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Fishing for Panfish

PanfishEvery angler has to start somewhere in his fishing “career”.  One cannot expect a newbie angler to tackle game fish such as salmon and trout or even one of those cunning predatory fish such as a pike or bass as a base line for fishing.

In the United States, the panfish variety is usually the best fish to land for newbie anglers.  Panfish is not actually a genus but rather a term used by anglers to refer to a variety of sunfish and bass species that are too small to quality as a game fish.  They are called panfish because they fit in a pan.  Small as they are, panfish are feisty, cunning and fight hard.

It is not easy to tell apart one panfish from another. Even if they are not closely related, all panfish have short squat bodies with the same fin alignment. The most popular panfish in the United States is the bluegill.

The sunfish species include the redear, green, spotted, pumpkinseed, redbreast , orange-spotted sunfish and the silver and black crappie.  They like weedy water with snags and submerged branches.  Sunfish weigh on average less than a pound but there are some redear caught weighing more than 4 pounds.

Small bass like the warmouth, yellow, white and rock belong to the true bass family but are considered panfish because of their size. Panfish are hardy as they thrive in both clear and murky water as long as it’s warm.  There is almost always an abundance of panfish in natural lake, ponds, slow-moving streams and creeks and water reservoir.

fishing1How To Catch Panfish

Panfish is found in almost all creeks, lakes, rivers and ponds in the United States.  Panfish fishing is also called bream fishing in some States and many anglers started bream fishing as youngsters. How do you catch a panfish?  Well, you can go to the nearest pond or creek in your vicinity, take a pole with a line and sinker and a hook at its end.  Hook a worm and dunk it in the pond where there are lots of weeds. Wait for the tug, jerk it, pull it and you have caught a panfish. It is as easy as that.

An angler can use any method he prefers. He can jig, use lures, fly fish and troll with spinners. An angler can bait fish using worm, cricket, crayfish or any other live of dead bait. One can fish all year-round but the spring spawning season is when there is an abundance of panfish ready to spawn. They run in school and prefer swallow warm water when spawning.

Panfish like to lie in water with cover. They prefer to stay close to its natural food supply and in shaded areas.  Search for panfish where there are weed beds, submerged branches, tree stumps, boat docks, fallen logs and the likes.  Panfish need to be close to areas that can hide them.

fishing1Fishing Tackle and Gear

There is no rule of thumb as to the type of fishing tackle to use as long as the angler can handle the rod comfortably. There is no use buying a super expensive graphite rod as after all, panfish are small. Make sure you use the appropriate rod. Use a fine line too. If you have the resources, current ultralight and light poles or rods would do fine. Pair it with a matching reel making sure that the specifications of the rod is matched to the reel.

Some anglers prefer a spinning rod in tandem with a light fixed-spool reel. The combo is a great one for playing an aggressive panfish. A jigging pole fitted with a 2 to 8-pound test line is enough. Panfish have small mouth so baits and lures should match the size of its natural diet.

fishing1Where to Catch Panfish

It is no secret that there is a variety of panfish in almost every pond, lake, river, stream, creek, water reservoir in the United States.   Panfish are often stocked in urban fisheries and its fishing limit is rather generous because panfish are quite prolific. After spawning, expect panfish to move to deeper water especially in the summer.

The state record for panfish in Idaho is 3 lbs 8 oz caught from the C J Strike Reservoir. Other popular areas to fish are: Lucky Peak Reservoir; Lake Pend Oreille; Salmon Falls Creek and more.

The bigger lakes in Michigan have the biggest panfish: Brevoort Lake, Elk Lake, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and more.

The general rule is that if a body of water is suitable for fish, there is a large probability that it contains at least one variety of panfish.