While fishing a Crappie Masters tournament several years ago, an observer asked veteran angler Whitey Outlaw about the way he hooked a minnow on his jig.
“Well, I don’t really know: I probably did it by accident the first time,” Outlaw said. “All I know is that it worked, and I‘ve been doing it ever since.”
The Crappie Pro, who has a proven track record, said his secret is especially effective at attracting attention to his bait when jig fishing around cover that is already loaded with natural bait.
Outlaw uses a 1/16-ounce jig and piggybacks a live minnow on the end of the jig — a common practice among many crappie anglers.
The difference is that Outlaw impales his live bait upside down, inserting the hook through the minnow’s nostril and coming out behind the lower jaw. The result is a very disoriented bait that wriggles to right itself as soon as it’s back in the water.
The pro said a minnow hooked in this fashion never “settles down” as many minnows will do when hooked and left for a time in the water.
Outlaw fishes all over the country, and he said his trick works in both deep, clear lakes as well as more-stained, shallower waters.
“I don’t troll them upside down unless I’m fishing a really tight area because it’ll kill them quicker,” he said. “But for enticing a big slab that’s hanging tight to structure, that upsidedown minnow looks like it’s injured, and he’s usually the first that big crappie will pick off.”