8 Game-Changing Rigs To Step Up Your Crappie Fishing Game

fisherman with a black crappie catch using his crappie rig
Dale Shetler
By Dale Shetler
Updated February 8, 2021

Are you wondering how you can catch crappie like the best anglers in business? Then you've come to the right place!

Keep reading and we'll go over all the rigging information and crappie fishing tips you need to know to make the most of your next crappie adventure.

No matter where you are in the US, you're most likely not very far from a lake or body of water where you can go crappie fishing! Arguably one of the most popular fish in the country, crappie are abundant, fun to catch and they even make for a tasty, mouthwatering feast when you're able to catch your fill.

Below, we'll be taking a look at the 8 best crappie rigs to help increase your chances of success on your next fishing adventure!

1. Texas Rig

Texas Rig Worming Guide Infographic

Also known as a T-rig, the Texas rig has been one of the most common crappie fishing techniques used for decades. And although you can use this presentation with live bait, it's most often used to present soft plastic baits.

When properly set up and used, a Texas rig is almost guaranteed to help you land those crappie!

Essentially, the Texas rig has 3 main components: a hook, bullet-shaped or egg sinker, and a plastic bait.

Ideally, you'll want to have the sinker pegged just above your hook on the line so that it will stay put and will help pull the baited hook clear through any thick vegetation, and not to mention, lure in those crappie that are likely hanging out nearby.

Crappie anglers often use the Texas rig when in need of a streamlined, weedless bait for fishing near thick covers or underneath brush piles.

2. Carolina Rig

Carolina Rig Setup Guide Infographic

All the crappie pros know that the Carolina rig is the next most popular fishing rig for catching this tasty game fish.

Similar to the Texas rig, the Carolina rig works well for presenting plastic baits along the bottom of deep water areas where crappie are often hanging out. The main difference, however, is that the Carolina rig has the weight fixed further away from the hook, separated by the length of your leader.

To set up a Carolina rig, start by adding an egg or bullet-shaped sinker to your main fishing line (this works with braid, mono and fluorocarbon line).

Then you'll want to add a bead, a barrel swivel, a 6 to 18 inches leader of choice, and a hook.

You're free to experiment with different hook types or sizes, but wider offset worm hooks usually make ideal crappie hooks.

3. Slip Bobber Rig

Slip Bobber Rig illustration

Good crappie fishermen know there are more than just Texas rigs and Carolina fishing rigs. And when neither are getting you the results you want, it's time to switch up the presentation to try and tempt those crappie into biting.

Another of the most popular crappie fishing techniques is known as the slip float rig.

It can be next to impossible to cast your line when you've got a fixed bobber on your line. This is where the slip float rig comes into play when fishing for crappie.

With this configuration, you'll have a slip float resting above your 1/8 ounce or 1/16 ounce, jig or weight.

Then, as the jig or jig hook and weight sinks, the float will slide up your line until it hits the stopper that you'll set at a pre-determined distance from the hook. Ideally, this will be set to where crappie and other fish like to hang out.

Set up a slip bobber rig using the following steps:

  1. Push your main line through a bobber stopper and slide it up the line a few feet to your desired stop distance.
  2. String your main line through a bead and through the slip bobber from the top to bottom. Make sure to hold the line end until you've tied your hook or lure onto the end.
  3. Add your jig head or jig hook and split shot if needed.
  4. Adjust the stopper knot as needed to increase or decrease the hook's distance from the float.

Then, get out there and start catching those fish!

4. Drop Shot Rig

Drop shot rig sinker and soft plastic lure bait setup for catching predatory fish

Another extremely effective crappie fishing rig is known as the drop shot rig.

With this configuration, the idea is to have your bait suspended above the bottom, ideally right in front of where those crappie like to hang out.

Set it up by:

  1. Tying a knot with an extra-long tag end, roughly 12 to 24 inches according to how far you want your bait from the bottom.
  2. Pass the end of the line through the eye of your hook.
  3. Loosely tie an overhand knot, where your hook should now be dangling from the bottom of the newly formed loop.
  4. While still holding your overhand knot, pass the end of the loop over the hook and slide it up to the eye of the hook.
  5. Gently pull on the static line and tag line to tighten the knot over the eye of the hook.
  6. Lastly, feed the tag end through the eye of the hook from above and add a small weight at the desired distance from the hook.

Click here for a visual on how to set up this type of rig.

5. Crappie Float Rig

Float Rig With Swivel

As one of the most basic crappie fishing rigs on our list, sometimes all you'll need to reel in one crappie after the next is your fishing line, a bobber or float, a hook and some bait.

For this simple configuration, start by choosing the type of float you want to use.

Position your float a few feet above your jig or lure, and finally, add a few weights or split shots to your main line if needed to help draw your bait towards the bottom.

As one of the more basic crappie fishing rigs, feel free to use different variations of it to find out what gets the crappie biting wherever you are.

6. Egg Slip Sinker Rig

Egg Slip Sinker Rig

Very similar to a Carolina fishing rig, an egg slip sinker is most often used when going after catfish. However, it can also be an effective rig for crappie fishing as well.

For this rig, you'll need your light line of choice, an egg, no roll, or sinker slider, a swivel, leader, hook and bait.

Start by adding your egg or slip sinker to your line and tieing the line end to your barrel swivel.

Then add your leader, usually between a 12 to 36-inch leader, and your preferred crappie fishing hook for when the fish inevitably strikes.

Additionally, you can also choose to use a three-way swivel, if you'd like to add an additional fish hook or maybe even two jigs, to experiment with your rigs a bit more.

The Egg slip sinker rig pairs perfectly with live bait such as a minnow and it's highly effective in clear water conditions. Sit back, watch your rod tip and ready yourself for when a crappie strikes.

7. Split Shot Rig

split shot rig

When crappie fishing, experienced anglers like to experiment with different variations of rigs to fine-tune what works for them. For instance, you can try experimenting by using a three-way swivel rather than a barrel swivel, or you can try switching up the types of baits, lures, or fishing line depths as needed.

Essentially, a split shot rig will have one or more split shot sinkers pinched on your line just above a swivel. Then, you'll have a leader, your lure and bait of choice, preferable something like minnows that all crappies love!

Depending on where you're fishing for crappie, you may need to experiment with different pound test lines, weights, baits, and variations of this simple crappie jig rig.

For example, in deeper water, you may need to increase the distance between your split shot and the crappie hook. Or, if you fish in shallower locations with less water depth, you'll need to decrease this distance to get your lure where those crappies are hanging out.

8. Bullet Bait Minnow Rig

Bullet Bait Rig

Bullet-shaped sinkers and baits are ideal for trolling or pulling your lures through thicker vegetation, brush piles, etc. These types of sinkers or weights help minimize snags, and can also help you dislodge those pesky snags when they do happen.

Using these types of sinkers is often ideal with a slip bobber setup, especially when you're trying to fish with a minnow near brush piles or thick cover, which are both ideal locations when looking for crappies.

Wrapping It Up

In the end, these are all great crappie fishing tips, but it's important to know that no single rigging or presentation is going to help you catch crappie all the time. Therefore, it's best to experiment with different techniques and rig variations to find out what works best for you, and those big crappie as well.

Spider rigging, where a single boat has anywhere between 5 to 10 trolling rods and rod holders set up, is an ideal way to test out different crappie rigs and find out what works best in the waters you're fishing.

Got any good crappie fishing tips that you'd like to share? Or is there any type of fishing information that you'd like to see us cover? We'd love to hear from you! Happy crappie fishing - enjoy the rigs.

Other crappie resources to check out: