I've never been a huge panfish guy. I typically target the biggest fish available to me, Lake Trout, Pike, Salmon, and Catfish. But with a friendly panfish tournament to prepare for and friends from out of town coming in wanting to target panfish, I decided to give the bluegills a go.
We set out for one of my summer bass lakes, where I have pulled monster gills on bass lures. It is a very shallow lake with a lot of moss cover. I found myself having to drill lots of holes, just to find pockets in between the moss. Once I found some proper areas to fish I set my warriors out for some bonus fish, "Bass and Pike" while I jigged for gills.
I tied up my jigging rod with a chartreuse J&S Glazba jig tipped with some red spikes and started jigging. It didn't take long at all and I was pulling very nice sized gills "9 and 10 inches", 1 after another. Sadly, they were in 3 feet of water, which didn't really allow them any room to put up a fight.
We decided even with the numbers and size being great, even some nice bonus fish, this just wasn't the right lake being so shallow. My next day off from work, we set out to fish a Hills lake that's always produced some very nice Bluegill. Armed with my Glazba jig and my new knowledge to target the moss beds, we lucked out and landed on fish quick here as well.
After a small learning curve on what the trigger was "hard cadence and pause right as they got to it" the panfish game was on! We caught lots of perch out deeper, until I found the moss line in about 8 feet of water. At 8 feet deep, they were excellent fighters on my Dave Genz spring bobber rod. I even managed to get into the bass with a Pinhead Mino, on such a light rod they were an absolute blast!
If you're looking for a lot of activity and just putting fish on the ice, panfish is where it's at. I still have big fish fever, and can't wait to get after the Lake Trout again, but these scrappy little gills earned my respect and I am looking forward to targeting them again many more times in the future.