By Nick Simonson
Crappies are notorious for their color preferences, and the marabou crappie jig can provide any amount of one, or up to three contrasting shades on a single hookshank. While specks can be taken by any offering on a given day, there’s always one color pattern that outperforms the rest making for a maddening situation for those not in possession of the hot hue, and one that makes a lead angler snicker with delight when it’s his or her lure that’s outperforming 3-to-1 on the water.
This facet of fishing for the region’s favorite springtime panfish is made easier through customizable jigs that put together the shades needed for success on a given water. Simply record what colors seem to work best on a given day, or certain stretch in the season, and tie up a few dozen marabou crappie jigs to give the fish what they want. With a pinch of feather and a few turns of fuzz, a full box of these staple crappie angling lures will be ready to go.
Hook: Collarless Jig 1/32 to 1/8 oz
Thread: 6/0, Color to Match
Tail: Marabou tips
Body: Medium Chenille
Start the lure by securing the jig in the vise and select a pinch of marabou to be tied in from just behind the head to the bend (1). Lock it in place starting behind the jig head and over the hook shank so that the tips hang about 3/4 of the jig length beyond the bend (2). The tail can be adjusted longer or shorter, depending on the mood of the fish or the way the jig will be fished, with bait or without.
Select a stretch of medium chenille and strip the fluff away from the threads underneath (3). Tie the chenille in by the exposed threads and advance the tying thread to just behind the jig head (4). Wrap the chenille forward so that each turn touches the previous one, making a tight, segmented body before tying the excess down just behind the head with a number of thread wraps (5). Trim off the excess, whip finish and add a small drop of cement to the back of the jighead which will soak into the wraps to hold things in place, and the marabou crappie jig is complete (6).
In a matter of minutes, it’s easy to have a space in a tacklebox filled with colorful offerings for springtime slabs. Adjust the color of the tail, body and jig head to find the perfect fix for papermouths in any water and have a variety of options ready to roll when spring panfishing fires up. With an upsizing to 1/8 ounce and larger jigs, the pattern works on walleyes and smallmouth bass as well.