If you’re looking to get “back to the basics,” or if you’re in search of just plain fun, and enjoy eating fish, visit your favorite panfish lake soon. Concentrate on weed lines and bottom cover such as flooded timber or brush piles.
Although bluegills and sunfish have many of the same habits as their tasty cousins, the perch and crappie, each of these species has different feeding habits. The successful panfisherman pays careful attention to these subtle differences. Spinner fishing for bluegills and sunfish can provide furious action all year long. These fish love light line (2-4 pound test) and small Mepps. Cast to the weed line with a #0 or #1 Mepps Aglia, Aglia Long or Thunder Bug. If you’re an ultra lite enthusiast, the Mepps #00’s with hackle dressed trebles or single hook wooly worms are deadly on all panfish.
On overcast days, try working the weed line with a #0 Black Fury, single hook Spin Fly, or #0 XD. All of these lures are irresistible to hungry panfish. If fishing success changes because the school of gills moves, stay close by. Panfish are homebodies and seldom move great distances in any direction. So, look for a likely hot spot just a short distance away.
While perch thrive in Great Lakes waters, they are also abundant in small, cool, clear water lakes as far south as Missouri. Their flesh is pure white and slightly sweet. Perch will nail a small spinner with a vengeance. Try #0 or #00 ultra lite Mepps Aglia Longs or Aglia Long Spin Flies to reach schooling perch. In the winter, a #00 hot firetiger or glo pink Mepps Syclops jigged through the ice can produce a pailful of perch in no time at all.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the Mepps Mino. These Mepps Minos, in sizes #00, #0 & #1 are consistent producers.
Mepps spinners have always been a favorite lure of crappie anglers. Crappies have a large delicate mouth, but spinners up to a size #3 can be used, many times very successfully, for big slabsides. A #1 Aglia Streamer or a #2 Mepps Mino worked through submerged trees or pilings is dynamite. Black Furys, Thunder Bugs and single hook Aglias, up to size #3, are also excellent choices. If you’re a finesse fisherman, you’ll want to try a #0 Mepps Spin Fly. These little single hook spinners are perfect for fishing over submerged weeds or grasses.
Vertical jigging is a great way to consistently take big crappie. Anchor your boat upwind and slightly to one side of your target area. Work a #00 or #0 Bantam Syclops, or a 1/8 oz. SpinFlex vertically by holding your rod tip low to the water. Shake the rod from side to side lightly with an occasional short upward flip to get the right action. This is very effective when you’re fishing areas with lots of snags and big crappies.
Remember, you can get the best Mepps for panfishing in Mepps Panfisher Kits, Pocket Pacs or Spinner Paks. There’s even a Mepps Ultra Lite Kit available for lite line enthusiasts. And, don’t forget the Mepps Crappie Kit; it has six proven Mepps to nail ol’ slabside. These “programmed” Mepps kits, hand-picked by the Mepps Pros, contain a selection of proven Mepps lures that take the guesswork out of selecting the right lure for the job.