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Jigging For Panfish

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Gear: Ultra-light jigging rod with 2-6 lb test

Bait: Jig tipped with spikes (insect larvae) or small hook baited with a small minnow. Using dough-like scented baits are an effective alternative to live bait.


  • Bluegills – fish around weed beds in less than 12 feet of water. Don’t overlook really shallow water. Often times, bluegill can be found in 2-3 feet of water.
  • Yellow Perch – found at varying depths usually just off the bottom. Don’t spend much time in one area – move around until you find them!
  • Crappie – generally found in less than 15 feet of water many times suspended in the water column, so try jigging at different depths. Usually, crappie will be most active at day break and right before dark. 

How: Using a sounder/weight to determine where the bottom is can help you figure out what depth you want to fish. Jigging really just involves a very slight twitching action with your wrist, followed by a pause. Different species hit differently, some just creating a very subtle tap on the line, so it’s important to learn the feel of what a strike might be. When you’ve got a bite, lift the rod straight up and reel your catch in. Make sure that your line is tight with the jig. If you have coils in your line you will most likely miss panfish bites.

Tip: Many panfish species tend to school, so if you catch one or two, usually there are others around. Schooling fish also tend to form schools of the same size fish, so if you’re catching a bunch of small fish, move on to try to find a school with larger fish.

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