Baits that feature a flicker blade as part of their design are outstanding for panfish like perch, bluegills, and crappies. The small blade creates a surprising amount of flash and vibration that attracts fish visually and via their lateral line, which entices fish to chase a bait from quite a distance.
Spinbaits are easy to use. A 6 1/2- to 7-foot medium-light to light-action spinning rod equipped with a slightly oversized spinning reel spooled with 2-, 4-, or 6-pound-test mono allows for long efficient casts. Cast to key spots and use a steady retrieve to get the blade to throb in a natural fashion. Pausing or speeding up your retrieve often also entices strikes. Spinnerbaits work for panfish, but bass, pike, and even walleyes strike them, too. It’s a wonder we don’t use them more than we do.
Mini-Spinnerbaits: Miniature spinnerbaits featuring a fixed arm that positions the blade over the hook of the bait are a good option around weeds and brush.
Jig-Spinnerbaits: (original Beetle Spin style baits) feature a free-swinging wire safety-pin arm attached to the line-tie of a small jig. Although these baits come prerigged with a specific plastic, you can team other soft baits, like tubes, curlytail grubs, straight grubs, shad baits, or tiny twintail frogs, to modify the action of the bait. Low-action plastics like grubs or split-tail baits offer a subtle action compared to high-action soft plastics, like curlytail grubs or shad baits that work well for targeting aggressive and larger panfish.
Jig Spins: Jig-spins feature a swivel and blade positioned below the jighead. They’re a good option around wood and weededges, for fancasting open water, and also vertical jigged. Use a steady constant retrieve as you would a spinnerbait, or a lift-fall retrieve to get the blade working properly.
A Few Modified Spinbaits
Add-On Options: A few companies offer attachment spinner arms and flicker blades that can be added to your favorite panfish jig.
Company Contacts: APEX, 402-494-3009; Bass Pro Shops, www.bassproshops.com; Betts, 919-552-2226; Blakemore, 417-334-5340; Blue Fox, www.bluefox.com; Lindy Little Joe, 218-829-1714; Lunker Lure, 800-842-0582; Mar-Lynn, 816-229-3480; JB Lures, 507-647-5696; Mepps, 715-623-2382; Northland, 218-751-6723; Strike King, 800-467-5873; Terminator, 800-944-4766; Zeta, 334-943-1902.