Crappie scents in suspense

Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall relies on the scent of anise oil to attract his next fish.

Even for the tournament types, crappie fishing doesn’t always need to be a high-strung tension fest. You’d be amazed at the therapeutic benefits of dropping the anchor and deploying a few float rigs baited with something smelly.

For sure, live minnows will always keep you in the game, but as the weather continues warming and crappie turn cantankerous, giving them something to sniff is often the deal closer.

Productive bait options packaged in convenient nugget form include:

• Stubby Steve’s (

• Berkley Powerbait Crappie Nibbles (

• Magic Bait Crappie Bites (

Crappie aficionado T.J. Stallings, who knows a thing or two about floating baits for the freckle fish, offered these tips for optimal performance:

• Better buoyancy — Bobbers or floats? Bobbers are like beach balls that pinch the line. A small foam float is more aerodynamic and does less harm to the line. Better anglers know that smaller floats are easier for fish to pull down and get hooked. Large floats are great for feeding fish.

• Hook size — Match the hook to the bait and the fish’s mouth. An Aberdeen, fine-wire hook in size 2 is perfect for most crappie. However, if they are running over 10 inches, move up to size 1. For massive crappie, like those in Grenada Lake where the minimum size is 12 inches, a larger 1/0 size is better.

• Hook style — Cam-action hooks like Mr. Crappie and the Tru-Turn brands land more fish because they rotate toward pressure and result in more hook-ups.

Loads of fun for kids and equally enjoyable for adults, a float setup allows you to present you baits over brush piles, in front of deep dock faces, standing timber and anywhere crappie could be holding.

By simplifying the operation and eliminating the need to carry or tow a minnow bucket, synthetic crappie baits offer a no-frills approach with often delightfully productive results.

About David A. Brown 142 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications.

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