My best advise would be for you two to hire a crappie fishing guide for the day or for half a day.
Winds up to 18 mph make for tough fishing on the main lake. Most of the time the winds are from the South or North and since the lake runs N/S that makes for some big waves on the main lake. Unless you have a large very stable boat it would be hard to fish the main lake with winds that high. Luckily there are many bays that run East and West. I would fish one of those E/W bays if the winds are from the N/S. I would look for a bay that has a North Shoreline that gets lots of sunlight and that's protected from North winds.
Jonathon Creek and Blood River are two such bays that produce a lot of KY lake Slabs at this time of the year. But they are not the only bays that have big crappie. West Sandy has nice slabs as well. But it's in TN not KY. Cypress Bay is another bay that's easy to fish when the winds are up on the main lake. It's very protected from the winds.
Don't forget about Barkley Lake as there are nice slabs in the many bays off Barkley lake.
Fish tight line with live minnows. I like using long graphite jig poles. They are light weight and strong and have great sensitivity. Check out the B n' M line of fishing poles for examples of good crappie fishing rods.
For casting I like to use a small chartreuse/white jig 1/16 oz and a slip bobber with a bobber stop. I like 6lb test stren fishing line. You can fish this with crappie nibbles or add a minnow to the jig. Fishing with a jig saves time as you don't have to bait up each time you catch a fish.
Fish are in shallow water now. If it's warm they will begin to spawn very soon. If a cold front comes though it will push the crappie off the banks to the nearest drop off. Then check out the 7 to 10 ft depths near the shallows. Check the very back of the bays as they hold more crappie than you would think. The crappie can spawn in as little as 18" of water and can be found in the back of the thickets buck brush. This is where a long jig pole comes in handy. The long pole allows you to reach back into the brush to find the fish.
A simple cane pole with 10 lb test line and a KY lake Crappie Rig and a bobber will catch crappie. That's how it was done in the past. This time of the year the fish are in the shallows and much easier to find and catch.
Fish will be shallower and less spooked if the water has a lot of color to it. If the water is clear the fish may spook easier if you get too close or make noise. So don't bang around on the boat or make a lot of noise. They can't hear you talking but if you drop a rod on the floor of an aluminum boat it will spook the fish for a while. Approach slowly and as quietly as possible when fishing in shallow waters. Use a slip float and cast the jig or minnow out away from the boat. Crappie like the baits to just sit there or a very very slow retrieve.
Tube jigs work well as to hair or feather jigs. Stick to white or Chartreuse colored jigs. Anything with Chartreuse works good. Unless a guide tells you otherwise I would stick with these colors. Sometimes blue/white or red/white works too. Contrast may be the key in color selection.
I prefer to use a open faced spinning reel but beginners may want to use a close faced spinning reel. Unless you are casting light weight jigs the reel is just a line holder. IE if you are still fishing and tight lining you won't have to worry to much about a reel. You may want to adjust the reels drag so that if a big fish gets on it won't break the line. Sharp hooks are necessary too. Some people prefer weedless hooks or jigs if they are fishing in brush piles
Structure in the form of stumps or brush piles are the key to crappie fishing. And at this time of the year. First part of April the water temp is the key to finding the spawning crappie. They like to spawn when the water temp gets to around 65 deg F. If you have shallow water with a suitable bottom type and it's protected from the winds the fish will be there. Just remember that not all the fish spawn at the same time or in the same place. If you find a spawning area one year you will find the crappie there again and again. Maybe not at the exact same week each year but they will use that spawning area again and again.