DOUBLE JIG RIG FOR SUSPENDED CRAPPIE by: Ken McBroom
When the crappie are suspended, sometimes it can be tough to keep your presentation within the strike zone. The double jig rig works great in doing this and can help you catch more suspended crappie. Crappie will suspend in the water column at certain times of the season. This technique works great when other anglers have given up after the spawn and you can have the lake to yourself, searching for suspended crappie that have moved out to deeper water in the summer and again in the winter.
The first step is to locate suspended crappie which should not be far from suspended baitfish. Locating the baitfish can be enough to begin your search with the double jig rig. To locate suspended crappie you must have a quality fish finder. I would suggest using a colored fish finder with a GPS system to help mark the schools of crappie as well as the baitfish, so you know where to look for them again if you have to leave in search of more schools or more active fish. This allows you to return to that spot later to see if they will bite. Some schools of crappie are more active during different times of the day and its great to be able to return right to where you found the school earlier.
Thedouble jig rigutilizes two jigs and allows you to present, to the suspended crappie, two different colors whether you use the cast and fall or vertical presentation. My favorite tube for this rig is the Gary Yamamoto Tiny Ika. It is important that you keep the jigs close in weight so the jigs fall together. You don't want one jig to fall faster than the other, as this could cause some tangles.
Using a Palomar knot, tie on your first jighead leaving a two- foot tag end. At the end of this tag end tie your second jighead using the same knot. Dress each jighead with a different color or type of skirt like a tube or curly tail grub. The obvious notion is to see what the suspended crappie want for that day or that body of water. I have noticed over the years that certain colors work better on certain lakes, and I will stick with those shades and color combinations when I am fishing that particular body of water. I still use two different jigs but might not use a white jig if I never had any luck with that color on that lake. I will put on a white skirt if I can't get them to bite, but more times than not the colors you have learned catch crappie on that body of water will work the best. A journal is a great tool for figuring out these little nuances where you fish.
Once suspended crappie or baitfish are located on your fish finder, note the depth. You can vertical jig the double jig rig or cast it out and allow it to fall through the suspended crappie. Let the crappie tell you what they want. The vertical presentation works great when the crappie are suspended in or around cover. This presentation will help limit hang-ups, and with a good fish finder you can even see your double jig rig on the screen and lower it into the suspended crappie but keep it out of the cover. This is a great presentation.
When the crappie are moving around and not relating to cover, that is when the cast and fall presentation works the best. Usually when suspended crappie are moving around they are chasing baitfish and will move up and down within the water column to get to them. This is when you want to locate the scattered schools of baitfish which is usually a certain location on the lake. Once the location of these scattered pods of baitfish are located, you can cast into the open water allowing the double jig rig to fall on a tight line, occasionally giving the jigs a couple twitches as it falls. You can see the max depth of crappie on your fish finder. It is important to keep your presentation above the max depth to increase your bites. After a few crappie take your jig you will learn the depth and color of jig that works. Sometimes the two different colors perform the same, but most times there is a color that gets more bites. This is when you put that color on the second jig and continue your day until the limit is in the livewell or you are tired of catching crappie. I can say I never have gotten tired of catching any fish, especially crappie on the double jig rig. It's Great fun.
double minnow rig
Double Minnow Rig
crappie rigging tips for crappie
There are several different ways to tie a double minnow rig. Rigging for crappie has become a science and while there are many ways to tie a double minnow rig for crappie the concept is the same with them all. Presenting two minnows on your rig not only increases the amount of baits you are presenting to the crappie, but it also allows you to present your minnows at different depths. Sometimes you will catch more crappie with your double minnow rig at a specific depth, but more times than not you will catch crappie at different depths and the double minnow rig for crappie is the most efficient way to catch crappie that are scattered and moving around. Especially when spider rigging.
Oftentimes I will use a double jig rig for spider rigging and many times I will add a minnow to each jig for a little more enticement. The use of jigs in place of minnows is even more efficient than the double minnow rig because you don’t have to bait up and catch those squirmy minnows before getting your baits back down to the crappie. A jig will perform better when the water temp rises above say 55 degrees or so. I always use the double minnow rig either with just a hook or with a jig for a little color when the water temp is below that 55-degree mark. The double minnow rig works better when the water is cold because you have to slow way down due to the slow metabolism that the crappies possess at these temps. The good thing is that the double minnow rig will work throughout the crappie season.
Now how to tie or rig the double minnow rig for catching more crappie. You can keep it simple and forego the swivel or you can use a 3-way swivel or a small single swivel for your double minnow rig. If you want to keep it simple you can feed your main line through the hole in an egg sinker several times, making sure to leave 18 inches or on the tag end to tie the bottom hook. Loop your line through the sinker until it no longer slips down the line. Tie the bottom hook onto the end of the tag end using a Palomar knot, the simplest knot in fishing and the only one I use. Use the same knot to tie another hook 12-18 inches above the sinker. Rig your double minnow rig with fresh crappie minnows and you’re ready to fish.
When using a single swivel start by tying the top hook to your main line, leaving 12-18 inches of line below it. Then slide an egg sinker onto the line. I like to use a bead next because the hole in the sinker can fit over your swivel if you use a small one. Now attach your single barrel swivel to the end of your main line, the swivel will now keep the sinker at that position on the line. A swivel will prevent line twist and is a better option if you use light line because looping lighter line through the sinker can weaken it and cause breakage. Now attach a strip of line to the bottom of the swivel and tie on a hook to the end and your double minnow rig is ready to catch crappie. Good luck.