Panfish on Spinning Gear

Editor’s Note: This is the second of our two-part series on panfish. Last week, we featured panfish on fly; this week, we look at panfish on spinning gear.

If you evaluate fish on their freshwater popularity, bass and trout would be near the top of the many anglers’ list. Panfish would likely finish a distant third, but it shouldn’t be that way.

Trout boast loads of angling tradition. Bass is the working man’s fish. Panfish, like it or not, are associated with child’s play, because, after all, many fishermen caught their first bream as a youngster.

It’s clear that panfish don’t get the respect they deserve. Nevertheless, they’re a marvelous sparring partner on light spinning tackle.

Below are a few tips to get started.

Why You Should Fish for Panfish

They’re everywhere. Literally. You can find them in much of the Lower 48.  If there’s water — a river, creek, lake or pond, then there’s probably going to be panfish a short cast away from the bank.

And no fish offers as much consistent action. It’s not uncommon to catch a couple dozen in an hour.

In an internet world of instant information and feedback, patience can be at a premium for most of us, but panfish help alleviate that need, which is great for the adult newcomer and even better for kids. Positive outcomes motivate. By contrast, if a greenhorn tries their hand at summer bass fishing, they’ll be lucky to get a strike or two.

The Gear for Panfish

You can keep it super simple with a cane pole, a single strand of monofilament and a float. It’s tangle free and cheap.

A step up from the sapling strategy is an ultra-light spinning outfit. A small open-faced reel spooled with 4-pound test is ideal. If you’re using bait, attach a size 8 hook (brim have small mouths) with a swivel and a small piece of split shot and a bobber.

You need not break the bank with your rod. TFO’s Trout-Panfish rod ($79.95-$89.95) fits the bill. A 6-footer is perfect.

Bait and Lures for Panfish

Nightcrawlers and crickets are top choices. For artificials, a small jig with a chartreuse and white grub is a solid option. You can’t beat a Rooster Tail spinner, either.

Regardless of what option you choose, fish close to shore, in the shade and structure on the full moon when the bream typically spawn in the spring and summer. The warmer the water, the deeper the fish will hold. A little trial and error is usually needed to figure out where the fish are holding.

Bream are low-maintenance and a delight to catch. You don’t need an expensive setup or a boat. But you can still have a boatload of fun without a lot of expense or effort.

Comments, questions about panfish on spin? Feel free to comment on one of our social media pages.


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