S2E6 - Panfish Tactics

 Jeff and Jason Talk Panfish Tactics


Big nasty pout and trout - Glowing and big


Catch Covers

Jason - Pistol Bit ice auger

Jeff - aquaview underwater camera.  


I used my brother in law Brian’s new aquaview underwater camera.  We were on a small local lake. Maybe a Iowa lake, but a minnesota pond.  I was out with the kids and it was a glorious day. The temperatures were really warm in the 40s.  We got out for just a few hours, and did not catch any fish. But for the first time even though no fish came through the hole we saw fish.  We were using a aquaview AV Micro plus. He got a really good deal on it and it was really fun.


This unit is something you hold in your hand or put on your wrist.  It has a very small camera, maybe the size of a large walleye jig. The screen was about 3.5 inches and it had a very slim cord to the camera.  I would say no thicker than tip up line.


I first opened the thin cover over the screen.  It was really handy that it turned on when you did this, no power button to mess with.


As I dropped it down the hold you really did not see much.  In Fact I was unsure it was working. But as it got towards the bottom it started to show the weedy bottom.  And also some sunnies. So even though I could not see them come through my hold we saw them in the lake.


I used my flasher to figure out where the camera was in the water column. It showed up as it went down the hole.  This was very helpful as you really saw nothing but blackness and a few bubbles as you went down.


Their were some lighting options that are infrared and do help you see the fish much better.  


I was also surprised how well my jig showed up in the camera.  It was this really bring light in a somewhat dark landscape. I hope the fish see my jig that well.


It was a bright sunny day and the screen was hard to see in the light.  I suspect it would be easier to see in the shack.


I did not this thing is quite small and would fit down a fish hole.  Not sure if it floats but did not want to find out.


I tried this out on a non stained lake and it worked great.  I hope to get one of these for my ice cave. It has an output to put it on the tv.  That would be cool.


Line update

I am still on the fence on mono vs fluorocarbon.  Mono never gets tangled and that Fluorocarbon i keep on having twist in my line.  It seems to come out but I have not had that problem with mono. But then I love how it sinks in the water.  More to come here but right now Monofilament is winning.

Topic - Panfish

Picking the spot

Transitions from shallow to deep.  I start out on my Navionics app to get to a general spot.  I find that this worked pretty well. But if navionics says 20 feet, I have never found it to be exact.  You will have to drill a few holes along the break until you get find 20 feet.

Once I find the spot I will work from deep to shallow along the break and see where the fish are biting.  Even if I have fish that are showing on my flasher and they will not bite i move. It's hard to but you have to leave those fish.  

Hole Hopping

Once you have caught a few fish in a hole, sometimes they have seen what you have and grow tired of it.  You can switch lures, but I find that if a lure has been working on a lake i stick with it. The color and action work I stick with them.   Maybe this is something i need to work on and switch up my presentation but I usually stick with what I have used in the past. Maybe this new mystery tackle box I subscribed to will help me with that.

I tried this on my last outing and it worked really well.  I had caught at least 12 crappies and sunnies out of this honey hole, and then it cooled off. I decided to move just 15 feet away with the same presentation and I was able to catch a few right away, as soon as I dropped my lure in the hole.


The Major Move

Now when I am talking about hole hopping I am generally talking about the same area.  Not a major move. That is something I do only after many holes have not produced. Meaning I have not caught a fish or the fish are small or not what I am looking for.  This is required sometimes and you have to break out the Navionics again and look for some different structure.

Tungsten Jigs

I have a bunch of lures I use for panfishing.  But the ones I go to over and over again are tungsten jigs.  They are small and drop fast and are easy to fish with. I tip them with a wax worm and the crappies and sunnies love them.


My favorite are the snow drop xl.  I have found the pink and blue and green and yellow ones to work best for the waters i am on.  I use the 1/32 oz. Thanks for tungsten for making these easy to fish.



Spoons and minnows

I also love using spoons and minnows for panfish.  My typical setup will be a small frosty spoon or a small northland glow spoon.

Frosty Spoon.  Golden pirch, glow red, or silver moon light.  Usually the 1/16 oz size. These are just the right size for a crappie minnow.  I always have a bunch of these in my tackle. And I always buy at least 2 of each color.  If its working and you loose one you have a backup, or if you need to share with a buddy. Depending how generous you are feeling.



Northland Glow Spoons

Or the Northland glow spoons.  My current favorite is the 1/16 oz gold with a red glow shot.  

Of course this are consumable so that kinda stinks but if they work they work.




Wax Worms

When I use wax worked I get a bait puck.  These things are great to keep your wax worms warm.  Wax worms like the same temperatures that we humans do.  I put them in my pocket and in a bait puck and this keeps them happy.  I actually have a big one that fits the 100 pack of waxies when i buy them from the hardware store/ bait shop.  I can leave them in the container and I have been fishing with the same ones for weeks. I just put them on the counter in the washroom and they stay happy.  A few die, but that's ok. I just don't tell the wife i have wax worms in the same room as the washer and dryer. (oops she knows know but oh well, if she listens that is)



Time of Day


Panfish are easier to catch during the day than some other fish like walleyes, but I still think the magic hour around dawn and dusk are best.  

For crappies I have caught them a lot at night also.  But this can vary by like.



This was interesting. I always start fishing a foot off the bottom.  But in my recent fishing trip i was in 18 feet of water and i had fish 2 feet under the ice to the bottom. I could hardly see my bait.  What a problem. I did have my finder on wide beam which will show some fish further away. I found the fish at the bottom were very slow and did not want to bite.  Now they could have been further away also. You really cannot tell the difference on a flasher. The fish in the middle and upper of the water column were much more active and would bit.  It’s one of my favorite things to see that line on your flasher start to move to your bait when you jig. Moving it up and they follow it. These are the aggressive fish you are looking for.  Not those ones that are down their and just stare at your jig. Or your camera if you have one.


How aggressive

How do you know when to jig hard and when not to.  This is important slow fish want a dead stick or almost no jigging.  When active fish will react better to jigging. Also know when to stop when they show up on your flasher.  Not sure if this is correct but usually when they come in i will let it sit for a while.

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