Summer Panfish Tactics, Part Two

hTargeting panfish can be an exciting adventure for new anglers and children, and it’s also a great way to fill your cooler with delicious meals this Summer. In Part One of this series, we took a look at some of the places you’ll want to seek out on the water when you’re targeting panfish. Today, we’ll wrap things up with a look at some specific lures and techniques you’ll want to employ in order to get the job done in fine fashion.

A plastic grub with a short body is a very popular lure for big bluegill. You’ll want to fish it just fast enough to keep it off the bottom, though. Sometimes you get fish that trail your lure, though. For this reason, I like to pause briefly on the retrieve to entice these trailing fish to strike. Jigheads in the 1/32oz to 1/8oz range will work well, especially with brown, green, black, smoke, or purple color patterns.

White bass tend to prefer brighter lures, such as white or chartreuse jigs between ¼ and 1/8 ounces. Several different retrieves can work with these. I’d start slow and steady, and if that doesn’t produce, pause part way back and let the lure drop for a few seconds, like a wounded minnow. You can also try reeling the jig a few feet, then twitching, and repeating this a few times during the retrieve. If you’re having some trouble locating white bass, then try trolling. This lets you present the fish with several lure choices at one time and search a variety of depths. Silver spoons, small crankbaits and lipless crankbaits, thin minnow plugs, and jig-spinner combos all work well when trolling. Move slowly over points, drop-offs, and creek mouths, and troll anywhere between 10 to twenty feet for results.

Perch are one the most delicious panfish offerings on the water, and one of the top baits for these striped beauties is a small live minnow. I realize that not everyone has access to a nearby baitshop, and if you do, you can still quickly run out of minnows before you know it. If this is the case, you can mimic a minnow by cutting a thin (1/4 to ½-in wide) tapered strip of white belly meat from one of the fish you’ve already caught.

There’s a reason they’re called  panfish: they’re delicious. The tips outlined in this series will help you pack your cooler with plenty of fish to fry this Summer. Keep them in mind when you’re on the water and you’re sure to keep your freezer stocked all Summer long.