If you are just starting out crappie fishing you should first decide on what gear you need.
To start out all you need is a good rod that is anywhere from 5′ to 14′. If you are planning on bank fishing I would go with a 6′ rod for casting. If you are fishing from a boat you may want a longer pole to reach areas away from the boat without “spooking” the fish with the boat. A simple reel to match your rod is fine. It can be a spin cast or open face reel. Either works well. Pick one that suits you. Use a light line like 6-10 lbs to better feel the “thump” of the crappie biting the jig. You will need to “set” the hook after you feel the thump so be ready.
You will also need some bait. Either have a some small #2 hooks for minnows with a split shot weight and a bobber to detect a bite. You can also use jigs under a cork or you can use them to vertical jig without a bobber. Either way catches crappie so experiment. Minnows are a staple food for crappie so if they are shy to bite try minnows as they always are on the dinner menu for crappie.
Next you need to know where you will be fishing. Check your local area for good lakes or ponds to fish. Make sure there are fish in the area also. Check the internet to find out more about that body of water like what fish are in it and hat they are eating or if they are biting. There are fishing reports available from many sites with Crappie.com being the best I have ever found. You can find info about any state in America! Read all you can about the conditions and past reports. You can even look at years past and see how they were biting during the time of year you are fishing. It is a wealth of knowledge and you should read as much as you can to catch as many as you can.
Once you decide where to fish, either on the bank or on a boat, pick a spot and be patient. Look for standing timber or brush in the water. Crappie love to hold close to structure like trees and stumps and rocks under the water. They usually are holding in the 8-10 foot range when close to the bank but can be closer if it is spring as the crappie will be spawning and laying eggs in shallow water. For the most part they will be away from thee banks in about 8-20 foot of water.
Throw or drop your jig/bait in the spot you want to catch and try “jigging” your pole. This is a small twitch or jerk motion to move the jig under the water a small bit. It makes the jig shake a bit to entice a bite. This mimics a small fish or insect and the crappie will bite.
If you try all around the structure and no bites after 30 minutes try another spot and see if they will bite. Use different color jigs or use minnows to see how and what they are biting. Colors matter during the day and night depending on the sunlight or overcast skies. It is a basic rule to use dark colors on overcast days and light colors on sunny days. Black and chartreuse are always a good color for most lakes but have a few colors available to switch it up and test out what color the crappie like.
You will probably find your best times for catching crappie early in the morning or late afternoon however you can catch them all day and night as they are a member of the sunfish family and are a predator fish and have to eat.
Crappie are fun to catch and better to eat. If you have the time and want to catch a fish that makes you feel good after you land them from the “thump” or the fight. Crappie can get very big so look for lakes that constantly produce bigger crappie and try them for fishing. There are also guides that can take you out on a lake and make sure you catch crappie. They are not cheap but they are well worth it if you just need to catch some fish and have some fun!
However you fish or wherever you fish, remember that fishing is a community sport and many people fish for the thrill of the chase. Trying to find crappie can be so frustrating at times but once you do find them the rewards are numerous!
Get out today and try crappie fishing!! You will love the “thump”!