Summer is finally here! As the water heats up, crappie schools move to deeper water. Vertical presentations are ideal for pulling suspended slabs from their cool-water feeding zones, and when the schools of baitfish become impossible to net the savvy angler breaks out their squishy arsenal. Soft plastics can be tipped with meat (grubs, minnow heads, worms, etc.) or fished as-is relying on color, size, and presentation to trigger strikes. Some soft plastics can be effective when cast and retrieved slowly, while the most effective presentations are typically straight down from the rod tip or under a float. We are featuring 5 of our best soft plastics that FishUSA.com customers should make room for if they are not already in your tackle bag.
These imitate shad fry and can double as a tadpole imitation. They are best fished plain with no added bait, offering a realistic wiggle and darting action. ShadPoles are 2" in length, come in 17 colors, with 15 baits per pack, and are made in the U.S.A.
This is another soft plastic best fished as-is. Gulp! Alive! 1” Minnows are one of the most effective soft baits on the market because they mimic the look and movement of many minnow species. Offered in 6 colors, these slimy little baits hooked to a small tube-jig head can be set under a float, cast, or vertically jigged triggering violent strikes. The jarred baits come floating in their own "Magic Gravy" that keeps them flexible and tasty. There are approximately 2 dozen baits per jar.
Small tube jigs are offered by several companies, but we’ll concentrate on the Yum F2 Panfish Tubes since they offer the most color options. These 2” lures hooked to small tube-jig heads work well on their own, but tipped with a maggot or other small chunk of protein hold up bite after bite. Again, under floats or actively jigged straight from the rod tip are the best presentations for small tubes. Each package contains 10 baits.
These new additions to the FishUSA.com lineup are versatile in that they work very well jigged vertically with or without added bait, but really shine on the cast-retrieve-pause-retrieve method. The classic swimming action of the curl-tailed Hot Grubs along with the incredible 20-color selection make this a must-add lure. These are also made in the U.S.A. and come 8 to a pack.
Another new addition also made in the U.S.A., the Slider Grubs are 1” in length and have a slower dive through the water column due to the wide vibratail, giving the baits a predator-attracting flutter when retrieved or on the free-fall. Again, 20 color options means there’s a color for every crappie in the lake. 18 bates per pack provides ample supply for epic bites.
Some of the listed lures simply imitate Mother Nature’s food sources, while others may even rival them. “Match the hatch” with similar colors to your region’s baitfish, or choose bright, eye-catching colors to put fish in the frying pan. FishUSA.com offers a great selection of panfish tackle to target those deep water summer crappie.