Tightlining Crappie Fishing: Great Crappie Fishing Options on Slow Days

Tightlining Crappie Fishing
Tightlining Crappie Fishing

Anglers are resilient. There are many conditions that can affect the behavioral pattern of crappies. For new anglers, this will mean no catch for days or very slow days for a long time. But experienced anglers will always find a way.

One of these conditions is during the cold season when the crappies seem to be ‘away on vacation.’ Anytime you sense a drought is about to happen in your crappie fishing experience it is best to explore all your options. In the case of slow days during cold weather or winter tightlining is one of the best crappie fishing options.

Tightlining Crappie Fishing

What is tightlining?

It can be simply described as fishing for crappies in a stationary vertical position without the use of bobbers. The angler relies on the bait to attract the crappies and also anticipates bites before retrieving the line.

In the case of tightlining there is no bobber to indicate that crappies are biting the bait. This is why anglers use very light lines and smaller jigs to help them feel the crappie bites and retrieve the lines before they lose the fish.

How it is done

Tightlining for crappies can be done from the docks or a fishing boat. However, it is essential that you keep still during tightlining for crappies. From the docks or river banks you can tight line by using only one line, but if you plan to use a fishing boat, multiple lines can be set-up as tight lines. However, in this case, you will need to pay very close attention to the lines to detect bites on your bait.

First, you need the right size of the sinker to get your bait to the depths where the crappies are lurking; the sinker keeps the line tight in a vertical position. You can also use your crappie finder to detect the location of crappies beneath the water.

You will also need to study the river bed to find brush piles, weeds, or contours beneath the river surface. So choose a crappie fish finder with these capabilities. Next set up your tackle and position your bait to make it visible to crappies by dropping it very slowly to reach the depths, in many cases before your sinker hits the bottom, you will feel some bites. If you choose to set up multiple rods, repeat the procedure for each of them.

Tightlining gear

When buying tightlining gear, your focus should be to get lightweight rods, and jigs.

  • Live bait or soft plastic small sized jigs
  • 10 ft. lightweight rods (or longer based on your preference)
  • Microfilament line (20lb)
  • Swivels and sinkers (2-ounce sinkers)

Many new anglers have their first crappie experience by tightlining because it is quite easy. However, during the winter more anglers are compelled to use this method. The opportunity to set up multiple lines increases your chances of landing more crappies.

It is also a crappie fishing method that can be used any time of the year. All you need is a good crappie fish finder to locate the crappies or their cover (brush piles, weeds) in the river depths.


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