Live minnows are very appealing to crappie, most especially in comparison to a jig or any soft bait. This is one of the well-known facts about crappie fishing with crappie reels and any experienced angler will definitely agree. Crappie fishing with minnows is very effective, plus you can use minnows to slip flounder, troll, or tight line, and cast if you’re skilled as an angler.
But, there may be a lot of questions running through your head right now like what size minnows for crappie would be best to use, how to hook a minnow for crappie, or how to fish for crappie with minnows.
Don’t worry as we’ll tackle all that and more on this quick guide on fishing with minnows.
Can You Buy Minnows for Bait?
Crappie fishing with minnows will entail you going into one or several minnow shops, which are situated in crappie honey-holes. You may think buying bait is as easy and simple as you walking in and shelling a few bucks and then walking out.
Yes, this is most certainly going to happen, but you’ll be able to get the best from your minnows if you follow some simple rules, as well as learn exactly what it is you should look for when purchasing live bait.
Choose the More Durable Type of Minnow
There are two kinds of minnows that are commonly found and sold in bait shops across the country and they are the golden shiner and the fat head. These two types are actually very easy to distinguish from each other.
Experienced anglers would always suggest you get the fathead minnows as they are more durable compared to the golden shiners.
They’ll be able to take lots of abuse and they will still come out alive and kicking. Whenever you have the choice between the two, take the fatheads.
Make Sure Your Minnows Are Healthy
As you’re observing farm-raised minnows in a tank, assess their health. Minnows that are sickly will die any time soon and they’ll not act as active bait, which is definitely bad news for you.
Your bait must always be in tip-top shape in order for you to get the most out of them. Look for the ones that are in tight schools instead of the ones that are loosely clustered. Also, choose the minnows that have unaffected fins and the brightly colored ones.
You shouldn’t allow the minnows to swim listlessly somewhere in the topmost area of the tank. Also, if you notice dark skins or damaged fins, it’s best for you to leave and choose another shop to buy from.
Catching Minnows to Use as Bait
Not all anglers purchase their bait. It’s estimated that in the US, half the crappie baitfish are actually caught by the anglers themselves and not purchased out of minnow shops.
If you’ll be catching baitfish, don’t worry about the kind of minnow species you get as crappie will still be attracted to your live bait.
Important: NEVER release an invasive species onto a new habitat. Either catch the minnows that are in the area that you will be fishing in or buy the minnows at the nearest bait shop.
Here are more things you should remember when catching minnows for crappie fishing:
Handle with Care
You must always treat the minnows with the utmost care, even the ones that you’ve purchased. They can bring further success to your endeavor if you follow the next couple of rules below.
Slowly Adjust the Water Temperature
There’s no better way for you to kill minnows than shocking them with a rapid temperature change. You’ll be able to keep the baitfish strong and healthy by adjusting the water temperature slowly.
Fill the bait bucket or container with water from the lake. If you’ll be buying minnows, they’ll come in a plastic bag.
Place this bag in a container with water from the lake. Yes, the bag should still be sealed. This will let the water that’s within the bag to move gradually towards the temperature of the water from the lake.
Don’t Use Chlorinated Water
Never use chlorinated water for your bait bucket. Also, remember that you shouldn’t transfer lake water that’s from a certain location to another as this can result in the release of invasive species.
What Size Hook for Crappie Fishing with Minnows
Crappies are often referred to as papermouths. Their mouths are really big, but they’re fragile in nature. This makes them delicate.
You may use #8 for bluegill and other species of the same size, but you would want to upsize when it comes to hooks for crappie fishing. For large minnows, we often run #4 and even #1 but you should run anything smaller than #6.
In terms of the size of minnows best for fishing, the larger the minnows are, the bigger the crappie you’ll be able to catch.
How to Hook Crappie with Minnows
There are several ways to hook fish with live minnows. You can either tail hook, dorsal hook, lip hook, or snout hook and fish lip grippers. The most common is tail hooking as it allows minnows to kick and swim.
Run the hook through the tail of a minnow about a quarter of an inch from the fins. It’s an excellent way to keep the baitfish happy and healthy. Pause to allow this process to work.
Crappie Rigs for Live Minnows
There are several ways to rig hooks such as trolling, slip floating, and tightlining. Most crappie jigs have two hooks that are on separate leaders. Both will be attached to a weighted primary line.
A basic setup remains the same even when the rig is suspended from the slip float cover, dropped to the bottom, or trolled or tightlined. You can also make your own style for rigging when it comes to crappie fishing.
For centuries, minnows have been used by crappie anglers to catch the fish. Just remember our tips above and you’re sure to improve your success of landing the fish easily and quickly.
Don’t forget to share this guide with family and friends so they also gain confidence in trying crappie fishing with minnows!