STORIES OUT THERE FISHING By: Keith 'Catfish' Sutton 5 of the Best Tandem Lure Rigs for Crappie It's simple math ... double the lure rigs means double the fish Why catch crappie one at a time? Use two lures at once to double your fun. (Keith Sutton photo) For some reason, most crappie anglers seldom fish with double-lure rigs. Perhaps this is because some rigs incorporating two lures seem complicated to tie and fish. Maybe it’s due to the fact that two-lure rigs sometimes are prone to tangling and hanging up. Whatever the reason, it’s unfortunate more crappie fans don’t try dual-lure set-ups. The use of lure combos can turn poor fishing days into exciting extravaganzas where the angler brings in not just one, but two crappie on each cast. And despite misconceptions, most double-lure rigs are easy to make in just minutes. It’s well worth the effort when you consider the obvious: fishing two lures at once can double your catch. Try these rigs and see. Mullins/Lucius Trolling Rig One excellent double-lure rig for year-round fishing is a specialized trolling rig used by Arkansas crappie pros Chris Mullins and Ricky Lucius. “We use this rig spring, summer, fall and winter,” says Mullins. “By adjusting the size of the sinker, and the size and length of the lines, it can be used under almost any fishing conditions imaginable, from a calm day spent fishing shallow water to a windy day trolling over deep-water cover and structure.” To make the rig, you need the following components: one three-way swivel, one barrel swivel, one egg sinker (¼- to ¾-ounce – lighter for calm days or shallow trolling; heavier for windy days or deeper trolling), two 1/0 crappie hooks, two Southern Pro Lures Umbrella Crappie Tubes or similar soft plastics, one Kipper Enterprises No-Knot Fas-Snap and some 4-, 6- or 8-pound-test monofilament line (lighter in clearer water, heavier in muddy water). To the three-way swivel’s bottom eye, tie an 18-inch mono leader. Run the leader through the egg sinker, then tie the tag end to the barrel swivel. To the other eye of the barrel swivel, tie a 15-inch leader to which one of the crappie hooks is tied. Tie the other crappie hook to a 12-inch leader, and tie this leader to the side eye of the three-way swivel. Rig the crappie tubes on each hook so the hook eye is inside the tube. Use different color tubes until you determine a pattern. The Fas-Snap, tied to the main line, facilitates quick change-out of rigs made with different size hardware for different fishing conditions. Snap the remaining eye of the three-way swivel to the Fas-Snap and you’re ready to fish. Mullins and Lucius fish these rigs on 12-, 14- or 16-foot B’n’M Caps & Coleman Series trolling rods, using up to eight poles at once where permitted. The poles are placed in rod holders on Driftmaster T-Bars while the duo slow-trolls around stumps and other cover. When the action is hot, it’s not unusual for them to have several poles bouncing with fish at the same time, each with two crappie on the line. Double-Dipper Trolling Rig Another way to enhance trolling action is use of a double-dipper rig. For this combo, you need a 1/8-ounce Luhr Jensen Shyster or similar in-line spinner and a small, deep-diving crankbait such as the Rebel Deep Wee R. Tie the spinner to a 12-inch leader and the crankbait to a 24-inch leader. Then tie each leader to a separate eye on a three-swivel, and tie your main line to the other swivel eye. Now you’re ready to troll, and chances are, you’ll hook two fish at a time as often as not. Double Yummy Jumbo crappie gorging on threadfin shad often ignore small jigs. That’s when Oklahoma crappie guide Todd Huckabee rigs up with a pair of lures much larger than those other fishermen typically use. The lures in this case are 2-inch Yum Wooly Beavertails on 1/8-ounce Crappie Pro jigheads. Huckabee pinches the head off each soft-plastic lure before rigging it on a jig hook. He then ties the two lures on one line 18 inches apart. The top lure is connected with a short, open loop knot and the other lure is tied at the line’s end. “If your sonar shows shad are 8 to 10 feet deep,” Huckabee says, “position the jigs so they’ll be at 8 to 10 feet during a slow troll. Maintain a boat speed that keeps your line perpendicular to the water’s surface. Slightly lift and drop the rig as you move, maintaining a feel of the bottom as the weight bumps along.” Double hook-ups often result. Spoon and Jig When fishing jigging spoons such as Cotton Cordell’s Little Mickey, many crappie anglers are able to feel hits but unable to hook the fish. When this happens, short strikers may be the problem. A good remedy is adding a crappie-jig trailer below the spoon. Tie a 6- to 8-inch piece of light line to the spoon hook, then add a 1/32-ounce crappie jig to the tag end. Or remove the spoon hook and tie the jig rig to the split ring. The smaller offering darting behind the larger lure often nabs wary crappie that take a swipe at the spoon and miss. Crankbait/Spoon Combo A small shad-imitation crankbait also can be worked in combination with a spoon to entice strikes from inactive, suspended crappie. Tie a three-way swivel to your line, then add a Bomber Fat-Free Shad Fingerling or similar crankbait on a 12-inch leader to one eye of the swivel, and a Luhr Jensen Cast Champ Spoon or similar spoon on an 18-inch leader to the other eye. When the crankbait dives, the spoon follows, a pairing even finicky crappie find hard to resist. Double catches – one fish on the crankbait and one on the spoon – aren’t uncommon when working big schools of fish. These are just a few of the many two-lure setups that can be used to catch crappie wherever you fish. The variations are endless, and half the fun of using double-lure rigs is developing your own special combinations that will produce two slabs on one line. Try some this season and see.