Fishing the Fall for panfish is arguably one of the best times to catch them. Way too often we see anglers begin to put away their fishing gear and focus in on hunting as other's await the hard water.
Deciding not to take advantage of the fall bite is quite common and in my opinion a miss opportunity. Most anglers begin to get impatient or discouraged too quickly. I would like to share with you some fall tactics for panfish that I use so that maybe it can help you on your water. 

Why Pursue panfish in the fall?

During the fall transition most panfish begin to vacate the weed lines that provided great cover for them in the summer. This makes panfish of all kinds vulnerable and a lot easier to catch. 

During the fall transition panfish begin to go on a hunt and feed more preparing themselves for the winter to come. This time of the year it is not uncommon to get more aggressive strikes.

My last reason to target fall panfish but certainly not the least is the size. When targeting fall panfish you will notice the size both weight and inches that they have put on over the year. If lucky maybe you can even find those legendary panfish that may not have ever been caught. 

Tactics for fall panfish Includes

Throwing a search bait. One of the first tactics that I use rather fishing from a kayak or from the bank (the ground closer to the water) is to throw a search bait. Throwing a search bait such as EuroTackle's B-Vibe a two inch swimbait on a jighead and slowly retrieving the bait back to me. Act's as two purposes the first one being finding the fish. Once you find your target species you can then dial in and try many techniques and tactics you may feel is necessary. The other purpose to throwing a swimbait is to see how active the fish are and what there willing to chase down. I must note that speed of presentation is a key factor. When using thses tactic i prefer to use Piscifun's Carbon X 1000. It is a 5:2:1 gear ratio lightweight and has more than enough drag for panfish. Why I use this spinning reel when searching for panfish it's 5:2:1 gear ratio ensures me that i am not cranking in too much line allowing me to keep the bait right in front of the fishes nose. 


Rather vertically jigging or casting and jigging on the retrieve is another great way to catch panfish. For this approach I use EuroTackle's 1/8oz Z-Viber a two inch lipless crankbait on Acc Crappie Stix 7'6" jigging/casting rod. 

Finesse fishing

When the bite is difficult or slow downsizing is another great approach. I recommend Piscifun's 6'6" ultralight Serpent spinning rod for this. Having a rite rod and reel combination can be very effective as to fun. When using micro lures and baits you want to have a rod that can load up these tiny lures to get the best casting distance as well as sensitivity. 


If your someone who prefers live bait or just want to have multiple options live bait also can be effective. A minnow or double minnow under a slip bobber or fixed float. Nightcrawlers, or bloodworms all great fall panfish baits.


If you're a bank angler or don't have the time to get out on a boat try bridge fishing.
If you have a boat or kayak with a fish finder use your sonar to help locate water depths or bottom structure such as brush pile, deep weed cover or other deep cover structure.


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October 10, 2019 — Ralph Reevey

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