I was recently on the rock river in wisconsin. it looks like there are some great places along most the river, fish seem to be jumping every hundred yards or so, and there are some spots off the main river with heavier weeds, but tons of fish jumping. i use a 4’6" ugly stik and am a relatively inexperienced fisherman. id like to know what types of lures/baits people use in these kinds of areas, along with the retrieving technique. i like fishing for panfish, especially when using this rod…any help would be great!
For panfish, Roostertail spinning baits
in small sizes, Mepps in 0 and 1 sizes…down here I like the gold or silver blade with squirrel tail…and Roadrunner spinning baits with soft bodies (chartreuse works well here, but it may be different there) are good. Friends are having quite a bit of success with a shallow diving plug called the Bitsy Minnow…think its made by Strike King. All else fails, worms and meal worms on a small hook work well.
I live up on the northern U.S. border and I use small spinners, spinner flies, flies, tiny crankbaits. Like you, I use ultralight gear as it makes catching these smaller fish a boat load of fun. A surefire method is live bait such as worms fished under a slip float. The only thing I don’t like about this method is that most fish swallow the hook and practising catch and release becomes more difficult. However, if you are looking to fill a cooler it works great.
Try using small circle or octopus hooks
On a recent trip to Toledo Bend, I fished for the big bluegill the lake is known for, at least by those of us who like to fish for pan fish. Kept getting short strikes on the long shank hooks I normally use when bait fishing for gills. Switched to a #8 circle and started catching 10" gills. Out of 13, only one was hooked deep. The rest were hooked in the corner of the mouth.
i just ordered
some of the mepp inline spinners suggested and some yum attractant, and while i was at it i decided both an anchor and rod holder were necessary…and before checking out i had to get some circle hooks, that i didnt even know existed. are these fished with primarily live bait?
Are all of these lures retrieved slowly? and what about in thick grass, i also bought Strike King Bleeding Bitsy Bug Jig, ive fished something like it before, but have the feeling the technique was wrong.
I’m not sure there is an incorrect way
to retrieve a lure for panfish. Vary the retrieve and see what happens.
Had good luck with these,
especially on rock bass. I like it that the jigheads are lead-free. I also use them for small plastic grubs without a spinner.
plain ol live nightcrawlers …
........ make bluegills go crazy , some sort of float and not to deep on a #4 hook (flaten the barb if you want easy removal)(circles work too but I don't like them , but someone told me with a circle hook you aren't suppose to set the hook it sets itself , guess that's why I was missing on the hookset alot) ........... Bluegills in the flowing mountain rivers aren't opposed to taking a #3 blade 1/4 oz. spinner either (that's larger size than required though), they'll hit it just as often as the nightcrawler on a float when the water is warmed up ............ one of my favorites is the "YUM Crawbug" , it's a creyfish that really is a tube that's hollow so you can put a lead jig inside it , the crawlbug allows you to rig the hook weedless in the face area for thick weeds and cover presentations without getting snagged up ........ for smaller fish the 2-1/2" is best size and I prefer "Greenpumpkin" color , seems the fish do too , but don't be surprised if some big ol fish takes it as well , they always do !!
Try a BeetleSpin…
retrieve them across submerged ledges (if you have rivers with transverse ledges that is) The 'gills will come charging up out from under these ledges to nail them.
Hey Shenandoah …
… I love that river and that valley , always have , want to be sprinkled there some day … used to wade in it for Smallmouth for many many years , but only a 1/2 dozen or so times in an overnighter down river … but what I want to ask you is about a particular section if you have some knowledge of it , and that’s just downstream around Avon Bend (which is not very far up from Rt. 9 out of Charles Town ) , familiar with this stretch at all ?? … facing downstream on the left side of the river is cliff with a bell at top out in front of a house up there … once when I was going over to that side to have a closer look at these huge rooster tails near shore some lady started ringing that bell like crazy so I turned back and never got real close !!! … have you ever seen that bell on cliff or those huge rooster tails in that stretch ??
A simple and cheap…
lure that’s often overlooked but is probably the greatest multi-species lure ever made is a marabou crappie jig. You can buy them at any discount store for usually less than 50 cents apiece, and you’ll need a bunch of them because you’ll lose them occasionally to snags. 1/16th ounce white ones are probably all you really need. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s simply a ball head jig dressed with a cylindrical tinsel body and a marabou feather tail. The list of species of freshwater fish I’ve caught on them includes: smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass, chain and grass pickerel, northern pike, walleye, channel catfish, freshwater drum, longnose gar, carp, and every species of sunfish that swim in the waters I’ve fished. They catch crappie like crazy, bluegill love them, rock bass can’t resist them. You can fish them on the bottom, but often the easiest and most effective way of fishing them is simply to cast them out and reel them in steadily with a retrieve slow enough to keep them a few feet under the surface.
I use a 4’6 ugly stick also I texas rig a 6" power worm on it exclusively and go for large mouth here in mass I catch em all the time from 1 to 6 lbs from my 12.5 old town derigo I also take it out in the ocean and Plymouth harbor mostly and catch stripers using a 6 foot ugly stick and a bait caster reel. I also use a 30" drift anchor once I hook one because they will take you for a ride Its way to much fun.
Or you can make your own for less. Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas both sell jig spinners. I prefer the gold color to nickel. Get a couple different sizes and some panfish jig heads and a few different colors of 1.5" curly tail grubs and you’re set for fishing. You can fish the jig heads dressed with the grubs vertically, you can fish them on a cast and retrieve, you can add the jig spinner for cast and retrieve, and with the jig spinner you can fish it slow along the bottom or more quickly along the top so that the blade just barely creates a hump on the water surface as it rotates. Thre components and you’ve got the entire water column covered.
I consider panfish jig heads to be anything up to 1/8 oz, but more commonly 1/32 oz. Use tungsten if you can get them. They’re more expensive than lead, but the “hang” less on rocks and such because the tunsten is harder.
- Big D