🎥 Watch Jeremy Smith and Dan Quinn out on the ice targeting deepwater crappies.

If you’ve spent any time fishing crappies in deepwater, you know that it’s not really a sportfishing opportunity — it’s really a harvest deal. Almost all of the fish you pull up from the depths are going to die.

That means you want to do everything you can to select for the largest fish in the school. One good way to do that is upsizing your presentation. Bigger baits tend to attract bigger bites. Lures like the Rippin’ Rap and the new Slab Rap are ideal for this application.


Choosing the Right Presentation

The Rippin’ Rap is a proven producer that most good anglers have had success with in recent years. It’s vibrating action and loud rattles attract fish from afar and do a stellar job sealing the deal. You might not catch as many fish with it, but you will most definitely trigger bites from the bigger fish in the school.

The Slab Rap, on the other hand, is a new bait for 2016 that most anglers haven’t had the chance to try on ice yet. It’s really in a category by itself; it’s not a blade bait, it’s not a rattle bait, and it’s not a Jigging Rap. It produces a seductive shimmy as you pull it up, and it will dance all over the place if you work it with quick, short hops. It can be particularly effective during mid-winter when the bite starts to slow down, due to it’s silent presentation. Anglers who’ve had the opportunity to test the Slab Rap before it’s release have been enamored by it’s fishing catching abilities. In the video above, Jeremy catches a mitt-full of big crappies his first time using the bait.

All that said, make sure to have a smaller presentation ready in case things don’t go as plans with the big baits. An excellent backup option is the VMC Tungsten Chandelier Jig. It’s really been a great tool for our crew. There’s nothing crazy about it really — it’s simply a big chunk of tungsten with a treble hook on it. Tip it with small plastics or some meat and you’re ready to go. It gets down to deepwater crappies in a hurry and gets bit.


Tipping the Odds in Your Favor

No matter which bait you choose, there are a few things you can do to tip the odds in your favor when you’re chasing deep basin crappies. One mistake we see all the time is anglers dropping their bait right down into the middle of the school. This is a huge mistake. If you work your bait a few feet above the fish, you’re going to get a lot more bites, especially from the biggest crappies in the group.

When you’re fishing in these deepwater conditions, do yourself a favor and use braided line. It will allow you to detect subtle bites that you’re going to miss with mono. The further your bait is from your rod, the less you’re going to feel it with monofilament line. Braid, on the other hand, doesn’t stretch, which allows you to have the same amount of feel whether your bait is five feet down or 55 feet down.

It’s important to keep in mind that basin crappies are always on the move chasing forage. If you aren’t marking anything on your sonar unit, get the auger out and start hole-hopping. Sometimes you don’t need to move very far to get back on the fish. The important part is that you’re staying mobile and not wasting too much time in a “dead hole”.

Hopefully these tips help you catch more and bigger crappies this winter!