How to Fish for Crappie (Speck Fish) from the Bank?

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I have fished for all kinds of freshwater fish from the bank in my life.  I grew up fishing at our local lake and because I did not have a boat, we fished from the bank or a pier 100% of the time.  The goal of this article is to provide bank fishermen some crappie fishing tips.

The great news is that fishing the bank for crappie can be very productive, if you know where, when and how.  For the angler on a budget, like me in my younger days, it does not take much money to get the tackle you need – no boat payment required.  Instead, it is more about knowing how to target speck fish from the bank based on the seasons (i.e., summer, fall, winter and spring).  Just in case you do not already know, speck fish have a lot of nicknames and we use them throughout this article - below is a list we gathered from our What is a Crappie? Article:

  • Speck Fish / Spec Fish
  • Slab / Slabs
  • Panfish
  • Sac-a-lait Fish (I had actually never heard of this one)
  • Crappie Bass / croppie fish
  • Papermouth

There are three crappie fishing techniques that are most successful from the bank: 1) Using a bobber 2) Casting and 3) Vertical jigging in shallow cover.

Fish Crappie with a Bobber 

A bank fishing angler's best friend is a bobber.  And if you a looking for the best bobber in the market, we recommend the Thill Wobble Bobber. Using a bobberwill allow you to adjust the depth of your minnow or  crappie jigs.  Remember that Sac-a-lait Fish attack food above them, so finding the right depth is critical. A bobber will allow you to adjust the depth of your bait based on the water depth of the fish. 

Take a look at this article that gives you some tips on how to locate spec fish in all the seasons – Crappie Fishing Tips.  For example, during winter and summer months crappie are typically is deeper water, so you really can’t use a casting and retrieve technique.  Always be willing to change the depth and speed when jigging for crappie to figure out where and how they are striking – then repeat what is working. You will have to be open to trying different crappie jigs and see which ones have the most action. 

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Another very popular technique is fishing specs with live minnows below a bobber.The are several different type of crappie rigs setup for this technique.  As we discussed earlier, Crappie feed on bait above them, so it’s important to start off with shorter lead between your hook and your bobber and work your way down.  Use a fine wire (i.e. thin) size six hook to ensure you do as little damage to the minnow as possible.

The common way to bait your hook is to put the hook through the minnow’s lips – this gives the minnow the best opportunity to stay alive and be active in the water. If you can pull this off, the live minnow will provide the action, so there is no need to jig. Remember to select crappie rigs premade for this setup, as it just easier. The best time of the year to fish Crappie using a bobber is spring, fall and winter


Most fishermen are well versed in the casting and retrieving technique. The question is how do you catch sac-a-lait fish with this technique. Most crappie fishermen use jigs and small crankbaits.  Crappie do not require a lot of action, so do not reel in to fast, in particular, when the water temperature drops. All game fish are normally more aggressive in the summer, so you do not have to worry about speed as much then. The best time of the year to fish crappie casting is spring, summer, and fall.

Vertical Jigging in Shallow Cover/Structure

The best time of the year to go jigging for slabs on the bank is during the spring.  Crappie spawn during the spring and that brings these spec fish closer to the banks.  That gives the bank fisherman a great opportunity to catch a big slab. 

The tackle that works best for this strategy is using a long rod and your favorite jig and/or small crankbait and jig vertically or also referred to as dipping. Start from closer to the bank and work your way out to give yourself the best opportunity to find the slabs. You will be surprised on how shallow they can be during the spawning season. Work areas where there is cover, like weeds or branches and that is where they will most likely be hanging out. The best time of the year to fish crappie casting is spring and fall.

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We hope you enjoyed this article. We will continue provide the best crappie fishing tips to our customers. Until then, keep jigging for Crappie!

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