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Lure presentation techniques


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I am hoping to get a more precise idea how you successful bluegill and sunny fisherman present the lure to the fish.

What kind of action are you trying to impart to the rod?

Are you trying to make the lure "shimmer" and if so how would describe the motion of the finger, hand, wrist, forearm etc. to get that action?

Do you stop the jigging motion waiting for a strike or is the jig in motion all of the time?

What per centage of your hookups occur when you have stopped jigging vs. constant jigging.

It seems to me from watching other good fishermen that they can trigger a bite much more frequently than I can. I would describe the motion that I have been using as more of a bounce with longer waits in between with most of my hookups occuring when the jig has stopped moving. I am using a Genz Lightning rod 28" and a 32" inch "noodle" like rod that is very sensitive.

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My rule of thumb is this - whatever you are doing that brought them in to the bait - don't stop doing it!! Alot of times, your inclination it to stop jigging when you see a gill coming up. Many times, if the gill gets a good look at the jig, they won't hit. Then again, certain days they want a completely motionless bait. But, if you are doing a hard pounding action and a gill comes in - keep right on pounding. If they don't hit right away, keep pounding, but maybe start to slowly raise the jig - this will often draw a strike. There are no hard and fast rules - it varies from day to day, hour to hour. You have to experiment with aggressive to subtle jigging techniques, lure color, horizontal vs. vertical lures, etc. The only hard and fast rule I've ever found is that gills will NOT hit a spinning horizontal jig - anything you can do to keep twists out of your line is a good idea. That's why most tight-liners fish with schooley reels - the line does not twist as much, so they get less jig spinning.

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For years I have let the fish determine what and how they want the bait. You speak soley of sunfish and not crappies, they can be very different in how they want something presented even when found together and caught together.

I favor starting at the bottom of the range where fish are being marked and work my bait in an upward direction. Slowly raising past that point of fish location. Unless you have a good current where you are fishing that pulls everything to the side, most of the zooplankton and larval whatever are moving in an upward direction when the feedbag is on.

You have heard of deadsticking....this is a good way to find out if the fish want something presented to them in an almost inert fashion. If you are getting the hits on a dead stick, make both rods of that technique.

Jigs are everywhere. The smaller glow drops from JR's, the rat finke from Jigs and Spins. Some of the minnow heads are very productive, one being the pumpkin seed from JR's. When you need to go micro, the Marmooska has some unbelievably tiny jigs. I don't use them because I can't see the eye of the hook well enough to even tie one on!

Colors are as varied as the jigs are. I tend to look first at the glow colors: glow blue and glow red, are favorites. Glow purple was a strong producer until a bass had other plans for it. Glow can backfire on you though at times so be sure to have some small jigs in your more mundane flouorescents as well.

Jigging up. jigging down, or even motionless. The best indicator of the best action will be the fish. Listen to them.

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I like what Tom said.

Do what the fish tell you.

I recall many bites I was on that required a special finess to trigger an actual bite.

And while I recall so many of these instances, I don't recall too many of the actual finess tactics I used. For some reason, I seem to do pretty well when some variation and technique is needed to produce a strike.

The basic thing I do is look for how they respond on the Vex.

Most times it seems I need to try and get them to run for the bait as much as possible. Sometimes, it may seem as though slow fish would need to be worked right in front of their faces.

However, I have found that if I hold back on them, and make them approach the lure on their own, it is the most effective way.

True enough, I might need to go to their snouts to obtain the initial interest, but I will pull the bait away, increasing my lure's speed as I do so, to develope a strike.

Other times, I've had to jig away from the fish, and suddenly drop to their snouts, without motion, to obtain the hit.

I could go on all day, but you will have to be the one to detirmine what they want on any given day.

The problem of course is perhaps the fish will spook from many misses before you can detirmine a jigging pattern.

When all else fails, upsize. I do it all the time, and it has worked more then it hasn't.

I use alot of lures that I never would have thought to many years ago. They simply look "too big" for bluegills, but they are dynamite.

Keeping the tip of your hook covered is one major key to enticing bluegills. Also, minnow heads seem to work well, I prefer the smallest Crappie Minnow heads.

Maggots work well too, but require a bit of finess on their own. A waxie can be thread onto the hook, allowing you to cover the hook end. However, maggots get hooked through the blunt end, and therefor are easire for a sunfish to "suck" off your hook.

Also, they leave that tip showing, so some adjustments may be needed. It all depends on how pressured [in other words, how smart these fish are] these fish are.

If you're looking for Bull Gills, expect to have some patience, as they can be smart, elusive critters.

That's why I fish Crappies.

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This post deals with Prior lake, the north end in particular.

I am assuming you have a flasher.

I enjoy sunnies, the bigger ones. Trying to get the big ones to out bite the smaller aggressive ones can be work.

The first thing for me was to make changing jigs as simple as possible. I have a couple of leader keepers with 10-12 pre tied jigs on 4# flurocarbon line. I use Fireline on my reels with a swivel and a quick connect on the fluro. 2-3' leaders, I'm sure shorter will do but if a gill swallows my jig I want to have room to retie. I also use foam bobbers, and noodle rods.

The foam bobbers are trimmed so they sit flush with the water on top, basically zero bouancy.

The noodle rods are a big help when you need to lift the bait to entice a bite, you can still see it by watching the line and the rod.

My first opition is to always start above the fish and see the reaction on my vex. Sometimes I will see fish come up 3-4'off the bottom so fast, My eyes almost bug out. The tricky part, most often those are not the biggest fish. They can be but usually I find the bigger ones at crappie depth say 7-9 or even 10' off the bottom. I suspect that the bigger ones go up even higher when they are active and escape the small overly aggressive fish.

I do find the bigger ones on or near the bottom as well. When they are mixed in with the smaller ones, you do end up doing some sorting. I feel that when a bigger sunny does want to hit the smaller ones give way. I have had times when I have several fish next to my minnow, another fish comes in and the others give way. I don't have a camera but I have been told that the smaller ones will look at a minnow, but the bigger ones will take a small crappie minnow. I mean small, tiny, itty bitty, teeny weeny, if you get my point.

The other day when I was out I was using a red glow (my favorite color), and I hooked several big gills, one was throat hooked, broke the line and put him outside for some chilling. I didn't hook another big gil until I re tied that jig. # 10 or 12. My point is, if you know that there are big gills where you are fishing, keep changing jigs to see if you find that special something they seem to want more than the smaller ones. Even if they are biting try differnt shapes and colors, you may find that the big ones prefer a certain color or size that day, or hour.

Also change from eurolarve (a couple red and a white or other color, is what works for me) to waxies now and again. Remember that your bobber may barely move or you may just notice the line move where is hits the bobber. (yes look at the line going down the hole, especially with waxies or euro).

As for jigging. I start by "pounding" short quick hard jigs. Then vary it from there. Like they said above don't be afraid to keep jigging until the hit. Try lifting, just like you do for crappies. Minnow I jig lighter and lift and drop a lot. I hope this make sense, I speak better than I can type it out. I'll add more if I think of it. Hope that helps, a lot of others can add more.

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I don't go after bluegills and crappies very often and when I do it's in clear shallow water. What I do might sound stupid but it does produce once in awhile tongue.gif. I use a horizontal jig, most often a really small one. I put on a small wax worm, I just thread the hook through the head of the waxie and let the tail dangle. I then drop it down the hole and when I get a fish to come take a look I'll stop jigging, I'll already have the line pinched between my fingers and my rod lying on the floor with the bail open. With the line pinched between my fingers I can spin the waxie in the direction of the fish. I've found that no matter how smart they are they can't stand a jig that won't let them get a "side look". If you keep the waxie in front of the fish and don't let them swim around the jig to get a side look at it you'll catch them most of the time. Lifting the jig very slowly also helps the fish that can't make up there mind. NEVER DROP YOUR JIG TO THE FISH!!!! They will come up for it. The fish I go after are heavily pressured fish and are very smart and finicky. Also the water is very very clear and you can see bottom in 17 ft of water and I'm fishing in about 5 to 8ft. The only other thing I do is maybe twitch the jig if the fish starts to back away, by twitch I mean holding the line in your hand between your thumb and index finger and move just your your two fingers about a eighth of an inch towards the palm of your hand. Maybe at most a quarter of an inch. this works well on the lake that I fish but it takes practice and patience. I hope this helps smile.gifgrin.gif.It works on perch too!!! tongue.gif

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I often times don't even jig at all, just set the rod on your knee and watch the line and rod tip. As much as you try to make that jig motionless it still moves and quivers every so slightly and panfish will sense that. Panfish are used to feeding on micro-organisms in the winter, much of which are barely visible (if at all) to the naked eye. The movements those tiny morsels give off are incredibly small, so the movements given off by an almost-still jig are easliy detected by those finicky pannies. You will need a spring bobber or noodle rod to properly fish this technique.

When I do jig, I try to keep things short and sweet. No movements over 2-3 inches during midwinter. Early and late ice is a different story, those fish are much more aggressive. I like to just shake the jig up and down trying to only get the back end to move. This usually seals the deal when a pannie joins the party. I also like to slightly pull away from the fish as I make the jig quiver, this triggers the panfish to strike. The slow movements in combination with the quiver gives off the impression that the forage is about to dart away and in the fish's mind it's now or never.

During midwinter you want to keep things simple, too much movement will have a negative effect. Another thing, when a fish approaches your bait that doesn't mean you have to stop what you are doing. Fish will hit a moving bait too and that can be the difference between no fish and pile of fish on some days.

Good Fishin,

Matt Johnson

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