Crappie is one of the most sought-after panfish species due to how downright tasty they are. Also, fishing for them is pretty fun. In most states, the bag limit is high, around 15-30 fish. So, you could target them all day long, then come home with a mess of them for your weekend fish fry. However, to catch these fish, you’re going to need the best crappie lures and baits ready in your tackle box.

In this review, we will list our top five baits and lures for targeting crappie. Then, as a bonus, we will teach you what types of tackle work best for these panfish.

Hook and Bullet’s Best Crappie Lures and Baits in 2021

VMC Marabou Jig - Best Crappie Lures and Baits in 2021VMC Marabou Jig
  • Color: Brown
  • Size: 1/16-ounce
  • Style: Jig
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Bandit Series 300 Crankbait - Best Crappie Lures and Baits in 2021Bandit Series 300 Crankbait
  • Color: Awesome Pink
  • Size: 1/4-ounce
  • Style: Crankbait
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Crappie Magnet FinSpin Kit - Best Crappie Lures and Baits in 2021Crappie Magnet FinSpin Kit
  • Color: Chartreuse
  • Size: 1/16 and 1/8-ounce
  • Style: Spinner
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Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnow - Best Crappie Lures and Baits in 2021Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnow
  • Color: Smelt
  • Size: 1-inch
  • Style: Soft plastic bait
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Berkley PowerBait Sparkle Nibbles - Best Crappie Lures and Baits in 2021Berkley PowerBait Sparkle Nibbles
  • Color: Chartreuse
  • Size: 1.2-ounce jar
  • Style: Dough bait
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Why Can You Trust Us?

While living in South-Central Missouri, I had the opportunity to fish at one of the best locations for crappie in the state, the Lake of the Ozarks. I’ve spent many weekends targeting these fish and other species. During this time, I experimented with various lures, live and artificial baits to see what made these fish tick.

In addition to my personal fishing experience, I also spend a lot of time researching fishing tactics and products. So, I can make sure I’m not missing out on any new gear or tricks. Therefore, with this knowledge and experience, you can trust me to point you in the right direction of what crappie lures are absolute slab slayers.

Best Marabou Jig

    VMC Marabou Jig
    VMC’s Marabou Jig features a natural coloring and small profile, perfect for fishing clear water conditions.

Why We Like It: A marabou-styled jig is a classic amongst the crappie community. The beauty of the marabou jig is its slow fall rate and natural presentation. So, you can finesse it in cold water conditions or fish it vertically on a clear sunny day. VMC has this jig available in various colors and weights to help you better replicate forage in your area.

Also, we appreciate the high-quality materials used on this Marabou jig to make it long-lasting, so you can enjoy using it on multiple trips.

Who Should Buy It: Crappie anglers who need an effective finesse jig for winter fishing.

Best Crankbait

    Bandit Series 300 Crankbait
    The Bandit 300 crankbait is well-known for producing bites from black crappie, time after time again. These hard plastic lures can dive between 8 to 12-feet deep.

Why We Like It: There’s a reason a majority of crappie anglers will select a Bandit 200 or 300 series crank over another crankbait for trolling. These reasons are: they have high-quality materials, sharp hooks, track straight, and undoubtedly attract fish.

Furthermore, Bandit’s crankbaits are available in multiple colors, from a vibrant, awesome pink to black bubble gum. Whichever color pattern you decide to go with, choose one with a bright-colored belly for crappie. These panfish look up to feed, making a highly-visible belly pattern much more attractive.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers who enjoy trolling for crappie.

Best Spinner

    Crappie Magnet FinSpin Kit
    When paired with a tube bait, these FinsSpin jig heads become a dynamic duo for luring in crappie.

Why We Like It: This jig head kit by Crappie Magnet comes will transform any 1 to 2-inch grub into a spinnerbait. This set comes with 16 jigheads total, half of which are size ⅛-ounce and the other size 1/16-ounce. These smaller sizes are what you want when selecting jigheads for crappie. Due to how lightweight they are and the smaller profile hooks are less likely to deter the fish from striking.

Additionally, two key features that make these spinners great are their wide gap hooks and double-cross barbs. First off, the wide gap hooks give you a better hookset since crappie have large mouths. Then, the double-cross barbs secure your soft plastic baits while trolling or casting.

Who Should Buy It: Crappie anglers who prefer fishing with soft plastic baits.

Best Artificial Minnow

    Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnow
    These split tail artificial minnows have the looks, action, and scent needed to mimic live bait.

Why We Like It: Although live minnows effectively target crappie, sometimes they can be a pain to keep alive. So, when you need an artificial bait solution, these Berkley minnows work phenomenally. The split tail design gives them that natural swimming action to lure in feeding crappie. Also, they’re pretty versatile. For example, you can troll them on a spinner or jig them vertically with a small bullet weight.

Berkley also packed these minnows with their scent dispersion technology, designed to increase your chances of attracting fish.

Who Should Buy It: Crappie anglers looking for a bait substitute for live minnows.

Best Dough bait

    Berkley PowerBait Sparkle Nibbles
    Attract more fish by adding Berkley’s long-lasting dough bait nibbles to the end of your hook or jig head.

Why We Like It: Berkley’s PowerBait Nibbles sparkle in the water to give your bait that extra attractant needed to bring in hesitant crappie. These dough bites are excellent for novice anglers since they’re simple to use, and they can easily mold them onto hooks. Lastly, these nuggets are available in multiple vibrant colors, from blue ice to neon chartreuse.

Who Should Buy It: Beginner anglers targeting crappie with artificial baits.

Characteristics You Should Look For in a Crappie Lure

Size and Weight

When you’re fishing for crappie, you want to keep your lure sizes and weights small. Lightweight lures make it easier to feel for strikes, and baits with a smaller profile won’t intimidate the fish. If you would like a more detailed reference, here’s a list of hook sizes and lure weights we recommend for crappie fishing (smallest to biggest):

  • Hook size: 6 to 2
  • Treble hook size: 6 to 14
  • Jig head and lure weight: 1/64 to ¼

Lastly, when choosing a hook size, it is best to pick one that matches the size of your bait.


Lure color selection is dependent on the condition of the water and weather. The best rule of thumb is to stick to natural colors in clear water and vibrant colors in murky water or cloudy weather. However, in my experience, I have had the most success with brightly colored lures for crappie. For example, pink, chartreuse, and red baits are crappie magnets!

If you would like a more in-depth guide to selecting lure colors, check out our tutorial.


You can use a variety of lure styles for targeting crappie. They’ll bite on spinners, jigs, cranks, and 1 to 2-inch soft plastics. Honestly, when it comes to selecting what style lure to use, the best advice I can give you is: work with what you got.

How We Picked

A lot of research went into picking the best lures to include in this product review. We looked at numerous crappie tackle and came up with a system to help us fine-tune our list. In the end, it came down to a commonality that all of these lures share. These shared features are positive consumer feedback, durability, effectiveness, and versatility.

We wanted to make sure we included a variety of lures that met multiple crappie fishing applications. So that regardless of your fishing style or experience, you would be able to find a product to suit your needs.

Our Favorite Crappie Lure for 2021 Is…

Drum roll, please. The Hook and Bullet team’s top pick for the best crappie lure is the Bandit 300 series Crappie Crankbait. We chose it for its vibrant color patterns, durability, and overall ability to attract fish. Fish these crankbaits while trolling in the boat or casting off a fishing dock. Also, it has super positive consumer feedback for its ability to catch crappie.

Did this article help you select what lures and baits to put in your crappie tackle box? If so, please support us by leaving a comment below or sharing it on social media.