Spring Panfishing 101

If you love to chase panfish like we do, the new TFO Trout Panfish II rods are a ‘must-have’ to add to your fishing arsenal. Historically, the Trout Panfish series was made in lengths from 5’6″ through 7′ until 2023, when TFO added the NEW 8′ two-piece. All of the Trout Panfish II rods will easily handle giant panfish.

TPS2 802-2 – The light action, 8’0″ Trout Panfish II model.

The all-new TFO 8′ two-piece rod has become our go-to when chasing panfish. The Light (L) action rod helps you cast light lures an extremely long distance. Thus allowing you, the angler, to stay off the fish to avoid spooking them in the shallow water they often seek during this time of year. In addition, the longer rod helps you, the angler, set the hook quickly once your target species takes your bait. And if you prefer one-piece rods, the shorter offerings in the TFO line-up are certainly no slouch, offering plenty of casting distance. 

One way you, the angler, can increase the casting distance of your offering is to use a heavier bobber. Speaking of bobbers, black crappies are abundant in the northern lakes, and their delicate bite at times is often challenging to detect.  One of the best floats on the market is the Rocket Bobber Mini,  often found in single solid colors like orange, pink, yellow, or even a glow.

Our favorite setup for our panfish rods is a TFO Trout Panfish II rod paired with a #4 monofilament line on a Pflueger President reel. This combination allows you to easily cast lightweight jigs with a float (jig weight–typically 1/100oz to 1/32oz). 

TFO Ambassador Stephanie Lawson putting the Trout Panfish II series to work.

Once you’ve got your rod and reel setup, head to your favorite panfish lake or pond. Once you have located a school of fish, make a long cast. Your retrieve is critical to triggering a bite. We often experiment with three different retrieves when fishing for panfish. Once you have made your cast, lower your rod to the 8 o’clock position.

The first retrieve is a SLOW, steady, continuous reel. The second is a slow 3′ to 4′ sweep & pause, which moves the lure higher in the water column and a slow fall back to the desired depth your float is set at. The final retrieve is a steady “tapping” of the rod tip, with a slow retrieve and pause. All of these retrieves have their time and place on any given day.

We’ve yet to tell you the best news.  If you duplicate this panfish setup, the price point is affordable for novice and experienced anglers.  Get ready to feel every dart, dip, dodge, and spin of these small but mighty fighters because the sensitivity of these rods is next level!  You should pick up some canola oil on the way home, as nothing is better than a family fish fry!


TFO Pro-Tip:

Paint the tips of your floats white for better bite detection. The white shows up better on the water.

Blog written by TFO Ambassadors Travis Sorokie and Stephanie Lawson.

TFO Ambassador Travis Sorokie enjoying some crappie fishing with the Trout Panfish II series.

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