Often our first memories of fishing entail some combination of kiddie pole, worms, and panfish. Of course, this depends on your personal experience, but those who have been on the water since they were children will recall their first memories of watching that red and white bobber dip one or twice, and then totally submerge before reeling in a bluegill or sunfish. Panfishing has come a long way, though, and while a bobber and worm will do the trick, you can reel in hubcap gills with the aid of panfish jigs. Today we’ll explore how.
Live bait like worms and crickets are favorites for panfish and will always catch draw bites, but if you want to catch more panfish, it might be time to switch to jigs. And in this case, the smaller the better. Tiny is the name of the game when it comes to picking effective panfish jigs.
Panfish prefer a slower presentation and small jigs are ideal for reaching this goal. Furthermore, lightweight jigs snag less and will often draw strikes from fish that may not be hungry or aggressive enough to bite big, fast-moving bait. Finally, with small jigs you also have the benefit of producing specific retrieve styles that you can’t reproduce with larger baits.
The big thing to remember is panfish love bugs. With that in mind, go with jigs that mimic bugs and insects if you want to fill your cooler. More often than not, a simple bug-imitating jig will do the trick, but if they’re being a little more picky than usual, try matching your jig to the local bug menu.
One final tip: panfish may smell the jig before deciding to strike it, so I’d also recommend using a panfish attractor to appeal to their sense of smell. Sprays or gels work well, as does tipping the jig with a maggot or worm piece.
We don’t tend to think of panfish as a hard sell, but they can be more finicky than we give them credit for. If you want to catch big number of big panfish, I suggest tossing a few tiny panfish jigs this season. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!