Make crappie do a double-take

A three-way swivel allows crappie fishermen to troll a crankbait at a certain depth and drag along a second lure in slightly deeper water.

According to guide Eddie Moody, a difference in depth of a few inches can have a big impact in crappie fishing, and giving the fish something they’re not used to seeing can be the difference in getting bit or not.

Those are two reasons why Moody experimented with putting out a few extra baits in his crankbait trolling spread — but not on separate rods. He introduced a No. 6, three-way swivel to his rigs and enhanced his crankbait bite.

It all goes back to Moody’s dog analogy. Startle a resting dog, and he’s liable to bite, but if two people sneak up on him, he might get really excited. To a three-way swivel, Moody ties a leader about 24 inches long that goes to a crankbait, and he adds another 18-inch section of leader tied to a jig or Roadrunner-type lure. The crankbait pulls the rig down to its running depth, and the jig flutters below it. Not only does the added bait offer more presence, but it allows for changing the running depth and covering a tiny differences in depth between the other baits.

“You can use the jig to fine-tune a crankbait,” said Moody. “The more or less weight you use, the deeper or shallower it will run.  I can also tie a longer leader on one of the jigs, and it’ll run that much deeper.  That can make a big difference sometimes. Plus, it’ll tame-down some of the cheaper crankbaits that I use. It takes out the erratic wobble and make it run true.

“Sometimes, I’ll use a straight jig and a curlytail grub and sometimes a Roadrunner, trying to hit all the variations I can, but usually sticking with a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce head. If the fish want to change up depths or baits, I want to have something for them.”

About Dusty Wilson 274 Articles
Dusty Wilson of Raleigh, N.C., is a lifelong outdoorsman. He is the manager of Tarheel Nursery in Angier and can be followed on his blog at

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