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Why Fish Panfish?

By Walt Matan

There is nothing more exciting in all of freshwater fishing than the vicious strike of a 50-inch muskie at the side of the boat... or is there?

why-panfish.jpgImagine you're sitting on a bucket, on a frozen lake with your tiny 24-inch ice rod bent over double from the seemingly never-ending battle of an 11-inch bluegill on 1-1/2-pound test line.

That's right, those same bluegill that you pass up in the open water season for muskie, bass and walleye become the premier sport fish of ice anglers! Crappie, perch and white bass are also extremely popular!

The reason for all this panfish popularity is because panfish are excellent fighters and nothing tastes better than fresh caught panfish through the ice.

When you gear up for panfish, you really need to gear down. Super-tiny ice jigs, small live bait, light line and teeny lightweight rods are needed. Too many anglers use jigs that are too large for the species they are fishing for – line that is thick as rope and rods that aren't sensitive enough to detect the bites!

You'll want to try tiny jigs like Custom Jigs & Spins new 'Gill Pill, Diamond Jig, Shrimpo, Ratso, Demon and Ratfinkee. These are all jigs designed specifically for panfish. Sometimes a vertical presentation is preferred and other times the fish prefer a horizontal profile, that's why you need to keep a good assortment of all these jigs on hand.

Light line is not only invisible to the fish but also tends to coil up less than heavier stiff line.

We like to use two to four-pound Maxima Chameleon mono since it is virtually invisible to the fish and unfortunately to the human eye! Panfish Popper rods were specifically designed by Frabill for panfish, so why not use them? The built in spring bobber is super sensitive and allows you to detect the slightest nibble which is key to catching panfish through the ice.

In order to have the most fun (and most success) panfishing you need to take advantage of the latest technology available. A dark tent like a Frabill Trekker two man flip over tent lets you move quickly from spot to spot. With a dark, dark tent like that available with Frabill's black Arctic Armor fabric you can see the bottom in clear shallow water as well as panfish attacking your jig. Also, when you use a tent, you eliminate the wind, which allows you to detect the bites extremely well.

Seeing the fish bite is the most exciting part of ice fishing!

Seeing is believing. If the water is too deep or too stained to see the action, you need a locator. The Marcum LX-5 has 2000 watts of power, which is about the most amount of power available on a flasher unit.

Rapid fire jigging motions will attract fish in so they are visible on the locator, and then you can slow the jigging motion down to get them to strike. By slowly trying to take the jig away from the fish while raising and jigging, you should have more success.

Ice fishing for panfish is one of the most exciting aspects of fishing. You owe it to yourself to give it a try. Panfish fight extremely well on ultra light tackle and are mighty tasty.

For more information on ice fishing for panfish log on to customjigs.com or call (800) 831-5535 for a free "Tips and Tricks" catalog.