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Hey so latelay I’ve been having trouble catching bass just after ice out. Some fellow members have recommended to me to try and target panfish and I might also catch some bass along the way. At this point I’ll be happy to catch anything but I’ve never rigged for panfish. Someone suggested ball head jigs and a grub trailer. My question for you guys is, what setups do you use for panfish?? How do you rig a float with a jig?? What size/kind of jigs do you use? Do you have to balance a float with a jig or does it not matter?? Do you need a float? I’ve NEVER fished specifically for panfish, so please, talk to me like I’m dumb so I get all the details lol. Thanks!

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Ultra lite rod, #4 hook on a drop shot, wax worm or night crawler for bait. This will catch Bluegill. Crappie, Bass, and Catfish. Bass and Catfish on an UL are a ball just don't set the drag to tight.

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Well no one here can give you a quick answer to your question. There are many factors involved, just as there is with bass fishing. I probably do more panfishing now adays than bass fishing, mainly because of my age and the arthritis. But make no mistake about it, panfishing can/is every bit as challenging as bass fishing can be. And, sometimes, a lot more fun!

 

To start out with, you can use just about any spinning gear you have, that is "light" in weight. Meaning an UL to light action rod. Sure, you can catch a crappie on a med-heavy bass stick, but where's the fun in that? If you are in a market to buy a set up, look at B n' M rods (Grizzly Jig Co.). They specialize in a whole range of panfishing equipment. For a reel, a size #6920 Pflueger President (about $50.00) will set you up perfectly.

 

Get a selection of 1/32 - 1/16 oz. jigs (I use the plain lead, but color is your choice). Then get a selection of 2" plastic styles, such as curly tails, straight tails, paddle tails and some marabou jigs as well. The marabou has always been my "ice out" favorite, suspended under a cork. Thill makes a wide range of balsa bobbers that work just fine. I wouldn't bother with a slip bobber set up just yet (until you get more familiar with the process). Get a few of the bobbers with the spring locking gizmo at the bottom. You can set pretty much any depth with those, but chances are if you hook it about 3' above your jig, you'll do just fine.

 

Then it's just a matter of casting the rig out and slowly reeling it back. (stresser on SLOWLY.) Just about any species of fish will take this offering this time of the year. I've caught many rainbow trout, LM bass, pickeral, crappie, bluegill and even bull head, using this technique.

 

A word of caution! You might just get hooked yourself ! :)

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2 hours ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Get a selection of 1/32 - 1/16 oz. jigs (I use the plain lead, but color is your choice). Then get a selection of 2" plastic styles, such as curly tails, straight tails, paddle tails and some marabou jigs as well. The marabou has always been my "ice out" favorite, suspended under a cork. Thill makes a wide range of balsa bobbers that work just fine. I wouldn't bother with a slip bobber set up just yet (until you get more familiar with the process). Get a few of the bobbers with the spring locking gizmo at the bottom. You can set pretty much any depth with those, but chances are if you hook it about 3' above your jig, you'll do just fine.

Im familiar with slip bobbers, and this post lead me to do a little more research of my own. So I have one more question. If I use a jig underneath a slip bobber do I have to use a weight underneath the bobber also? I’ve googled it and I figure, from the hook my rig would look something like this:

 

grub trailer on a 1/16 oz jighead > barrel swivel > 1/8 oz egg weight > slip bobber > bead > bobber stop > rod and reel

 

Do I need/should I use the egg weight??

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In all my years of using slip bobbers, I have never used a weight beneath one, with the exception of the jig head itself. I suppose you could add weight if you needed extra casting distance, but I've never found it necessary. Using a rod similar to the B n' M Sam Heatons Super Sensitive in the 7' length, I can cast a bobber & jig as far as I need to.

 

Now there are some "pre-weighted" bobbers on the market. They are labeled 1/32, 1/16, 1/8 & 1/4 oz.. This does NOT refer to the bobber weight; rather it is what weight jig you are suppose to use under the bobber to attain maximum sensitivity. That's getting a tad too technical for my interest. I prefer to "simplify, simplify" as Thoreau once said. :)

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Me as a bank fisherman, I keep my panfishing simplified.

 

Ballhead jigs

- 1/16oz

- 1/32oz

- painted and unpainted

 

Plastics

- southern pro 2” hot grubs

- keitech 2” easy shiners

- Charlie brewer slider grubs

- Bobby garland Swim’Rs

- kalins scrubs

 

(the 2” easy shiner has been by far, my most productive bait)

 

occassionally I would use a drop shot with a cricket.

 

I rarely use a float unless circumstances require it.  My primary technique is simply cast and retrieve, with occasional dead sticking.

 

but bear in mind, when fishing right after ice out, and the water temp is still cold, then vertical jigging a marabou jig might still best

 

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I NEVER leave home without my UL setup, especially at this time of the year.  Got a 7’ UL Cabela’s Whoopin’ Stick ($15), Shimano Sienna 10-size reel, and 10 lb green braid.   I’m a bank fisherman (mostly ponds, but also some deeper quarries) and prefer using small weighted bobbers.   Cant really add much to what has already been mentioned - small jig heads with various color grubs, twister tails, tubes, etc.  Marabou jigs work great as well.  I love Northland’s Mimic Minnows.  Nothing like hooking a 4lb LMB on an ultra lite.  

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I carry 1/32 and 1/16oz unpainted ballhead jigs, mainly because they're cheaper than painted and catch just as well. It is good to have options for trailers. The traditional 2" grub will catch sunfish when they are aggressive but I have found that at times they will ignore it for a smaller offering. It is worth carrying 1-1.5" plastics as well as marabou jigs for those times. I believe it is the smaller profile combined with the slow sink rate which makes these baits effective. To cast these tiny lures you want a true ultralight rod and 2-4lb test. I recommend 2lb test because it casts and handles significantly better than 4.

 

Usually I don't use bobbers when fishing with artificials. The key is to retrieve them as slowly as possible, letting them fall naturally through the water column. I start off reeling as slowly as possible until I feel the jig tick the bottom. Then I will speed up the retrieve just enough to avoid contacting bottom. From my experience I have also found that bluegills and crappie seem to prefer a steady retrieve without any added action from the rod.

 

As others have mentioned you will catch pretty much every species present in your body of water doing this. Make sure your drag is set light and is running smoothly.

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If I'm shore-fishing for panfish, I never go without my Mepps Comet Minos in #0-#2. A slow retrieve has the sunnies and crappies following and hitting it regularly. Can fill my stringer of eating size in a couple hours.

 

Rod/reel - Pflueger 640 on a 4-1/2' Ugly Stick loaded with 4# Mono.

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There is a website, "Crappie.com " that has a wealth of information.   Also look for Richard Gene , the fishing machine on YouTube.   He is informative and funny.

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12 hours ago, gotttafish said:

Crappie Magnet grub rigged on a 1/32 oz ballhead jig can't be beat.

Do you fish these under a bobber? How do you retrieve? Thanks

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