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Crappie Rigs: Best Rigs For Crappie Fishing

Last Updated: November 2nd, 2020
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Call them what you like: papermouths, sac-a-lait, slabs, or crappie--they’re just plain fun to catch!

And as crappie fanatics can attest, a good crappie rig is just what you need, whether you prefer trolling deep water with a boat full of rods or casting near the vertical cover they’re known to love.

If you need a new crappie rig or just want to brush up your skills, we’ve got you covered.

So keep reading!

Gear Up for Crappie Rigs

In addition to high-quality monofilament line in the 4- to 6-pound range, you’ll need a small assortment of things to assemble your rigs. And with this list in hand, you’re covered for all of them! Check out top rated crappie fishing line!

Eagle Claw Light Wire Aberdeen Hooks

Aberdeen Light Wire Non-Offset

Amazon 

We’ve written about crappie hooks before, and old slab hunters will know exactly why we recommend light wire Aberdeen hooks for crappie. But if you’re new to the sport, you may not know that crappie have fragile mouths, earning their nickname “papermouths.” 

As a result, you want to run a larger hook than you might expect. 

Stock up on #2, #4, and even a few #1 size hooks.

Thill Crappie Cork

Thill Crappie Cork - 1/4 in

Amazon 

The Thill Crappie Cork is our favorite slip float by a mile. Available in known buoyancies, you can match your jigs and split shot to these numbers and know that the float will sit perfectly in the water. 

High-visibility, dependable, and pretty much bomb-proof, I can’t think of a slip float I’d rather throw.

Mimilure Soft Silicone Float Stops

Mimilure 100 Pcs Rubber Fishing Bobber Stopper,6 in 1 Float Sinker Stops,Black Orange Oval Cylinder Float Stop Available (Black & Oval, M)

Amazon 

Thill Crappie Corks come with a knot-style float stop that works really well. But it won’t last forever, and you’ll need replacements. 

I like soft silicone float stops like these from Mimilure. They’re a snap to use and work for quite a while.

Shaddock Three-Way T Swivels

T-Shape Three 3 Way Fishing Swivel Brass Barrel Triple Swivel Cross Line Fishing Tackle Line Connectors Tangle Free Tackle Equipment Size 20-100 lbs Pack of 50pcs (50pcs 810)

Amazon 

Some crappie rigs demand three-way swivel, and the best design is clearly the T-style, as it cuts down on tangles, especially with live minnows.

By allowing fully 360-degrees of swimming freedom, it’s almost impossible for a minnow to wrap itself around your main line.

Reaction Tackle Pencil Sinkers

Reaction Tackle Drop Shot (Silver, Skinny, 1/8)

Amazon 

While traditional sinkers work, I like pencil-style sinkers best because they don’t get caught on debris as easily as other shapes. And given the kind of cover crappie love, you’ll quickly come to appreciate this option.

Best Crappie Rigs: 5 Sure-Fire Designs to Get you Catching

The Slip-Float Rig

slip float rig

Perhaps the simplest crappie rig, and often the most effective, the humble Slip-Float Rig is a deadly option whether you’re running live bait or jigs.

We’ve written about slip floats before, extolling their virtues versus conventional bobbers, and if you’re unsure why a slip float is the way to go, you might want to check that article out: Slip floats for crappie fishing

I strongly recommend the Thill. 

The idea behind a slip float is to allow for accurate casts while still controlling the depth of an angler’s terminal tackle. This is accomplished through simple design: the float slips along the line, coming to rest on a float stop that’s easily adjusted.

Slip floats are ridiculously easy to rig.

To assemble this rig, follow these steps:

  1. Attach a silicon float stop to your line.
  2. Slide your slip float onto your line.
  3. Tie-on a bare hook or jig.
  4. Adjust the depth of your terminal tackle by sliding the float stop.
  5. Adjust the weight of your terminal tackle by adding split shot, if necessary.

If you decide to run a bare hook and minnow, you may want to crimp a bit of split shot a few inches up from your hook.

The Three-Way Swivel Rig

Three-Way Swivel Rig for crappie

Ideal for trolling but a pain in the neck to cast, the Three-Way Swivel Rig is a fantastic option for running multiple options simultaneously. And since crappie can be finicky at times, especially when the summer water temperatures soar, this rig is exceptional for figuring out what they’re biting.

This is probably my favorite option for spider rigging, and when tied properly, it’s pretty much no-hassle. 

Some slab hunters use standard three-way swivels, but they create main line angles that are less than optimal. I recommend three-way T-swivels instead. And if you switch out a standard sinker for pencil-style, you’ll experience fewer snags, too.

To assemble this rig, follow these steps:

  1. Tie your main line to a three-way swivel. I like to use the Uni Knot.
  2. Cut approximately 18 inches of line and tie this to the bottom ring of the swivel.
  3. Tie that length to a second three-way swivel.
  4. Cut a second length of approximately 18 inches, and tie this to the bottom eye of the second swivel.
  5. Attach a pencil sinker to the end of the line.
  6. Cut two lengths of 6 to 12 inches of line.
  7. Tie one length to each swivel at the rearward-facing eye.
  8. Tie two bare hooks, two jigs, or one of each to the trailing leaders.

The Double-Jig Bait Rig

Double Jig Bait Rig

Many double-hook or double-jig crappie rigs are a real pain to cast, invariably tangling in mid-air and catching nothing at all but headaches.

But by varying the weights of the jig, shortening one line, and using a simple loop, you can cast a double-rig like nobody’s business, hassle-free!

When I’m casting with two jigs, this is the rig I’ll tie every time.

To assemble this rig, follow these steps:

  1. Cut approximately 3 feet of line.
  2. Tie a jig at each end, selecting different weights for each jig.
  3. Grab the line roughly a foot below the lighter jig.
  4. Tie a simple overhand loop, leaving the loop small.
  5. Wet your line and tighten the knot.
  6. Tie a barrel swivel with a snap onto the end of your main line.
  7. Attach the loop to the swivel.

The Bottom-Bouncer Rig

Bottom-Bouncer Rig

When the crappie are holding deep, you want a rig that allows you to run a jig or minnow about a foot off the bottom without getting snagged. 

The Bottom-Bouncer Rig does just this. 

The long pencil sinker sports a wire tail that runs across the bottom, keeping your jig or minnow at just the right height for strikes, while dodging snags however bad they get.

You can make this rig from separate parts, but it’s at least 4 times as expensive as buying them already put together by Eagle Claw.

The Drop-Shot Rig

The Drop-Shot Rig isn’t just for largemouth bass: it’s an effective way to present a finesse bait or live minnow near the bottom while keeping you in control of the depth.

Many anglers use a slip shot or a standard sinker with this rig, but I’ve had the best luck with a pencil-style sinker as they don’t get hung up as much. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of split shot if that’s what you have handy.

To assemble this rig, follow these steps:

  1. Using a long-shanked Aberdeen hook, tie a Palomar knot to connect it to your main line. You want the hook facing upward, as in the picture above.
  2. Make the tag end no less than 12 inches and no longer than 3 feet.
  3. Run the tag end back through the eye of the hook, passing it downward.
  4. Attach a pencil sinker or split shot to the bottom to cut down on snags.

Final Thoughts

Crappie fishing is a great way to spend a weekend, and whether you search sunken brush piles for hungry slabs, throw slip floats up among stumps, or troll the depths when the heat’s on, you need good rigs to get you catching.

We hope this article has helped, and if it has, we’d love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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