When to Use a Hair Jig for Crappie

Hair Jigs For Crappie

When to use a Hair Jig for Crappie

Hair Jig Crappie

Plastic baits have taken over the fishing world and for good reason. Plastic baits are easy to change colors. They are also more cost-efficient than hair jigs for crappies. Hair jigs have to be hand-tied. Hair jigs have been around a lot longer than plastics and caught crappie too. I remember my grandfather only using a feather or hair jig for crappie. We caught good crappie using them. While we used hair and feather jigs back then exclusively for crappie. Plastics were not available or they would have been used once the water warmed up.

hair jig for crappie


Plastic vs Hair

Plastic baits are used more these days than hair jigs for crappie but there are times when hair jigs seem to outperform plastic baits. Hair imparts a very subtle action to a crappie jig. The natural look, movement and some might argue taste of natural hair jigs can entice reluctant crappie into biting. Obviously, there are plastic baits that look natural. They can easily be flavored with the many scents available and the soft bodies will feel pretty realistic as well. However, ask any die hard crappie jig angler and they are likely to tell you that there are definitely times when hair outperforms plastic. For whatever reason. There are plenty of ideas on why this is and a few mentioned above but to an old crappie angler trial and error proved it and that’s all that’s needed to tie one on under certain circumstances.

Conditions for Hair Jigs 


As mentioned above there is plenty of ideas on why hair outperforms plastic for crappie, when it does that. Some say the natural action that is there with just the movement of water or current. This subtle action is why hair jigs work so well in cold water. Crappie is cold-blooded. When the water temps drop so does the crappie activity. They don’t chase their food as much and often demand a very subtle and sparse profile. Hair jigs have this and will trigger strikes without any action imparted by the angler. Oftentimes, a hair jig sitting over a deep brush pile in the winter is all you need to catch a few crappies. So cold water is probably the best time to use hair jigs for crappie.

A nasty cold front, when the crappie seem to develop lockjaw is another great time to tie on a hair jig. Cold fronts tend to shock crappie into a lethargic state with little to no desire to eat as they wait it out. Thankfully there is still ways to get bites during a cold front and that’s by using the subtle hair jig. Some anglers refuse to have a minnow in their boat claiming that if they can’t catch some crappie with a jig then they don’t need to catch any at all. I like a minnow sometimes especially when the water is cold. I will add the minnow to my hair jig for some flavor and reaction strikes. Minnows will almost always help you get more bites but it’s funny how there are times when the hair jig alone gets way more bites.

A slow bite is another time when a hair jig works great. Sometimes crappie is just not biting. Maybe they have eaten already or maybe they gorged before a previous storm or cold front and just aren’t hungry. Either way a hair jig is a go-to jig for crappie anytime it is a tough bite and your other methods are coming up short.

Ice Fishing With Hair Jig 

While I have only done a little ice fishing I do follow ice fishing because I think it would be lots of fun if you could get on some good fish. I know that hair jigs are used through the ice to entice those cold-water crappie and Wintertime Crappie anglers, here in the south, use hair jigs as well. Die-hard ice anglers use hair jigs and many tie their own. Check out this Uncut Angling video for some great hair jig crappie fishing. This is why I would love to go ice fishing more.

Watch the following awesome video. This guy that grabs deer tails from road kill deer. He uses them to tie a simple white hair jig to catch winter crappie. It works as the video will show so be sure and watch it here. The size of these crappies are enormous and would be so much fun to climb into an ice fishing hut with a cooler and a little music and spend a cold winter’s day catching giant crappies like these. So cool.

CATCH CRAPPIE WITH HAIR JIG: Giant Crappie Awesome Video


Check Out

Wintertime Crappie

About Ken McBroom 306 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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