This is the time of year that crappie will be following shad schools and feeding. They will school in groups and look for struggling baitfish around the school.
This is a built-in feeding instinct for crappie, so a bait that looks and acts like this would be a smart lure choice. Luckily there is a bait that does just this — it is the ever-popular crappie jig. This bait has been around forever and has been catching big numbers and big size fish for a long time.
The bait has a small profile in the water but gives a natural swimming action like a injured shad when fished by an experienced angler. This bait has good weight to it because of the lead head weight that allows for long and accurate casts to cover a target area.
Also the extra weight also gives better feedback while being fished of what is going on with the lure under the water because the bait keeps the line tighter and will also increase hook sets due to no slack line. All this put together makes the crappie a top bait choice in colder weather and in all weather.
If you are out on a boat, look for signs of surface activity like breaking bait fish or birds feeding that are signs of a bait fish school and fish like crappie will be close around. Make a long cast and slowly work the jig back feeling for any pulls or tugs. Also in open water areas watch the fish finder for deeper schools of bait fish. And the big plus is that this bait is also a big fish bait.
If you want to go out after winter crappie, make sure to give the jig a try.