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The Best Baits To Fish For Panfish

From young to old, we believe there is something for everyone when it comes to our FishVault boxes. Whether you are tournament fishing for trophy bass, or trying your hand at fishing for pan fish for the first time, we make sure that our box contents are hand picked to enhance everyone’s fishing experience. That being said, today we wanted to talk about fishing for pan fish and some of the best baits and lures to use.

Few activities in spring are more popular than chasing panfish, i.e. crappies, sunfish, and yellow perch. Spring fishing baits and lures for these species are fairly well defined, although circumstances vary depending on what stage of the spring exists where you live.

Natural Baits

Among natural baits, a live minnow is the top bait for spring, and even for later in the season. Worms will work, too, but a minnow is the deal if you can find a concentration of fish. A live cricket is very popular for sunfish (especially bluegills, also known as bream), although worms have a big spring following in many places, including for yellow perch.

Crappies are mostly minnow eaters. Minnows hide around any kind of cover for security, so crappies go where minnows hide. Brush piles are planted in many waters precisely to draw minnows and thus attract crappies. When you set out on a strange lake in search of crappies, think brush or anything resembling brush as cover.

Bluegills and other sunfish species have smaller mouths than crappies and are not quite the minnow chaser, but they like crickets and love worms. Of the latter, small wrigglers, or pieces of nightcrawler (not the whole crawler), are best.

Jigs and Jig-Spinner Combos

For post-spawn panfish, particularly perch and crappies, the number one lure is a small jig. These are tough to cast any distance, so a light and somewhat limber rod, and a small-diameter reel completely filled with light (2- through 6-pound), fine-diameter line, are important complements.

Many jig possibilities exist, including those with assorted soft bodies, or versions with hair or other materials. Productive colors run a wide gamut. Many people have success with white or yellow jigs; when these don’t produce, try silver or gray bodies, including plastics with imbedded flakes, which produces extra pizzazz. Don’t use bodies that are too bulky or long or that have long tails.

For those who have not fished a jig in and around brush, timber, and weeds, it can be done with a deft touch. Light-wire hooks enable unsnagging, but hangups can be largely avoided with careful use. It is seldom effective to fish over the top of brush and weeds, so you need to develop a good feel for the jig to work it at the proper level and still avoid hangups.

Other Lures

Natural lakes and ponds that do not have timber can provide good results to those using small spinners, especially for sunfish and perch, and mini crankbaits for crappies and occasionally perch. Both also have to be fished slowly, and small spinner blades must rotate freely at a slow pace to be effective.

Think Schools

Remember that panfish often occur in schools, so where you catch one there’s more. You may be able to pluck many crappies, perch, or bluegills out of one prime place, so work and re-work places where you’ve located these species.

We hope these tips help you the next time you target pan fish. If they do, we would love to see your catches. Feel free to send us your photos. Who knows, maybe they will show up on our FishVault social media pages!