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" Crappie fishing has been revolutionized over the past several by the introduction of the soft plastic crappie tube. The tube has replaced the minnow as the most popular bait for crappie or specs, as they are known in some areas. This transition has taken place for several reasons. One is that the jig is easier to use than minnows. Plastic tubes are not messy, they don't flop around in the bottom of the boat when dropped. In addition, they're easier to keep alive on a hot day than minnows. Crappie jigs are also more durable than their counterparts. A single tube can catch twenty or thirty fish without coming off, something no minnow has ever done. Also, they stay on when casted or snagged on brush and, since they are usually used without a floater, when they do get &quothung-up", they are easier to retrieve. All these reasons have contributed to the popularity of the crappie tube, but the best reason is the simple fact that they catch fish! They are extremely versatile, allowing fishermen to easily adapt to water color, weather conditions, depth and most other variables that affect fishing. This ability allows both novices and experts catch more crappie."

" Now, let's talk about rigging and fishing the crappie tube. First, we need to select a jig head. There are a lot of options the choose from when selecting a jig head like weight, hook size, and style. To the right is a picture of some of the most common jig head variations. "

" Since there are so many different combinations to choose from, I'll discuss my personal favorite, but please experiment and find what works best for you. I like to use a 1/32 oz jig head with a #2 hook (Mizmo's 1/32oz crappie jighead). The weight is a good all purpose weight and the oversized hook allows me to get thos big slabs in the boat. To rig simply tie the jig head on using your favorite knot then put on your favorite color tube, my favorite being a red and chartreuse Spec in clear water and a purple and white Spec in dingy water. Putting the tube on the jig head is similar to hooking a worm, inserting the hook in the top or head of the jig, then threading the hook through the hollow part of the tube until the tube covers the lead barb on the head as seen to the right. NOTE: due to the added plastic in Mizmo tubes, sometimes the tube has to be worked back and forth on the barb to get a proper fit. Now you're ready to start fishing! To fish simply use a long crappie pole and drop the jig in around brush, logs, trees or any other type of natural or man-made cover. Some like to give it a jigging motion while others just like to hold it still, again, find what works best for you. If you are not getting results, try adjusting the depth and/or color until you find a combination that produces fish."

" Depending on the time of year other variations work well also. Before and after the spawn, crappie will spend a short time suspended just out away from the structure. During these times, try backing out and casting the jig to the edge of the cover and retrieving. With this added movement through the water, adding a spinner can be very effective. At other times, like during part of the summer through to early spring, crappie hang out in deeper water making trolling necessary. Trolling involves casting out several lines and either trolling with a motor or letting the wind blow the boat across the lake, hopefully through the middle of a school of fish. When trolling, I like to add one or two extra jigs to each line about 12" apart. This allows me to fish a wide variety of depths and color combinations at one time. This makes the fish easier to pattern and easier to catch. As with the other methods, experimenting is the key to finding the most successful variation. They say "practice makes perfect". Well, in fishing nothing will make you perfect, but practice is so much fun and will definitely increase your success. Good luck and remember, if you have any questions, contact the Mizmo staff."

Troy C.

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