Worms, crickets, and other live bait will always catch bluegill, but if you want to catch more bluegill, switch to jigs. Bug-like jigs are great lure imitations, and tiny is better than big. Tiny fishing jigs can be more easily fished at the sluggish pace that sunfish prefer. These featherweight jigs snag less and can tempt fish that may not be hungry enough to chomp a big bait. Also, enticing, erratic retrieves are possible with tiny offerings that can’t be duplicated with bigger jigs. When bluegill get picky, matching their diet with a jig imitation can bring more action. Also…
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The 5 Best Lures for Big Bluegills

Saturday, May 09 2015 6:30 am - for Panfish
For pure fishing fun, it’s hard to top scrappy bluegills. At a young age, many of us discovered the thrill of having them pull our bobber into the depths.  More experienced anglers may begin to curse the tell-tale tap of a ‘gill on a bass lure, but it’s only because we’ve forgotten just how much fun—and delicious—catching a stinger of these feisty panfish can be.   The thump of a bull bluegill on an ultra-light rod never gets old. Swimming a single-tailed grub through the weeds is often enough to entice a strike. Crickets and worms are consistent producers, but…
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How to Find River Crappie

Sunday, May 10 2015 12:00 pm - for Crappie
Finding crappie in rivers can be a whole lot easier if you remember that crappie rarely challenge the main flow of a river. They prefer to use eddies, slack water, and cover that breaks the current. Speckled perch will spawn out of current in areas that warm more quickly than the main flow, with peak spawning at 66 to 70 degrees water temperature. Vertical cover that extends from the river bottom to above the surface provides good holding places for crappie in rivers with heavy current. The heavier the current the wider the cover must be to hold them. In…
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Crappie can be choosy. While springtime often yields good action, it pays to have a stocked jig box so you can make adjustments on the water. Crappie jigs with these 3 features should always have a place in your assortment. Crappie jigs with appendages feature movement and and a realistic profile that drives panfish crazy. 1. Flash Fleck and glitter suspended in a soft-plastic can sometimes make a huge difference. When you need to slowly work a jig and appeal to neutral crappie, a bit of sparkle can trigger the bite. This holds true in clear and stained water. Last…
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Jerk Fishing for Crappie

Sunday, March 08 2015 7:00 am - for Crappie
Want to try something a little different when crappie fishing this spring? Try jerking for them. Jerking is a technique that’s been used in some parts of the country for quite a few years but is just now catching on in others. Here's how you do it. Rig a minnow or jig under a bobber, cast it around crappie cover, then moveit with short, quick jerks every minute or two. Beneath the surface, your jerks make the bait dart erratically for a second and then flutter down, simulating a wounded baitfish, and that really excites a crappie. When using this…
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The last period of safe ice typically offers some of the best ice fishing of the year for panfish like bluegill and crappie.  For crappies in particular, we often find fish shallow and the fish can often be fairly aggressive.  The locations to find crappies is often a matter of connecting the dots.  On most lakes and flowages, crappies will suspend out over holes and basins through much of the winter.  Crappies will than set up in shallow protected bays, marinas and creek arms that have a few feet of water to spawn.  So we know where the fish were…
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Great Ice Fishing Buys for Under $5

Wednesday, January 07 2015 4:00 pm - for Ice Fishing
Don’t let an empty bank account keep you from a great hard water outing.  These items can make all the difference on tough days, and at under $5 each you can still afford to pack some beverages! Berkley Bucket Rod Holder: A steal at $3.99, I regularly use this rod holder for securing my dead-stick rod when soaking a minnow for walleye, perch or crappie. I highly recommend it. Bass Pro Shops Depth Finder Weights: Depth finder weights are traditionally used to quickly find bottom when setting tip-ups and other stationary lines. I also like to use them to add…
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4 Panfish Ice Baits You Need

Saturday, November 29 2014 9:00 am - for Ice Fishing
The big profile of the Rapala Jigging Shad Rap and wide, gliding action are the ticket to trophy slabs and jumbo perch. For those of us in the North Country, ice fishing is just around the corner. The start of the season can provide some incredible action. Here are four must-have baits for icing big panfish all winter long. 1. Jigging Minnows Slab crappie and jumbo perch love jigging minnows, such as the Rapala Jigging Shad Rap. When panfish are on the chew at early ice, the big profile of these lures and wide, gliding action really have a knack for…
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4 Tips for Sight-Fishing Crappie

Wednesday, November 26 2014 9:00 am - for Crappie
Bright baits are the ticket for sight fishing for crappie. Try glow, white, chartreuse and other vibrant patterns. Metallic lures also give off good flash, making it easy for anglers to track baits during the retrieve. Fall is a great time to catch crappie. One method I use in northern clear-water lakes is sight-fishing crappie around deep, healthy weeds. These crappie are hunting baitfish and various tasty invertebrates living in the aquatic plants. The best fishing days tend to be overcast. Here are four tips for this approach. 1. Fish high Crappie are up-feeders so best results often come working…
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3 Reasons to Fish Fast for Panfish

Monday, September 08 2014 3:00 pm - for Panfish
While there is a time and place for slow presentations for panfish, I'm here to tell you that fishing fast is a great way to catch more and bigger sunfish, crappie and yellow perch. Reason 1: It Covers Water and Finds Fish Faster Part of why I like crappie fishing so much is that these fish are such a challenge to track down. Yes, some days their elusiveness leaves me scratching my head, but when I locate a school it makes the hard work worth it. Dillydallying with slow, methodical tactics is not how I search out crappie. It's run-and-gun,…
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