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Ontario Fishing Network
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By Tim Allard
If you're a fan of panfish you undoubtedly have a good
selection of jigs in your tackle box. Baits ranging from 1/32- to
1/8-ounce are common weights for catching perch, sunfish and
crappie. Yet beyond their weight, another big factor is how these
tiny jigs are dressed. When fish are finicky this is a critical
detail. Read on for a review of some of the top panfish jig styles
you should have in your tackle box.
Feathers and Fur
Hand-tied jigs are often deadly on panfish when working baits
beneath floats. Bucktail and marabou are perhaps the two most
popular materials. While chenille and various other types of
feathers add more options in patterns. Undoubtedly the fish-catching
ability of these baits lies in the life-like movements the materials
convey underwater. When suspended beneath a float, the slightest
ripple in the water or rod tip twitch results in a pulse, flair, or
flutter in the bait. Many of these moves are often too temping for
an inspecting panfish and often trigger strikes. When faced with
tough fishing conditions, feather and fur tied jigs are often what I
go to first.
Tied in a similar fashion to a straight bucktail jig, tinsel
delivers something hair cannot: flash. Silver, gold, chartreuse, and
orange are some of my favorite colors in tinsel jigs. These baits do
well suspended beneath floats, but can also be deadly when cast out
and then worked back on a hopping retrieve. The flash combined with
a darting, swimming motion replicates the movements of a tiny
baitfish. When panfish are munching on minnows, tinsel jigs can
This category of panfish jig bodies is extremely vast. Panfish
tackle is overflowing with different soft-bait body designs for
jigs. Twister tail, tubes and shad-bodies baits are two
well-established patterns for any sport fish and pannies are no
exception. Teaser tails are a finesse profile that can also be
deadly at times. Most plastic jigs can be worked on a slow, jigging
retrieve or suspended beneath a float and occasionally twitched. As
expected with plastics, baits come in an array of options exist in
natural and hot color patterns. Scent infused soft-baits give
anglers even more choice. Make sure you have some scented baits in
you box, they consistently coax hits from finicky fish for me during
In a category of its own are jigs featuring spinners. One
option is spin jig wire shafts that attach to the line tie of a jig
head. The other choice for anglers is to use jigs with spinner
blades moulded directly into the head. Regardless of which you
choose, these bladed jigs have a way of catching big crappies and
perch. Better suited to casting and worked with short, hopping,
jigging retrieves, the flash and vibrations of these blades only
heightens the fish-catching power of a standard jig.
If you're serious about panfish, you need a well-stocked tackle tray
filled with different jig styles. Throughout the season, certain
jigs will out produce others. To ensure you're prepared for whatever
preferences pannies have on any given day, carry a mix of all the
jigs represented above.