Crappie Jigs: What Colors and Jig Heads to Use

Crappie jigs are a staple for many crappie fishing anglers. Some even say it’s the best crappie lure for shallow water panfish fishing. Read on for more tips and recommendations on crappie jig colors and heads. 

Best Crappie Jig Types

Picture showing the different crappie jig styles

Jigs are a must-have while going crappie fishing. Not only do they work great in different fishing conditions, but they are also cheap and easy to use. There are also many types, shapes, and colors to choose from, so you can experiment with what works for you. 

Tube

Strike King Mr. Crappie Tube/Red-Chartreuse Sparkle (MRCT2-187)

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Tubes are typically 1.5 to 2 inches long with a hollow body and cut tassels. Its tail moves independently in the water, making it an excellent choice for vertical jigging and casting. However, there are many variations – some have a less pronounced tail, while others have layered pours. 

Regarding availability, you can get them in bulk (typically packs of 50) and pre-rigged. Color-wise, there are plain, two-color combos or with glitters.  

Curly Tail Grub

Bobby Garland Hyper Grub Curly-Tail Swim-Bait Crappie Fishing Lure, Accessories for Freshwater Fishing, 2', Pack of 18, Smoke Silver

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Its tail is the most distinctive physical feature of a curly tail grub jig. Unlike tube jigs, they are not recommended for vertical jigging because it needs steady horizontal movement. However, you can use this crappie jig type for casting. 

Shad Body

Bobby Garland Baby Shad Crappie Baits-Pack of 18 (2-Inch, Gold/White), Model: BS143

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If you want a triple-threat jig, get the shad body. It works exceptionally well for casting, vertical jigging, and even shooting. Plus, it is not picky with the jighead you attach. In terms of appearance, it has a thin spear tail. 

Paddle Tail

Strike King Mr Crappie Slabalicious Electric Chicken (MRCSLC-60)

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Unlike the previous jigs, it has a paddle at the end of its tail. This feature gives the tail a subtle kick. It is not as pronounced, but it does catch the attention of crappies. For crappie fishing success, we suggest using a paddle tail jig only for casting. Then, once you have attracted some crappies, switch to a shad body jig. 

Spade Tail

Charlie's Worms Artificial Fishing Bait Spade Tail Grub, Freshwater Saltwater Bass Fishing Lures Scented Soft Baits 12pk (Pink and White)

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At the end of a spade tail jig is a flat tail, which can be forked, straight, or split. Like a shad body, it performs great for casting, shooting, and vertical jigging. The only difference is that a spade tail’s body is girthier or bulkier. 

Best Colors in Crappie Fishing 

Contrary to common belief, crappies are not blind. In fact, they have good eyesight and see color. Manufacturers make jigs in different colors due to the fishing condition, particularly the water’s depth, clarity, and temperature. Light is also a determining factor in how well they can see. 

Crappie Jig Color for Clear Water 

Crappie jigs that are light in color and mimic the natural patterns of baitfish are the best. Some anglers even add flash to make the jig even more enticing. These colors work best in clear water:

  • White 
  • Silver 
  • Green 

Expert Tip: Choosing crappie jigs with accent colors like orange or yellow perch is also great.

Crappie Jig Color for Muddy Water

Contrast matters when fishing in muddy or stained waters because the deeper the jig goes, the more color it loses. As such, you should swap your translucent jigs with more opaque colors instead. Stick to these colors to be successful:

  • Black 
  • Blue
  • Purple 

Expert Tip: Don’t use red-colored crappie jigs. They lose their color as the depth increases. For lightly stained waters, opaque white and chartreuse are highly recommended. 

Best Crappie Jig Heads

diagram showing how a jig head is used with a plastic bait

Artificial lures must look as realistic as possible, and that’s where the jig head comes in. It is a fish hook with weighted material at or near the end of it. Its purpose is to hold the bait in a natural-looking manner to attract crappies. A crappie rig wouldn’t be complete without jig heads. 

picture showing the different types of jig heads

Here are 5 of the best crappie jig heads in the market: 

Roundball Jig Head

Round Head Jig Hooks, 20pcs Ball Head Fishing Hooks Unpainted Jig Heads for Bass Trout Crappie Fishing Jigs Saltwater Freshwater (1/8oz)

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As its name suggests, it has a round head profile. It usually comes with a smooth lead head, but some options include a plain or two-tone finish and a painted eye. 

Out of all the available jig heads, many anglers prefer a roundball because it skips well for shooting docks. It is exceptional for casting and vertical jigging. This is because the rounded surface area provides a more erratic left and right action, especially when you jig it aggressively. 

Like other types of jig heads for crappie, a roundball jig head comes in different weights and colors. 

Pill Jig Head

Jenko Slasher Crappie Jig Head, Chartreuse, 1/4 oz

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Many beginners confuse a pill jig head with a roundball jig head and vice versa. But there is a distinct difference – a pill jig head has a flat bottom profile. Pill jig heads can also come unpainted with bright color combinations and a realistic 3D eye.

Minnow Jig Head

Swimbait-Jig-Head-Minnow-Fish-Head-Jig-for-Fishing (Shad 6 Pack, 3/8oz(10g))

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Unlike roundball and pill jig heads, it has a lead head shaped like a live minnow. Most anglers use this jig head for thinner jigs. Plus, it has a center balance point that retains the upright position of your jig, making it suitable for vertical jigging.

Like pill jig heads, you can get a minnow jig head for crappie unfinished or with eyes and gills.

Mushroom / Ned Jig Head

Reaction Tackle Shroom Jig 1/15 Black

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As the name suggests, this type has a mushroom-shaped head. Since it has a wider surfer area, anglers typically use it with bulkier plastic jigs. It also excels in rough fishing conditions as it keeps the bait upright and floats off the bottom. 

Spinner Jig Head

XFISHMAN Crappie-Jigs-Heads-Kit 1/8 1/16 1/32oz 50 Pack Ice Fishing Jigs Lead Head Jig Hook Lure (1/16 oz, Big Eye Jigheads-W/Spinner)

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These jig heads are popular among anglers because they add vibration and flash to the lure. It is typically attached with a willow blade to create a more enticing action for crappies. Most anglers use a spinner jig head when trolling for crappie. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Jig Head Color Matter for Crappie?

Yes, jig head color matters when catching crappies. However, it is not as important as the jig body color. We recommend sticking to the best crappie jig bait colors first before investing in painted jig heads. If you are not getting bites, then you should consider picking up colored jig heads. 

Do You Use a Bobber with a Crappie Jig?

Bobbers are necessary while fishing in shallow and deep waters because they keep jigs at a good depth. Apart from that, bobbers eliminate casting problems, making crappie fishing successful. However, you should only use bobbers only when using smaller bait. 

What Size Jig Head Is Best for Crappie?

The most popular jig head weight is 1/16 ounce, but some anglers opt for ⅛ ounce heads. However, you must stick to recommended sizes since jigs are usually in the upper parts of the water. For finesse applications, go for 1/64-ounce jig heads. 

Crappie Jigs: Ready to Catch Some Crappies?

Crappie jigs attract hungry crappies and mimic live bait, so it’s easier for you to entice the fish to bite. Before picking up a crappie jig, make sure that you use the best color and jig head. Happy Crappie fishing! 

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