When anglers think of catching crappies they think smallish crappie minnows using bobbers and tiny flies. Fine and dandy for run-of-the-mill pan fish but if it's big crappies and bluegills you wish to target, learn to up-size your baits. My go-to big crappie presentation is a 1/16th .oz jig coupled with a large, walleye type fathead minnow. No tiny crappie minnows here, just magnum sized minnows! We are blessed here in lakes country with a plethora of lakes just loaded with large crappies. On the lakes in central Minnesota where I spent the majority of my guiding career, if you caught one large crappie a season you were doing well. Here in lakes country, large crappies are the norm. I have been so impressed with the pan fish size and numbers here in the northwest I am beside myself! Quite a contrast from the rest of the Midwest.
Larger than normal crank baits are also a good bet for larger pan fish. Again, think walleye sized baits, not crappie sized baits. Hard baits in the 3 to 4 inch size are perfect as they keep the smaller crappies and bluegills off but also trigger the larger fish to bite. This is especially effective now as we head into the early Fall season where plug trolling really shines.
Steve Carney is The Flag WZFG Outdoors expert. He can be heard every Thursday morning at 8:05 on AM1100 WZFG. Check out his weekly podcast on am1100theflag.com and hear his Outdoors Angle reports every Friday on AM1100 WZFG. You can also visit stevecarneyoutdoors.com for more information.