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Both black and white crappies are highly sought after because they are good to eat and equally fun to catch. However, catching these attractive yet aggressive fish can be tricky because of their picky eating habits. To help you overcome this, we have compiled a list of the best lures for crappie in summer.
- Our Top Summer Crappie Lure Recommendations
- Best Overall Summer Crappie Lure: Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait
- Best Feathered Crappie Lure Jig: Lindy Little Nipper Jig
- Best Soft Plastic Crappie Lure: Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure
- Best Plastic Tube Lure for Crappie In Summer: Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker Bait
- Best Deep-Diving Crankbait Lure for Crappie: Band-It Series 200 Crankbait
- Best Shallow-Water Crankbait Crappie Lure: Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure
- Features to Consider for Crappie Lures in Summer
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Summer Crappie Lure Recommendations
The diet and behaviors of crappies vary according to the changing seasons. There are a couple of other factors that are responsible for this like water clarity and temperature. This makes it important to select the best lures for crappies in summer when it is typically warmer.
Our recommended lures have been carefully selected and can work in all the right conditions. With that being said, here are the 6 best lures for catching crappies in summer:
Best Overall Summer Crappie Lure: Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait
The Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious stands out the most on our list because it has the most unique design. Designed in collaboration with the legendary Wally Marshall, this 2-inch lure sports a combination of its unique tapered profile and large paddle tail. These features combine to create a swimming action that is so aggressive that crappie cannot resist.
This makes it easy to draw out crappies that may be lurking around. It was designed to suit a wide variety of techniques such as casting, pulling, trolling, pitching, and flipping. This makes it the lure with the most versatile use on this list because you can rig it in various ways so that it suits your use depending on fishing seasons and scenarios.
The Slabalicious has a tough plastic head where the hooks sit firmly in the tough plastic head which provides much-needed durability. The tail, on the other hand, is made from a more flexible plastic material, improving flexibility and sacrificing durability as a result. These come in a wide range of contrasting colors that are visually appealing to crappies and help to activate their predatory instincts.
- Great vibration and swimming action that triggers the predatory instincts in crappies
- Its unique design makes it suitable for several fishing styles
- Comes in a wide range of colors and color combination that attracts crappies
- Not the most durable lure on our list
- Multi-packs are sold in only one color
Best Feathered Crappie Lure Jig: Lindy Little Nipper Jig
Unlike other crappie lure options, feathered jigs have a softer action. This results in a continuous and more natural movement. This is often irresistible to crappie even after showing reluctance to take the bait. This makes the Lindy Little Nipper Jig the most effective option on this list to use in colder temperatures when crappies are typically less active.
The Lindy Little Nipper Jig features a high-quality hand-tied and glued feather tail that makes the lure very effective and durable. The feathers are painted in two contrasting colors to add a splash of color and life to the lure. This mimes the counter-shaded appearance that several baitfish species have. This illusion is further reinforced by the painted eye on the jig.
The brightly colored feathers keep the lure in continuous motion and provide more action as it attracts unsuspecting crappies. The lure is available in multiple colors to suit different fishing temperatures and conditions and even glow-in-the-dark options that are particularly suitable for low visibility conditions.
Unlike the Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure, this lure sacrifices aggressiveness for durability because it is made from feathers.
- The feathers are hand-tied and glued to give it superior durability
- Comes in glow-in-the-dark options suitable for low light conditions
- Excels in low temperatures because it is made from feathers
- Subtle action is not always as effective as you expect
- Paint tends to chip away easily
- Feathers tied and glued
- Super effective on panfish, trout, walleye and steelhead
- Available in 9 proven fish catching color combinations and 3 different sizes for any fishing...
Best Soft Plastic Crappie Lure: Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure
The Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure is specially designed to provide maximum action when catching crappie. This makes it particularly suitable for strolling or slow trolling. As a matter of fact, when compared to all the lures on our list, this 2.5-inch lure is capable of delivering the most action from its head to tail that easily attracts crappies.
This lure has a soft plastic paddle tail with a corkscrew design. This gives the lure its over-the-top movement that is responsible for causing nearby crappie to become aggressive and go into a feeding frenzy, especially in summer. However, on some days, it could be too aggressive.
The head and tails of the Bobby Garland Stroll’R are designed in contrasting colors just like the Lindy Little Nipper Jig making it more attractive to crappie. This enhances the impact of the lure’s vibration. However, if you want to go for a more subtle approach, it also comes in some single-color options that draw in crappie more slowly and gently.
Some variants are designed with glitter flecks that give them an extra layer of shine and visibility that you need in low light conditions.
- Produce fantastic action that is effective even with slow retrieving
- Delivers action from head to tail that attracts crappies
- Can be used for casting, strolling, trolling, and jigging
- Difficult to adapt to specific fishing conditions
- May produce excessively aggressive action on some days
Best Plastic Tube Lure for Crappie In Summer: Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker Bait
The Mr. Crappie Joker Bait is the second lure product on our list from Strike King and Wally Marshall and it is another excellent option if you are looking for plastic tube lures to catch crappie. This lure, just like the Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait, measures 2 inches in length. It has a corrugated body that is made from solid plastic. This ensures that it is very durable as it can withstand continuous bites from crappie.
Unlike all the other crappie lures on our list that are designed with single tails, the Mr. Crappie Joker Bait has three appendages. This is where it gets its name because it looks like a joker’s hat. Each of the appendages is tipped with a small ball on the end to give them increased action and allow them to maximize effort.
The Mr. Crappie Joker bait is an excellent choice for vertical jigging, especially around brush and stumps. Just a slight twitch or turn from your end will trigger a series of exaggerated movement patterns on the lure making it difficult to ignore for crappie, a natural predator. On the flip side, it may not be suitable for horizontal jigging.
- Has 3 appendages that easily draw crappie out of hiding
- Has balls attached to the appendages that produce maximum movement with very little effort
- Appropriate for a range of crappie catching conditions
- More effective for vertical jigging than horizontal
- Some particular colors may not be as effective as others
- Ideal colors
- 3 appendages
- Designed to draw crappie out of hiding
Best Deep-Diving Crankbait Lure for Crappie: Band-It Series 200 Crankbait
The most effective option of the Band-It Crankbait series when it comes to targeting crappies in deep areas is arguably the 2-inch, ¼ ounce Series 200 Crankbait. With a maximum diving depth of 8 feet, the Band-It Series 200 Crankbait has the highest diving depth of all the lures on our list.
This is no doubt one of the best lures for crappie in summer. This is because it has the diving ability to match the depth of water crappies flee to when seeking refuge from the heat at the surface. With a wide, wobbling action and baitfish-mimicking profile, this lure has a very attractive design that draws in crappie.
This butyrate body profile is enhanced by lead weights that add sound and vibration to the lure by creating rattles inside it. This makes it highly functional even in deep waters where there is less light. You can depend on these crankbaits to run true straight out of the package without any need for tweaking.
If they, by chance, get entangled under the water, you can easily cut them off as they often float to the surface making them easy to retrieve. However, they might require a measure of expertise to use as a result of the depth that they can achieve.
- 4-feet to 8-feet diving depth makes it suitable for deep diving
- Internal rattles create a vibration that draws in crappie
- Highly attractive design that aids in enticing crappie
- It is a single-lure product which impacts its versatility
- Requires expertise to use bait at major depths
- Molded in lip that runs true every time Butyrate body with lead weights for a dull "thud" sound Deep
- 8 Ounce
- Bandit Lures Bandit Dbl Dr 1/4 2 Spg Crwfsh/Yel - BDT326
Best Shallow-Water Crankbait Crappie Lure: Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure
The Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure is an excellent choice if you are in search of the ideal shallow-water crankbait. It is very suitable for nifty probing around stumps, brush, and rocks without your lure getting caught in any of that. This lure is designed for waking right under the surface of the water. It can even be cranked up to 3-feet deep if you need to catch fish in ponds, big lakes, and streams.
With a length of just 1.5 inches, it is the second smallest lure on our list, coming right after the Lindy Little Nipper Jig. At this size, the Super Teeny Wee-R Lure is small enough to carry out all the little intricate work you need it for. It features a fat baitfish profile that produces a wiggling action that crappies find difficult to resist.
The lure comes in realistic designs that mimic some prey species that crappies typically eat. It is the only lure on this list that has a double set of treble hooks. This makes it virtually impossible for the crappie to spit the hook once they take a bite. However, given that it has a maximum depth of 3 feet, it cannot be effective in deep water.
- Suitable for shallow-water fishing up to 3 feet
- The small size makes it easy to maneuver
- Highly effective design that prevents crappie from spitting out hook
- Comes in only one, very small size
- Does not support deepwater fishing
- Rebel Lures "A Standard of Excellence" for every Fishing Occasion
- Can be waked just under the surface or cranked up to 3-feet deep to catch fish in steams, ponds or...
- Features a fat baitfish profile and a wiggling action on the retrieve that bass, panfish and other...
Features to Consider for Crappie Lures in Summer
Choosing the right lure to catch crappie in summer is not rocket science, however, it can be somewhat tricky because of the nature of the fish. There are certain features you should look out for when selecting your crappie lure which include color; which has a significant role to play, size, and maximum diving depth.
|Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait||Lindy Little Nipper Jig||Bobby Garland Stroll’R Soft Plastic Crappie Lure||Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker Bait||Band-It Series 200 Crankbait||Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure|
|Size||2 inches||1/64 Ounce||2.5 inches||2 inches||2 inches||1.5 inches|
|Weight||0.11 pounds||0.2 pounds||0.01 pounds||0.1 pounds||0.15 pounds||0.05 pounds|
|Color||Variety of colors||Variety of colors||Contrasting colors, with options of single colors||Variety of colors||4 major realistic prey-like designs|
|Material||Soft plastic||Feather||Soft plastic||Plastic Tube||Synthetic||Blend|
One of the biggest challenges you will have to deal with in crappie fishing is color. To succeed, it is important that you choose the right color of lure, regardless of your fishing methods. It has even become common for crappie anglers to go into long discussions and debates on what the ideal color of your lure should be.
The color of your lure can be the singular defining factor between casual fishing and successful fishing as an angler. Here are a few things you should generally put into consideration:
Color of the Water
Crappie has excellent eyesight and can see very well when they are in clear water. If you are fishing in such an area, it is advisable to use lures with colors that are more subdued and natural.
While you can use lures with bright hues like the Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Bait and still attract crappie, your best bet would be to use subdued and natural colors. This is because they resemble common prey species that crappies eat. However, if you are fishing in stained or murky water, bright contrasting colors will trigger a predatory response in the fish.
It is best to use a reflective or metallic lure when you are fishing under a bright sun or bright light source. This makes the lure shimmer and attracts crappie even from a distance because of the minnow-looking appearance.
This is another factor to consider when choosing the color of your lure. This is because water absorbs light quickly, including clear water, and this affects the perception of the lure’s color as it goes deeper. The colors gradually start to disappear with red being the first, followed by orange, then yellow, green, and lastly, blue.
This makes lure color an important factor when fishing in shallow waters. On the other hand, if you are fishing in deeper waters, you should consider avoiding bright colors like red and orange. As a rule of thumb, the shallower the water is, the more you should pay attention to the color of your lure.
Here are a few recommended guidelines you should follow when selecting colors for your crappie lures:
- Chartreuse: This color offers high contrast and visibility. It is probably why anglers tend to prefer it. It is suitable for fishing in both clear and murky water. Because of its perfect contrast, it will remain vivid even as you bring the lure deeper.
- White: White lures create the ideal contrast in dark, murky, or stained water. Combining it with a metallic spinner makes it even more efficient in clear water under the sun.
- Black: Black lures are very visible even in deep water. However, it is still functional in shallow water regardless of the light condition. In sunlight, black lures will attract crappie because of the silhouette appearance it gives.
- Metallic flash: This color of lure will be a good addition to your crappie lure collection. This lure makes it easy to catch crappie, especially when combined with an appropriate spinner.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the lure size to use for crappie fishing. This is because crappie is very fickle and different lure sizes will yield different results in different conditions. You can work with a lure as small as 1/32 ounce like the Lindy Little Nipper Jig.
However, the optimum length in most conditions is typically between 1.5 inches, like the Rebel Super Teeny Wee-R Lure, and 3 inches, which is longer than all the lures on our list. As a rule of thumb, you need a larger lure for a larger fish. However, you cannot ascertain the size of crappie that will bite on your lure, so it is best to have a wide range of different lure sizes stored in your tackle box.
Maximum Diving Depth
The correct maximum diving depth is dependent on a number of different factors but especially water temperature and season. During spring, crappies tend to hover in shallow water typically within a 10-feet distance from the water surface.
By fall, they dive to lower depths because they have to hunt. In winter, they also remain down far away from the surface. However, in summer, they come closer to the surface, just far enough to avoid the heat.
The maximum depth of your lure is grossly dependent on the lure, its size, how you rig it, the weights you use, and the type of fishing line. If you fish for crappie with a crankbait like the Band-It Series 200 Crankbait, the depth the lure dives to when retrieving it depends on the lure’s lip size.
Important factors that affect your crappie fishing like a lure’s action, position in the water, and sink rate are determined by its buoyancy. Buoyancy on the other hand is determined by the density and design of the lure and the material used in making it.
As an example, metal or hard plastic streamlined lures, like the Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker Bait, tend to sink faster than soft plastic lures or lures with a large surface area. The buoyancy of your lure is also affected by how you rig it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Hook Size Should You Use for Crappie Fishing?
Crappies are popularly called ‘papermouth.’ This is because of the fragile nature of the skin surrounding their mouth. It means that even the lightest and most sensitive hookset can be very critical. When choosing your lures and hooks, consider some factors, especially the size of the crappie.
Generally speaking, hook sizes #2 and #4 work well with crappie fishing, considering the lure you use. You should avoid using hook size #6 or smaller. This is because it makes it easy for crappie to tear their mouth free.
Should You Use Scent on Lures When Fishing for Crappie?
While a lot of anglers have different positions on this. However, crappies are predominantly visual feeders. This means that they are drawn in by the movements or sounds of baits or lures. This is why all the lures on our list factor this in.
All the soft baits, crankbaits, and jigs on our list are unified by one thing –they all produce movements that attract crappie and push them to bite the hook. You should only consider using scents for crappie fishing when you are fishing in heavily discolored water.
Will Crappie Jigs Work on Other Fish?
Yes, crappie jigs can work on other fish. This is because they are designed to trigger a bite by mirroring the movement of natural prey that crappies typically hunt, such as small baitfish like shads or minnows, and sometimes worms or insects.
This wide range of diets that crappie have is somewhat similar to other fish sharing the same habitat. So the lure you choose may just catch the attention of other fish like bass and trout, depending on the lure’s size, style, action, and color.
Having the best lure for crappie in summer could be what makes all the difference between a fun crappie fishing experience and an exhausting one. The best lure would vary from one condition to another and it is advisable to have multiple types of lures factoring in the various features discussed.