Finessing Pre-spawn Crappie with Kent Driscoll

Finessing Pre-spawn Crappie with Kent Driscoll

April 08, 2024

Finessing Pre-spawn Crappie with Kent Driscoll

Phillip Gentry


The terms finesse and pre-spawn, when applied to crappie fishing, may seem like opposite ends of the spectrum. Pre-spawn season is the time when crappie are known to be full of hormones and more aggressive than other time of the year. Finesse is the tactic used to coax fish into biting when conditions are tough. According to B’n’M prostaffer Kent Driscoll, there are definitely times when even pre-spawn crappie have to be finessed into biting, and he has figured out a pretty foolproof method for making this happen.

“I was fishing with a buddy out on Old Hickory Lake and the crappie were definitely in pre-spawn mode,” he said. “The were moving in and we were picking them up on Livescope and dropping to them, but they just wouldn’t cooperate.”

Driscoll said the problem wasn’t one of disinterest. The big fish would follow the 1/8 oz jigs they were presenting, and getting bites was pretty consistent, but the fish were short striking and not getting the hook on the larger jig.

The Leland’s TCB rod was a codesign project between B’n’M Poles and the folks from Crappie Magnet to allow for fishing tiny baits on ultralight line.

“I told my buddy I’ve got just the thing,” said Driscoll. I few days earlier I had received some Crappie Magnet Eyehole jigs in 1/64oz. for testing. These things are brand new on the market.”

Fishing 1/64 oz jigs requires a whole new presentation, including rod, line, and attitude. For starters, Driscoll broke out the Leland’s TCB rod, an ultralight rod co-designed by B’n’M Poles and the folks at Leland’s Lures for Ultralight, light line fishing. The TCB stands for trout, crappie, and bream. The 6 ½ foot, 2-piece rod is light as a feather and handles 2- and 4-pound test line like a breeze.

“The reels were spooled with 2-pound test SOS clear monofilament line,” said Driscoll. “Another option is to go up to 4-pound, but light line is a must.”

Driscoll rigged one 1/64 oz Eyehole jig on a loop knot, then tied another loop and 1/64 oz jig about 20 inches above the first one. Next, he had to downsize from the 2 ½” Crappie Magnet bait to a 1” Trout Magnet.

The new 1/64 oz Eye Hole jig from Crappie Magnet fills a void for anglers getting ghosted by crappie on forward facing sonar.

“Doubling up the jigs gives you a little more weight to work with but the rig falls really slow, and that’s what these fish wanted,” he said. “We were graphing crappie 6 – 8 feet deep and you could flip that double rig with those tiny baits out there and it would almost hang right in their face.”

Driscoll said finding and marking fish on forward facing sonar was not a problem. The typical pre-spawn migration was fish following creek channels, moving toward the backs of the creek. He calculated that the black crappie were just a day or two before moving to the bank and white crappie would follow the same pattern just a few weeks behind.

Additionally, Driscoll explained that the Eyehole jig has a little larger profile for a smaller bait which made it easier to pickup on forward sonar. He also filled the eyehole cavity with a Crappie Magnet Slab Bite to seal the deal.

Kent Driscoll holds a 2 pounder that couldn’t resist the tiny jig.

“I believe these micro baits are going to fill a void both now and anytime you find crappie that are following the jig on LiveScope but just won’t commit,” he said. “If you are fishing deeper water, say the fish are holding 10 – 20 feet deep, I would add a split shot between the two jigs to help get the rig down a little faster, but you’ll still get that slow swim and that tiny bait that’s hard to resist.”

When asked how he could tell the crappie were tuned in to the finesse aspects of the presentation, Driscoll simply said look at the fish as they come over the side of the boat.

“I’ll tell you there was no more short-striking and no more ghosting the bait,” he said. “They were inhaling the jig, the hookset was in the back of the mouth.”


B’n’M has all the gear and tackle you need to make your next crappie fishing trip successful. Check out our website at

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