If you fish for crappie very often you know how they love to hang out in some nasty thick brush. Fortunately there are ways to get these crappie out of this thick brush with the right rigs. Thick brush crappie rigs are necessary for penetrating the thick brush crappie love. There are also a few crappie rigs that you can use to coax those slabs out of the thick brush to your rig and into your livewell. Here are a few thick brush crappie rigs and tips to consider when the slabs hunker down.
Jig & Bobber Rig: This great crappie rig has many uses and thick brush is one of them. You can use the bobber and jig to lure the crappie out of the brush or you can also use it to penetrate deep into the thick brush and put the rig right in their face. If you find yourself without weedless crappie jigs (I will discuss these later) you can use a regular jig and just set the bobber to where your jig is just above the thick brush where you know crappie are present. Slowly work this rig over the thick brush and if the crappie are in any kind of feeding mood they will gladly come out of the thick brush and devour your jig.
If by chance you have a bag of weedless jigs like the Bass Pro Shops® Weedless Marabou Stump Jumper®, you can easily probe the thickest part of the brush. Oftentimes crappie will suspend deep inside thick brush made by a tree that has fallen into the water from shore. When this happens you can sometimes pick up a few crappie working the outside edge of the brush but if you catch a few there then you can bet that there are many more down in that thick brush and you have to go in and get them. With a weedless jig you can lower your presentation to those thick brush dwellers and load the boat.
You might find a school just beneath the brush in which case you have to go through it to get to them. Other times the crappie are hugging the brush and you have to work your jig inside the maze of limbs without hanging up. This can be made much easier with a weedless jighead. The small wire protruding from the head helps to deflect the wood and keep it from hanging in the thick brush. One note you have got to work the weedless crappie jig slowly. If you work it too fast without “feeling” the brush, then you will just pull the limbs through the wire and into the hook and when it does this it is really tough to work loose and you will probably have to break it off. It takes some practice but just move the weedless crappie jig throughout the thick brush lifting it out and easing it back into it. When using a bobber with the weedless jig just lower it gently into every available hole and watch closely. If the crappie are deep in the thick brush and refuse to come up or out to eat then the bite, more than likely, will be light so if the bobber goes down any at all lift up and ease out your prize. If you are quiet and slowly play the slab up through the thick stuff you can catch a lot of crappie before you run them off so be patient and you can catch several from the thick brush.
The Slideoff Weedguard: There is a new little gadget out that makes any jig weedless. The slideoff weedguard is a great little guard that slips onto the jig and snaps into place between the hook point and the eye. Fishing for crappie in thick brush can be frustrating but with the slideoff weedguard you can be a little more aggressive with your presentation than with the wire weedguard. When the crappie bites the slideoff weedguard snaps off exposing the hook point to the crappies mouth. These weedguards really come in handy when the crappie are scattered but in thick brush and you have to cover water to catch a few. The slideoff weedguard allows you to work the thick brush quickly and actually pull your jig through the thick brush instead of working it straight down. You can just fish a little faster with this little guard on your jig. The slideoff weedguard come in several sizes but see for yourself with this video.