Pound for pound, crappie are the worst fighting gamefish in north america. But, if you run into a big school of them it still can be a good time. They also taste fine.
My tackle takes this into consideration. I use a micro light rod with 1-2 pound test. The best lure for me for the past years has been a 1/16 ounce jighead and a 2 inch chartreuse curly tail grub. It is very versatile also. Most the time I fish for crappie suspended in open water. In this case cast the grub out over the school, let it sink to the proper depth, and retrieve slowly. A crappie bite feels like you snagged a piece of vegetation. If crappie are boiling at the surface, this grub can be cast directly into the feeding fish. If you are fishing from a boat or float tube you can jig this grub up and down in the school of fish.
Bay Area Hotspots for Crappie: Anderson Reservoir, Calero Reservoir (don't eat), Coyote Reservoir, Lexington Reservoir, Stevens Creek Reservoir