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Think Small for Crappie Fishing

Never say never.

“Never” did crappie guide and host of The Crappie Connection Brad Chappell ever see himself doing anything in August other than long-lining jigs or pulling crankbaits, two trolling techniques that he helped develop and popularize for catching slabs in the hottest months of the year. And never did he dream his summer catch rates would nearly double because of using different crappie fishing baits and tactics. Today, though, you’re likely to find him on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett Reservoir sitting still and casting Bobby Garland Itty Bits to cover.

“It’s true.” Chappell said, “Things just clicked last summer, and tossing these little baits is my new favorite summertime way to fish, and a method my clients love because they’re at the front of the boat and fully engaged in the fun of the action, from casting to catching.”

The “little baits,” as Chappell calls them, are lures in the Bobby Garland Itty Bit series; his favorites are the Itty Bit Slab Hunt’R and Itty Bit Baby Shad Swim’R. The 1.25-inch crappie fishing baits are about half the length of their full-sized namesakes. Their diminutive stature has proven worthy for imitating many things crappie feed upon during summer, from minnows to insects. Science supports the fact that crappie love morsels.

“Summer is a time of plenty,” explained Josh Johnston, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife NE Regional Supervisor of Fisheries. “There’s plenty of food options right now. In shad waters, especially those with threadfins, you can have multiple shad spawns, and insects are constantly hatching on land and water. Add to that an extensive mayfly hatch like those happening in many places, and there’s simply no shortage of small food options for crappie, and these fish are very opportunistic feeders. This time of year, crappie can get hard to catch for a lot of reasons, and having so much food available can certainly be one. Summer is a time when fish and prey hang tight to brush.”

Chappell’s approach has proven ideal for the scenario.

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