As a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, Dennis Tietje knows he has to keep his boat packed with a myriad of baits for every imaginable scenario he may face on tour. But when he’s moonlighting as a crappie guide on Louisiana’s Toledo Bend, he likes to keep it simple.
Tietje has narrowed down the numerous speckled perch offerings to a trio of body styles that will suit almost every crappie angler’s needs.
1. Paddle Tail
Strike King’s Slabalicious is Tietje’s choice for casting situations. “I like to cast this bait out, let it fall over the brush piles and then slowly retrieve it,” he said. “That paddle tail just gives it a lot of action and that’s what attracts the crappie.”
2. Shad Tail
This pick is for vertical fishing, where the minimal water resistance of a slender Strike King Lightning Shad allows for a quick fall and efficient presentations. Tietje uses this style when he’s sitting right over a brush pile—rather than casting and retrieving across the cover.
“You need to fish this with the lightest head you can get away with,” Tietje notes. “I like a 1/32-ounce head, but you can use a 1/16- or a 1/8-ounce head if it’s windy or you’re having trouble getting the bait down to the cover.”
3. Curl Tail
Pairing a Strike King Rage Tail grub with a Road Runner head yields an effective package for strolling or casting along grass edges. The flash and thump of the Road Runner’s blade draws plenty of attention to this user-friendly bait.
“I’ll make a long cast, keep the trolling motor on 50 percent and stroll along the edges of the grass until I feel the bait come in contact with the top of the grass,” Tietje said. “When I do, I’ll speed up a little bit, but you always want that bait kind of bumping along the tops of the grass.
In the springtime, when the crappie are spawning up on those grass beds, you can absolutely catch a pile of them.