. The float barely got upright before racing sideways, and I set the hook into a solid crappie. Repeating that cast produced the same result. Twice. The next piece of wood produced a repeat performance. I had found the right set up, setting the stage a fun day of bank fishing for crappie.

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spring crappie catch

How to Choose the Right Jighead for Crappie Fishing

Different crappie fishing jigheads vary in many ways. We’ll examine important variables and tell how to choose the best jighead for every situation.

Glitzy soft-plastic crappie lures, with their fish-catching designs and colorful identities, get the glory in crappie fishing while the journeyman jighead silently tags along but does the heavy lifting – literally.

Success draws attention, and that is certainly the case when a splashing livewell or basket full of slabs echoes loudly and proudly across the boat ramp or dock at the end of an outing. All ears within hearing distance strain to hear the answer when someone dares ask, “Whatcha catch ‘em on?”

No doubt it’s more fun to hear a response with bait names like Slab Hunt’Rs and Slab Slay’Rs, and colors called Purple Monkey and Electric Chicken, than, “a 1/8-ounce white jighead with a size 1 hook.” Yet, jigheads need love too, for without them most crappie baits are little more than tacklebox candy.

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Fishing Float Selection

How to Choose Fishing Floats & Use Them to Catch More Fish

Floats or bobbers come in many sizes and shapes and in fixed and slip-float configurations. This float fishing guide removes the mystery.

The mention of bobber fishing commonly calls up a mental image of an idyllic pond setting with a youngster watching a cork on the water’s surface. However, floats (commonly called bobbers) have come a long way. While the basic mechanics remain the same, many of today’s floats are designed to be more bite-sensitive, are created for specific purposes and are integral to many anglers’ arsenals.  

Depending on the intended angling technique, a float could be part the presentation for any freshwater fish. Bluegills, crappie, smallmouth bass, white bass, trout, bowfin and catfish are among the fish I have targeted with a float. The line-up of Thill Floats encompass a variety of floating bite-indicators for still-water, current, and long-distance casting.

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bobber fishing for crappie

Pro Bobber Fishing Tactics for Pre-Spawn Crappie

Pre-spawn crappie fishing delivers some of the best action of the year, and the fish’s behavior lends itself ideally to fishing and jig beneath a bobber.

A childhood thrill returns to Terry Blankenship every spring when pre-spawn crappie fishing heats up at Lake of the Ozarks. The Missouri guide and tournament angler recalls how excited he would get watching a bobber zip underwater when he was a kid, bobber fishing for crappie. Blankenship continues to experience that excitement today, albeit with a more sophisticated bobber setup.

“We all love our bobbers,” Blankenship said. “Bobber fishing for crappie is a little bit like topwater fishing for bass. It’s just something, if you have done it a bunch, you are kind of focused on that bobber, and when you are fishing with artificial lures instead of minnows you have to be pretty observant and pretty quick with it. It kind of keeps you a little tense if you feel like you are in a position to get a bite. It winds up being pretty much like the excitement of a topwater bite because of the way crappie sometimes hit it and knock it to where it goes down so fast, but other times they just barely nudge it or turn it sideways.  That’s why you really have to pay attention to it.”

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slab white crappie

5 Ways to Catch Spring Crappie

Learn how five expert crappie anglers are catching fish right now and how to catch spring crappie on your home waters.

It seems the weather and crappie spawning behavior team up every spring to drive anglers crazy. That’s certainly happening now, as we hit mid-April.

So, I reached out to five “fish almost every day” anglers from South Carolina to Oklahoma for real time reports on what the crappie are doing and how each angler is catching fish. You’ll see how varied the approaches can be for catching the same black and white crappie that we all pursue in our favorite spots.  

Perhaps, 2022 is the year for you to try something new. You’ll never go wrong in borrowing knowledge and tactics from any of these five crappie experts.

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