How to Get Started with Live Crappie Baits
By Mike Rustler, Author of The Mega Guide to Crappie Fishing
Live crappie baits are simpler than they sound – and the results will amaze you!
So you’ve taken up fishing for crappie, and probably you’ve already heard a lot about how you need to start using live bait. That can sound like a lot of work, which puts many people off, but in fact all it takes is a little bit of planning and preparation. It’s well worth the effort, too.
Crappies are predatory fish, not scavengers. While they’ll sometimes take corn or dead bait out of curiosity, and can be fooled by a good lure, there’s nothing like live bait for getting strikes.
Want to know how to get the right bait and take it to the fish in perfect condition? Read on!
When it comes to live bait you have two options. You can keep it at home or buy from a bait supplier.
If you don’t have the space or time to keep your own a supplier is your only option. Of course there are a few points to keep in mind there, too. Firstly, you don’t want to get bait too far in advance. Get it a couple of days before you go fishing so it’s still in top condition.
The best option is to buy from a local dealer; they usually keep bait that suits the water, and they have the knowledge and experience to give you good advice too. You can also buy live bait online, but if you do this it’s best to ask around first to make sure you’re ordering a suitable bait – what works well in one place might be useless in another.
Even if you buy bait the day before you go fishing it needs to be looked after properly until you use it. Whether you’re using worms or minnows you need to make sure they’re in good condition. Live bait’s popular for a reason – it looks much more natural and enticing to a crappie than dead bait does. A little work spent on keeping it in top condition will be well repaid in better results when you hit the water. Dead minnows also deteriorate very quickly; they’ll become mushy and difficult to keep on your hook.
If you have a tank full of minnows you’ll need air stones or a waterfall to keep the water oxygenated, otherwise you’ll get a lot of deaths. Try not to crowd them too much – make sure your tank is big enough.
If you plan to keep minnows for more than a day they’ll also need to be fed. Goldfish flakes are ideal, but sprinkle it sparingly – they don’t need much, and excess food will quickly contaminate the water and use up oxygen. If there’s any left on the surface an hour after you feed them you’re giving them too much.
Getting the most out of your bait extends to your gear, too. Smaller hooks will pay off, especially with live minnows. Keeping the size down will help hide the exposed metal and make it look as if your bait is swimming free, That’s just what a hungry crappie is looking for.
Once you’ve mastered keeping it in good condition you’ll find live bait easy and productive. If you want to add a whole new dimension to your crappie fishing it’s definitely something you should do.
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