You want to catch some mega-monster fall slab crappie? Of course you do! And casting artificials is a great way to put ‘em in the cooler. When you set out to target these fish, remember these three casting for crappie tips:

  1. Up-size your offering. Sure, small lures will get more bites. But the real slabs out there want a big meal as they fatten up for winter. Trade in your two-inch tubes for three-inchers. If you’re fishing minnow, put bigger ones on the hook. And when slow-trolling down the lake, deploy some larger crankbaits than you might usually choose.
  2. When you find a suspended school of fish, work your lure just underneath them. As is true of many species, the largest fish in the school often hang a bit deeper and apart from the crowd.
  3. Probe deep structure. Though you’ll find plenty of crappie up along shoreline structure at this time of the year, the true lunkers often stick to deeper areas of the lake. Standing timber in 10-plus feet of water is a good bet, as are submerged brushpiles and underwater creek channels.
a crappie caught in a lake
Crappie like this should make any freshwater angler happy. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

BONUS TIP: Even though you’re targeting larger crappie, don’t up-size your gear. Remember that crappie can be quite line-shy, and six-pound test is still on the heavy side when trying to get finicky fish to bite. Going to four-pound test may make it harder to land the fish, but using it will result in more strikes. Accordingly, you also need a light rod with plenty of give and a light drag setting on the reel to avoid break-offs. In this case finesse will out-catch brute force almost all of the time.

Looking for more crappie fishing tactics and tips? Check out How to Sling Shot for Christmas Crappie, and Crappie Fishing Savvy.