Fishing For Panfish: Step By Step Guide


Whether you are a newbie or an experienced angler, fishing for panfish is a fun experience. However, it can easily become frustrating if you don’t know how to do it the right way!  It is not difficult but can be challenging if you intend to catch larger species.

From the right equipment to the proper set-up, fishing for panfish requires knowledge and skills. Luckily, it is nothing that you won’t be able to do! With a bit of patience and armed with determination, you can reel in a catch sooner than what you expect.

Ready for a fresh catch? Read on and we’ll let you know how to catch a panfish like a pro!

What is Panfish? 

Before we start, let us first describe what exactly a panfish is. Basically, it refers to an edible gamefish that has the same size as a regular frying pan. If it is small enough to fit in a frying pan and legal to catch, it can qualify as a panfish. It also needs to be edible.

Some of the most common types of panfish you can catch include crappie, bluegill, red-ear sunfish, and green sunfish, among others. The methods of fishing will be almost the same, although, there can be subtle differences in the baits and lures that you need to use. Whether you are using crappie baits or catfish baits, panfish fishing generally follows the same steps.

How to Catch a Panfish 


Now that we discussed what qualifies a panfish, let us now have a look at the steps you need to follow when fishing for panfish. Take note, these steps are only a general guide. The methods can vary from one individual to another, so don’t be afraid to make variations when necessary.

  1. The first thing that you need to do is to set a target. This means that you have to identify the specific fish that you would want to catch based on location and other environmental factors. This gives you an understanding of their habits and diet, making it easy to make sure that you will be able to catch one during your fishing trip.
  2. Once you know what it is that you want to catch, it is now time to set-up the rig, which is usually the most complicated part of the process. Aside from the fishing rod and reel, you also have to think about the fishing lines to use, baits, lures, and other important components of the set-up. Later in this post, we’ll talk more about what you need to know about fishing for panfish, such as choosing a bait.
  3. Find the right location. You will end up being frustrated if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. The best places would be along dams and drop-offs. Small bays and lakes also present plenty of opportunities to catch a panfish. Piers and platforms in coves and bays are also perfect places. Do not be afraid to go off the beaten path. Use kayaks and canoes to take you to different places.
  4. With everything ready, now is the time to fish. There is really no special technique that is required. It can be the same as with fishing other species. From proper casting to reeling in, you basically just have to do the same things you will do when catching other fish species.

Because panfish is a general term, you might also want to brush up on crappie fishing tips and bluegill fishing tips to increase the likelihood that you won’t go home with an empty fishing cooler.

Choosing your Baits and Lures

Regardless of the type of panfish that you intend to catch, one of the most important is to pick the right type of bait and lure that will attract the fish. Pay attention to the presentation of the tackle to increase the likelihood that it will attract a catch. If possible, choose a light fishing line and tackle.

Don’t be afraid to use live bait. If this is the case, choose only a small hook. Otherwise, this will make the bait look smaller. Also, it can be too large for the panfish to take in its mouth. Pick hooks that are size 6 to 14.  Aquatic insects, critters, and shrimps will make great baits when you are fishing for panfish.

Consider the weight of the bait and lure that you will use. If it is too heavy, it will fall too quickly once it lands on the water, which will also be easy for the panfish to miss. For a more natural presentation without compromising weight, choose micro jig heads in a 2 to 4-pound fishing line.

Regardless of the bait that you will be using, it is crucial to keep it alive and fresh. Otherwise, it will be ineffective and can turn your fishing trip into a nightmare. Aerators should be part of your fishing trip checklist to keep a well-oxygenated environment for your live baits.

If you would like to catch bigger species, on the other hand, do not be afraid to change your baits and jigs. They love those that make lots of movement and noise.


Practice Drop-Shot Rigging

To minimize frustration with your set-up, learn the basics of drop shot fishing. This rigging set-up is underused despite its plenty of benefits. The set-up has a fishing line that is tied to a hook with a trailing leader. At the bottom, there is a weight and a hook where the bait is placed.

Use a Locator 

Have you ever been on a fishing trip that ends up a nightmare and without a catch? There are many ways to prevent this from happening, and one of the best is a fish locator. Learn how to use a handheld GPS for fishing to know exactly where you should be heading.

Globo Surf Overview 

If you want to learn how to catch panfish, the good news is that it is easy! Even as a new angler, the steps are quite basic, as discussed above. From the set-up of the rig to the right baits lures to use, take note of our suggestions to end up with a productive fishing trip!

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!