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Itty Bit Slab Hunt'R crappie

Bobby Garland Adds Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R

Learn about the most recent addition to Bobby Garland’s Itty Bit series and its unique offerings for crappie fishermen who want to downsize.

Bobby Garland’s highly popular Itty Bit series of crappie baits just got bigger. Not the baits, of course. They’re still Itty Bit at only 1.25 inches in length. Instead, the series has grown with the introduction of the Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R.

The Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R has a different profile and action than the Itty Bit Swim’R or Slab Slay’R, two already proven baits for when conditions demand finesse or match-the-hatch approaches for success. All three are down-sized but full-featured versions of longtime Bobby Garland producers.

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Dock Shooting for Crappie

Shoot Docks to Catch More Crappie

Learn the Secrets to a highly productive and often-overlooked crappie fishing technique.

The current obsession of sniping crappie by using LiveScope has opened the door for anglers without live sonar technology to the technique of dock shooting. Truth is, you would be hard pressed to find any tournament crappie angler shooting docks on most lakes.

That’s a mistake, according to Weiss Lake crappie fishing guide Lee Pitts. “Seems like tournament anglers have forgotten that lots of crappie, along with big crappie, live under docks,” Pitts said.

Unlike video game fishing, dock shooting requires eye-hand coordination to skip or shoot a lightweight lure in and around boat docks, boat lifts and in stalls. Let’s look at this unique, ultra-productive technique for catching crappie.

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Bank fishing for crappie

Catch More Crappie from the Bank

The spring “crappie run” pushes large numbers of fish within easy casting distance of shore, creating outstanding opportunities to catch plenty of crappie without launching a boat.

No fishing report was ever needed. Multiple cars parked roadside near the bridge during spring told me everything I needed to know. The next day I’d pack an ultralight and box of crappie jigs and floats when I left for work, and on the way home, I’d add my car to those parked roadside. And for the next couple of months, as often as my afternoon schedule would allow, I’d stop, walk down the riprap by the bridge, and catch some crappie.

I no longer have a daily commute that takes me across a spring crappie spot, but there are plenty of places nearby where I can (and do) go find spring action when the time is right. Bank fishing for spring crappie provides fun, simple and dependable action that is convenient to millions of anglers across the nation.

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crappie on Bobby Garland Jig

Learn Why Crappie Jigheads Matter

Don’t think for a moment that all jigheads are created equal or that the only real decision regarding these critical crappie catching components is the weight of head to choose.

With so much that is commonly discussed about crappie baits, the ways those baits move in the water and the significance of bait colors, important distinctions related to the heads that complement those baits get very little attention. Folks sometimes give passing mention of a jighead’s weight and occasionally color (both critical), but the conversation usually ends there.

We want to correct that because crappie jigheads matter, and many differ substantially from one another. Jigheads vary in weight, shape, eye positioning and angle, color, decoration, hook design and hook used, to name some of the most common variables. We’ll look at important variables one a time to help you make the best decisions.

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Baby Shad Swim'R Crappie

Six Top Baits for Spring Crappie Fishing

Learn how a crappie lure’s profile affects it action and appearance in the water and how to choose the best bait for every situation.

Do you ever look at soft-plastic lures designed for crappie fishing and wonder why they come in such a broad range of shapes? If so, the next question might be which specific bait to choose for a given situation. Here, we will lessen the mystery by comparing the profiles and features of a handful of popular Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, looking at how those distinctions affect each bait’s movements and appearance in the water.

Considering a specific bait’s design and how it swims or falls through the water can make it much easier to select the best bait for conditions and for the technique you intend to use.

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man with crapie

How to fish for crappie vertically over cover

Learn to locate crappie-holding cover and the best techniques for making those fish bite.

Crappie are interesting little fish who bundle up tightly around cover in the coldest parts of the year, making them easy to locate using your graph. But how do you fish for crappie vertically? From technique to equipment, I’ll tell you how, with four helpful steps from start to finish in this blog!

1. Locating cover

This is by far the most important part of learning how to fish for crappie vertically and seems pretty simple. But, it’s not! Crappie tend to look for certain types of cover, be it free standing timber you can visibly see, or brush that has been placed in depth zones by other fishermen. The easiest finds are obvious trees sticking out of the water in the right depths. Typically, crappie dwell in the 10-20 foot range in the winter, so finding timber that exists in that zone can be very productive. The hardest kind of timber to find is sunken timber or brush piles. For these you need to use the electronics on your boat. Preferably structure scan, but regular sonar can find brush piles as well. The best places to check for sunken brush are off the edges of points, flats, or near boat docks. Identifying crappie on top of the brush is not always the easiest task, but they can be differentiated from most other fish. Crappie tend to bunch up tall on top of the brush or around it, so there will be several small dots tightly packed together.

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Crappie Fishing Techniques

5 Crappie Fishing Techniques for Cool Water

Learn how to catch crappie during fall, when cooling water triggers excellent fishing action, and enjoy some of the best crappie fishing of the year.

“They’re under there – all the way back,” Terry Blankenship said with a smile as he watched his electronics. “I should be able to reach them through that hole.”

Blankenship, veteran Lake of the Ozarks crappie guide who reaches fish that are way under docks by “shooting” crappie jigs bow-and-arrow style under the docks and through gaps in the dock structure or between docks and boats, was pointing at a gap between floating sections that might have been the size of a dollar bill.

With the confidence of an NBA player draining a free throw, he knelt, drew, aimed and fired. The bait shot through the hole at the perfect angle to hit the water well under the dock before skipping all the way to the back. Almost immediately, Blankenship’s fluorescent line jumped and he set the hook with a quick downward snap. Soon after he was swinging a 1-1/2-pound crappie into the boat.

Shoot Docks

Blankenship uses many crappie fishing techniques, but shooting is his specialty, and fall is prime time for this innovative tactic. Crappie congregate under docks during fall, and the shooting technique allows you to put a jig in front of fish that cannot be reached any other way.

Big crappie relate heavily to shad during fall, and they feed well as the water gradually cools. The crappie don’t like fighting current in cool water, so Blankenship focuses fall efforts on docks in coves and creeks arms, as opposed to the main lake.

It takes a bit of practice to get the timing and aim right and know the amount of line to have out, but the basic shot isn’t really that hard. With a spinning reel bail flipped but your finger holding the line, pinch the bend of the hook (not the head or you might get jabbed!) and pull back to put a strong load in the rod. Aim and release the hook just before the line so the jig shoots forward.

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