Do you even Glow?
Questions always seem to surround "Glow Crappie Baits", so we will dive into the subject headfirst and demystify the facts that surround the "glow."
You have heard many different names and claims surrounding glow baits and their effectiveness and abilities. The first is the notion that if you put a bait under water it will glow like a neon sign forever. Soft plastic crappie baits will only glow if charged by a direct light source with enough lumens to activate the glow particles contained in the bait. The best light source is direct unobstructed sunlight. When that is not available, a bright flashlight or a UV flashlight will provide the lumens needed to produce the desired effect. There are manufacturers who make cups with built in UV lights to charge your baits, such as the one pictured below. You can perform a Google Search for "Ice Fishing Glow Cup" to find many options available for purchase. If you are a good "DIY'er", a couple short youtube videos and you can create your own glow cup.
The length of time your bait will glow is directly dependent on the amount of light energy it absorbs. The easiest way to figure this out is to grab all your glow baits, a UV flashlight, and head to a dark closet. Test it out by changing the length of time you charge the baits while periodically shutting off the lights and noting the length of time they continue to produce a glow. This will give you your best approximation for how quickly you will need to recharge your bait. This flashlight below is available on Amazon and ships directly to your door in just a matter of days.
The best time to use glow baits is when available light is less than a normal bright sunny day. This can be stained or muddy water, or when night fishing. Crappie are primarily sight feeders so pairing a glow bait with a contrasting color jig head is usually the best option. If you are casting, dipping or corking in less than 8 feet of water, you can use a 1/16 oz jig head. As a general rule, when fishing deeper than 8ft, I upsize to a 1/8 oz or larger jig head. If you can find glow jig heads, use those to increase your visibility to the crappie. An aspirin head jighead with eyes will also have a tendency to increase your catch ration. All these tips and tricks are done in order to catch the eye of the crappie so they will turn their head. Once the crappie sees your bait then you are "fishin"....
So if the bite slows down or you are fishing in muddy or stained water or went out on the dock for the evening bite, pull out those glow baits and get ready to feel that thump!