Easing Into The Spider Rig

Easing Into The Spider Rig

“It does take a little practice to be really efficient at it”


The question I get asked most on the lake is, “How do you fish with all those long poles?”  A question many of us have heard before.   At first glance I guess it does look complicated to an angler that hasn’t spider rigged and trolled for crappie.  It does take a little practice to be really efficient at it—just like it does to learn any other fishing technique.  It also helps to remember Rule # 1: Crappie fishing is supposed to be a fun and leisurely activity.  Learning to fish a spider rig can increase the stress level if it’s not done properly.

First off, I prefer to roughly define a “spider rig” as, ‘a set up of rod holders on a boat to allow using long rods to present bait vertically in the water out of the front of the boat’.  The spider rig is simply just the set up of multiple rods out the front and not necessarily what you’re doing with it.  What you do with that set up can vary and depends more on how you are controlling or maneuvering the boat.  Most crappie anglers will say they stroll, slow troll, or slow vertical troll, which I think is an accurate description of what most of us do.  I would say that I slow troll a spider rig.  But if you hover or anchor over a brush pile you’re still using a spider rig, right?  The boat’s just stationary and you are not actively trolling.  Of course that’s my definition and I’m sure anglers in different parts of the country would define it as differently as we do the correct way to pronounce “crappie”.

photo 4 Article Finished

Spider rigging and trolling for crappie at times can look like a complex task to the beginner and can appear intimidating.  Using 8 rods is in fact, usually 8 times more difficult than fishing with a single rod.  Especially if you are trolling, hooking fish, netting fish, baiting hooks, retying hooks, etc, etc.  Crappie anglers that effectively fish a spider rig are Master’s of Multitasking.  Humans only have two hands so that’s one of the reasons that rod holders are almost mandatory.  You can fish multiple rods successfully and have them just laying in the boat but eventually you’re going to take a loss and regret it.  A loss either by losing a nice fish or losing a rod over the side of the boat or by accidentally stepping on one and breaking it—I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.  Rod holders get them up off the floor and also keep them within sight and easy reach which improves your efficiency.

photo 2 400

“Ease into the Spider Rig. After some practice, you can add multiple poles to match your experience level.”

The biggest tip I could give an angler interested in learning to spider rig for crappie is to take it slow at first—ease into it.  If you jump immediately to trying to fish 8 rods that are 14+ foot long then you are probably going to get discouraged at first.  Those tournament professionals on TV or in the magazines make it look easy.  Nobody started fishing a spider rig and used that many long rods on their first outing.   Just because you installed two new T-bars with four rod holders on each doesn’t mean you have to use them all at the same time on your first trip.  Start off with a couple of rods that are longer than you are accustomed to using—8’ or 10’ with maybe a couple of 6’ rods that you are used too.  After a couple of trips you’ll get used to the 10’ rods and be ready to move up to 12’ or try a 14’ rod or maybe increase the number of rods you’re using.  This technique of gradually increasing the number of rods and the length also keeps the cost down and you can gain some experience before committing to purchasing $400 in crappie rods.  Also, it helps if you remember Rule #1.  Tight lines!

Written By:
Ronald Barker
Cumberland Crappie LLC
Give us a call or visit our site: http://www.cumberlandcrappie.com
Or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CumberlandCrappieLLC
cumberland crappie300

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On InstagramVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Google Plus