Shooting Crappie Jigs

Shooting jigs will allow you to get your jig into spots that you just can't get to by conventional casting techniques. A lot of times I will lie on my stomach and shoot under docks 5 to 10 times the distance that a normal cast could go. This technique has put a lot of fish in the boat. We have fished docks behind fishermen that weren't shooting jigs and have caught more and bigger crappie than they did. Even though they thought they had caught them all.

  Typically, I let the jig free fall on a slack line for a few seconds before starting to retrieve the line. A lot of times the crappie will strike while the jig is free falling so you need to watch your line to see the strike. You can jig your line or use a steady retrieve. I'm a big fan of jigging but I have noticed that I get more strikes/fish while using a steady retrieve. I try to retrieve the line as slow as I can and still have the tail or blade of the jig spin. If I don't get any strikes after a few shots of the jig, I will let the jig free fall a little longer before starting my retieve. For example, if I was counting to 5 before starting my retrieve, I'll count to 10. If that doesn't produce, I'll add 5 to my count. I'll do this until I hit bottom. If I have had a hit by then, I'll move on to the next dock. When I do get a strike, I remember what my count was and keep using it.

  My favorite jig by far is a 2 1/2" curly tail grub. Berkly makes a 2 1/2" PowerBait grub that the crappie love! They seem to hit it and hold on to longer than they will to simular brands that look like them. Anything with chartruse is good. I start off using a pumpkin/chartruse grub. Sometimes I think the fish will get used to seeing a certain color and stop hitting it so I will switch colors when the strikes slow down.

  One more tip. I usually like a 6' to 6' 6" rod for crappie fishing. However, for shooting, a 5' rod seems to work best for me since I don't hit the docks with the tips of my rods with the shorter rods. In fact, one of my favorite rods for shooting jigs is a little 5 or 5' 1/2" Ugly Stick. I usually don't use an Ugly Stick rod because I tend to like an all graphite rod. But it's hard to beat an Ugly Stick for shooting jigs.

  Bass Pro and Cabelas carry everything you need for crappie fishing. Bass Pro usally has the best deals on the PowerBaits. Walmart carries the PowerBaits but they don't always have the 2 1/2" baits. You can find the Ugly Sticks just about everywhere.

  Give shooting jigs a try this summer and you will fall in love with the technique. Good luck and be safe. 

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