Trailers give jigs and shiners a one-two punch for Louisiana slabs.
“It’s what’s up front that counts.”
Most of today’s fishermen are too young to remember where that first came from — a Winston cigarette commercial from 1959. There have been a lot of different applications since then, but when it comes to crappie fishing, it isn’t always true.
Sometimes, it’s what’s behind that counts. Especially when it is a little lagniappe for your crappie lure. Crappie Nibbles or some other sort of trailers on your jig or shiner are like icing on the cake.
When the bite is really on, crappie will hit most anything: jigs, shiners, spinners, wax worms, etc. But when they get a little finicky, you can give them a little something extra to keep the bite going. In fact, most anglers don’t take any chances. They use them all the time.
“I would say that 80% of people fish trailers,” says David Owen, owner of Honey Hole, a tackle shop in West Monroe. “By far, the most-popular trailer is the Berkley Crappie Nibble, mostly because it’s just been around the longest. The most-popular color is plain chartreuse, but some of the best fishermen swear by the white or silver bullet ones. Crappie Nibbles slowly dissolve, and when the glitter falls off in the water, it looks like tiny fish scales falling off a baitfish.”
Crappie Nibbles are soft and usually get knocked off when you catch a fish or get hung up, but fishermen usually keep a jar close at hand.
Owen said that Crappie Psychic Crappie Trailers and Crappie Ammo are growing in popularity. Crappie Trailers are long, skinny trailers that twitch and “swim” behind the bait. Crappie Ammo is a small round ball, somewhat like Crappie Nibbles, but it holds up better. All are impregnated with some pretty powerful smells that attract fish and leave anglers in need of scented baby wipes.
“There are also several other types of artificial trailers available, and the main thing is, something extra that appeals both to the sight and sense of smell of the fish can’t hurt,” Owen said.
“Some crappie fishermen use the Berkley Gulp Alive. It looks just like a real shiner. And never forget that you can put a live shiner on the back of a hair jig or a jig with a plastic trailer and then a live shiner, too. That seems to work well for big crappie.”
Crappie trailers come in about a dozen different colors, but Owen said he’s found that white is best when fishing in clear water, chartreuse in muddier water, and chartreuse/pink most any time, but especially in colder water.
“There are some popular spray attractants that smell and leave a trail in the water, but you don’t get the visibility of those bright pink, chartreuse and white trailers,” he said.
Some folks believe in trailers more than others. Owen laughs when he recalls the story of one dedicated Crappie Nibbles fan, who visited his store and showed him his favorite jigs and said he fished them with four Crappie Nibbles threaded on up and down the hook.
“Why four?” Owen asked.
“Because that’s all I could get on there,” the angler said.
Moving the nibble right up to the front
One of the hottest innovations for using a “crappie nibble” isn’t the attractant itself; it’s making a new and better place for anglers to put it.
Gill Reaper Lures has come out with a new “Eye hole” jig that puts the flavor not on the jig hook, but in the head of the jig. The jig is designed with a hole where the eye would normally be, the perfect size to insert your favorite crappie nibble. The positioning allows the scent to flow all the way down the bait and, if the fish is targeting the head of the jig, you get better hooksets.
They are relatively new and not on the market everywhere yet, but they come in 1/16-, 1/8- and 1/4-ounce sizes, with or without an underspin blade and in a variety of colors. You can order them at gillreaperlures.com online.