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Panfish Question


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This past weekend I was on a private lake and saw many large sunfish on the camera. We were set up on a steep point drop-off in 28 fow.

Managed to catch several 8-9 inchers, 3-10"ers and one that went 11" (1.2 pounds).

These big sunfish moved around in small pods 2-3 with the largest ones being loners. However, right at dusk, they came in in a large group for about 20 minutes, bit quickly and then were gone. (Aqua-vu is amazing)

Most of the Big sunnies would come in, look at the bait, and then slip away. If they came in close and tasted the bait, we ended up catching them.

We saw Many bass in the 18-20" range (caught one 18") and several large crappies.

I'm looking for ideas on how to respond to sunnies and craps that are moving but not interested in biting. We tried several different sizes of forage minnows, small jigs and small plain hooks. All worked but without consistancy.

Any pointers appreciated.

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big panfish get big for a reason.. they are a little smarter than the rest of them.

My best tip I can give you is this... Keep your lure moving.. dont let it stop.. if you stop it, they get a better look at it and will not bite... Keep that lure spazzing.. very small shakes , not big jigs..

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I noticed this weekend when I went to a small diamond jig tipped with just enough waxie to cover the hook, but leave a little hanging the bigger ones would hit after a little jigging right above them. If it was even with them or below, no interest. As soon as it started going up, Bam.

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I second what Dietz said. Don't be afraid to try a small jigging rap or shad. Sounds crazy, but it has worked for me before. Had the same situation on a very pressured lake that held big crappies and gills. One day, the wind was blowing like crazy and it was cold so we set up the house and just sat there all day watching big gills and crappies go by on the cam. My buddy got sick of it and put a jigging shad on after seeing a walleye cruise through. He only had been jigging it for a minute or so when a big gill came in a crushed it!!! I watched this go on for about 5 more fish and then tied one one myself! We got some dandy gills and crappies that day and even a couple of bass. We have tried that spot a few times since then with mixed results with the shad/rapala. It does one thing for sure, eliminates the little ones!!! Good Luck!

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Deitz's comment about keeping the bait moving is very important. When you let the bait sit it usually turns off larger fish. It not only gives the fish a chance to "really" see what it's about to eat, but it also acts un-natural goes against what attracted the fish in the first place. While you don't have to aggressively jig the entire time, it still works wonders to keep that little jig quivering.

Another option would be to work a different part of the water column. Sometimes you can get those larger fish to branch away from the pod and rise up to take a bait (or drop down).

And like mentioned, up-sizing can bring home the bacon too...

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I watched Lindner's show last Sunday where they had a segment on late-ice crappie

patterns & movements. One of the things they stressed was to keep the bait

above the pod of fish, allowing the more aggressive fish (which seemed to be the

bigger ones) to come up and take the bait. Also, from what I could tell,

they were constantly jigging too as mentioned here.

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I have had great luck with jigging spoons. Like mentioned earlier it eliminates the little one. Northland Tackle these are my favorite. I will tip the spoon with a waxie. Sometimes you need to put several waxies on or the fish just arn't interested. I will start with large spoons and if i can't get fish then downsize to a ratso or shimpo.

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