Bluegill and the rest of the panfish provide great sport and excellent eating. If you want to learn how to catch gamefish like largemouth bass, pike and muskie, then you need to start small. Small lures and small fish. You see a bluegill shares nearly the same habits and instincts as his gamefish cousins, so learning to hunt these panfish will get you to become a fish catching machine, no matter what quarry you’re after!
So in order to catch bluegill and panfish the right way, you need to get geared up. You’ll need a specially designed rod for panfish. The Cubby or the or the all have ice fishing style tips and a fast action that allows you to set the hook and have a fun fight.
Any 1000 series reel will do as long as it has a smooth drag. Shimanos or do the job nicely. Tow pound test line is preferred. It casts far, fish won’t get spooked in shallow, clear water and it is surprisingly strong.
The lures you’ll be using are Custom Jigs & Spins Ratsos (sizes 6, 8 and 10), Ratfinkees (sizes 6, 8 and 10) and Gill Pills (sizes 10 and 12). You’ll also need a pack of waxworms or spikes, a nickel sized plastic bobber and a pack of size split shots to get started.
Whether you fish from shore or a boat the method is the same. Make short concise casts around cover like fallen trees, piers and weeds. You want o try to establish a pattern of where the fish are located and then fish similar style areas. Underhand casts and short flip casts are the rule. A slow steady retrieve is a must. Son you’ll need to add a repertoire of retrieve motions to attract fish since fish will attract more favorably tp retrieves that act like injured prey.
You can add the split shot to get the bait a little deeper, put it a few feet above the line. This will also help you cast farther and have better control on a windy day. You might need a small bobber to cast, but believe me, you will catch more fish tight lining a jig as and feeling the hit as opposed to waiting for them to take the bobber down.
If it’s windy you’ll soon learn that the bow in your line is a strike indicator. Once that bow disappears... set the hook!
When you use waxworms or spikes, add two or three and as long as you have a little meat on the hook you have a better chance at catching a fish. But once you master attraction techniques, the light bulb will go on and you will be a better fisherman. Plus its always a good idea to leave a rod rigged up in your car. That way when you see and inviting looking pond, you can make a few casts and maybe catch some fish too!
Walt & Poppee Matan have developed dozens of styles of jigs for Custom Jigs & Spins over the years. Custom Jigs & Spins is the largest manufacturer of ice jigs in the world; chances are you’ve got a few in your tackle box! But remember ice fishing jigs aren’t just for ice fishing any more.