One of the great joys I have fishing is when I finally give in to the urge to go panfishing. Unlike fishing for bass or other big game fish, panfishing is simple. Whether with a fly rod, ultralight spinning lures, or just bait fishing, to me, there’s no finer fun than catching bluegill and other sunfish. How about the rest of you? How do you fish for panfish? Favorite lures, flies, bait? Come on now, you know you do it, lets talk about it.

I’m serious about
my panfishing. I just hooked up my vexilar fl-18 fish finder on my yak to locate those schools of gills and crappie. Mark the depth, back off and anchor, set a slip bobber to the depth and toss a hook baited with a waxworm. Just like if i was fishin’ out of my bass boat. My freezer supply of gill is dwindling and needs to be re-stocked.

I fish from my Loon with ultralight gear and pan fishing is where its at for me. The idea is to catch fish and nothing better than getting into a school of crappies or gills; on the light tackle its great fun and they put up a good fight. I did catch my first saugeye yesterday and those buggers want to battle. Ok, I’ll admit, it would be fun to hook a big muskie and have him drag me around the lake, (I fish Leesville Lake here in east central Ohio) but untill that happens, bring on the pans.

I’m going right now
to take my kayak out fishing for gill. A few weeks back, caught a few pretty good size ones on a small lake near home while fishing for bass with my ultralight. This time, I’m using meal worms, never have seen wax worms here in Texas. Other than popping bugs or foam spiders with a fly rod, its my favorite way to catch them. That’s how I do it when meat fishing. Much cleaner than worms and better action.

I used to fish for sunfish and rock bass with my dad in the Finger Lakes when I was a kid. I remember fryin’ em up in the pan over a driftwood fire right after catching them - mmmm, yeah.

Hey, they still taste great. Take some
time and go catch a few gills. Good for the soul.

For the first time…
in several decades I took my panfishing serious this past Spring. Normally I’m a saltwater fisherman.

It all started when a new friend from one of the kayak-fishing msg. boards GAVE me an Orvis 6wt. fly rod.

I’m no purist when it comes to fly fishing. I’m a fisherman first. The flyrods, like my kayaks, are just tools. I’ve been known to use my flyrod like a cane pole with live crickets and a porcupine quill float. Whatever works to get something pulling on the ole pole… dat’s good enuff fer me!

My “go to” that I discovered this Spring was to use almost any popper (#4 & #6 hooks) and put a Crappie Nibble on it. The nibbles are available at Wally World. Color didn’t seem to make any difference for bluegill and redears. The nibbles are a bit too soft straight out of the jar. They’ll work but I found that by drying them in the sun for a little while they get tougher and last longer. I’ve caught as many as three bluegill without having to put a fresh nibble on.

As to color… Crappie (known down here as “sacalait”) might be more discriminating. I wouldn’t know as they seem to have zero desire to introduce themselves to me. pout

A few years ago my boss and I got into them one day. He offered to clean them while I broke camp. When I finished breaking camp I went to help clean the fish. We had over 150 of the tasty lil treats. I was shocked when I found him filleting them. Never seen that done before on such small fish. He assured me it was worth the extra effort and I went home with a gallon bag filled with little tiny bites of heaven. He was right!!!

Instead of “Fish & Chips” it was Fish-Chips of a most delightful nature.

Batter them in a 50/50 mix of Honey Dijon Mustard and Horseradish SAUCE. Dredge in Cornmeal and fry. DELICIOUS!!!

Yuck to battering with anything other
than plain cornmeal, salt,and pepper. But that’s me. Grew up on fish fried just with meal and never developed the taste for any other way. As for filleting crappie, that’s fine, but for my gills, I just cut from back of top of the head down to the anal opening at an angle. Gets rid of the ribs and the other bones are no bother.

This man’s serious about his panfishing
Nice fish finder.

early morning, mist is rising off the water, fish beggin to be caught… Doesn’t get much better. I use either a fly rod with poppers, or ultra-light spinning gear. The Rebel Tiny Craw Fish in brown-orange color seems to be tops for me. Great ultra-light lure. Use a fish bag you can tie off the side of your yak. Keeps fish fresh and out of the way. Those gills and crappie are tough to beat. (poor man’s shrimp. Have fun…

Hey Yak, great recipe!
Tried it yesterday on a Sea Robin (remember my post asking about those strange looking fish last year?) I caught in the Long Island Sound. Great flavor - the kids loved it too. Gotta try it on Bluefish and Striped Bass next.

Mmmmm, horseradish…

Just bought a Humminbird Smartcast
wireless fish finder, the RF 30 wristmount model. Its got this green sonar unit that you can cast out and get a graph reading of the structure, though I plan to tie it off the side of my kayak as a guy on another forum does. He’s a tourament fisherman, fishing from kayaks, and has his mounted on a bungee draped over the side. Says it works great. I’ll try it out tommorrow. Hopefully, I’ll find those big gills.

Magic hour
I hit the magic hour last night on my local pond. The wind blew all day and, as expected, died completely at about sunset. The old gravel pit smoothed to glass and filled with ripples. Every time I landed a #20 bead head nymph near a ripple I hooked another little sunfish. I was using 4x tippit on my 6wt pole/line. Usually I would see the leader begin sinking and pull one in. Occasionally I would back-cast them off accidentally.


New depth finder did the trick.
I used it on a lake near my home and found an area not covered in hydrilla. The average depth was, believe it or not, 12 feet. The gills were holding about 4-5 ft down on the edge of the open water and the hydrilla. God, I have a love/hate relationship with the 'drilla monster. Makes fishing difficult, but helps keep the water clarity good.

New toys…bought an ultralight 7ft rod and new spinning reel and a 5 wt flyrod today.

hey fletch
So how is the readout on that smartcast? Can an old guy like me use it without wearing glasses?

Ultralight / Panfishing

– Last Updated: Jun-18-05 4:58 PM EST –

Hello my name is Russell and I'm a ultralight fishing addict. I got turned on to panfishing many years ago when a friend showed me how much fun catching panfish can be on light tackle. We were on Lake Ouachita outside Hot Springs, Ar when I discovered that sunfish could not seem to resist a roostertail cranked fast. We caught many sunfish, but the cool thing was when my buddy hooked a sunfish along a deep bank and then something really big came up and ate the sunfish. We never got to see the big one, but I'll never forget that day. In the past six months I've been using ultralight tackle almost exclusively. Just recently I managed to catch a couple of catfish in the 22" range. I can't help but laugh when I hook up with ones that big. Kinda makes me feel like a kid again. Checkout my fishing report from last Friday.

Hey, I’ll be 56 in August and am getting
so far sighted that you have to hold the paper in the next county for me to see it. I can see the smartcast pretty well. But, if mine were a SOT kayak, maybe a Tarpon, I’d get a bigger monitor. Smartcast works with several depthfinders, some with a regular transducer. The watch display is small, best for showing depth, and structure.

Looks like three of us are in Texas and
subscribe to Its a totally cool kayak fishing website with plenty of action.

Just came back from taking my son to Ruston, La for frosh orientation at LA Tech University. Visted, but didn’t get to fish, Lake D’arbonne. Talked to several people about brim fishing on the lake. It sounds fantastic, can’t wait till I take him back in the fall, will try it then. Today, I’m going to hit Lake Conroe on its upper end. Haven’t fished it in years, but used to catch the hell out of brim there.

I’m from michigan
but subscribe to TKF. Bunch of good helpful people on that board.

Well, the Smartcast system may sound
like a pretty good idea, but it turned dumb today. Kept getting readings of 10-14 deep with little fish signs in 2 ft water. Taking the damn thing back and trading up to a real depth finder, maybe and Eagle this time.