DOUBLE JIG RIG FOR SUSPENDED CRAPPIE
Nice crappie caught on the double jig rig. The crappie were suspended 12 feet down over 25 feet of water. Photo 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.
The double jig rig utilizes 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.