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Tony Puccio - Panfishing for Family Fun
There are few moments in the outdoor world more gratifying than helping a child catch that first fish. Even the most cantankerous
tournament fishermen seem to manage a smile when they watch a youngster showing off that first catch. Most every adult angler can
recall participating in an enjoyable family fishing outing, While the fish were likely small, the memories are worth much more
than any trophy on the wall. Unfortunately, the busy lifestyle of today's family doesn't permit enough of these treasured moments.
Still, this doesn't mean we should forget about fishing.
While it might require setting aside a planned weekend project, we all need to make time to take our families fishing - if only a
few times each year.
Forget all the high-tech stuff for these family fishing trips. A boat is not necessary. All that's needed is a minimum of tackle
and a supply of bait. Farm ponds, park district lakes or any nearby fishing hole will suffice for these outings. When young
children are involved, it is best to limit the trip to only a few hours. Even when the fishing is good, a young child has a
way of quickly losing interest.
Panfish are undoubtedly the best target when planning these fishing trips. While they can sometimes be a bit finicky, I've never
met a bluegill that wasn't hungry.
Bluegill, redear and other types of panfish are always willing to take a piece of worm, mealworm, cricket or any of the many types
of panfish delicacies. The real trick is finding the fish.
During the spring and summer months, panfish are generally found in reasonably shallow water. The best areas are close to deeper
water like creek channels. Some type of cover like rocks, rip rap, submerged stumps or blow downs are ideal panfish hangouts.
Sure, the kids are likely to hang up in the brush or rocks, but that is part of fishing. While it is easier to set up shop along
a completely clean stretch of water, the fish probably are not there.
Leave the baitcasting and spinning gear at home. It is always best to keep the tackle simple. A simple spincast reel like a
Mitchell SC200 and a 5- 5 1/2 foot light or ultra-light rod or an inexpensive cane pole will suffice. As a youngster, I can
still recall catching countless fish using nothing more than a long cane pole, a piece of monofilament line, a tiny hook
and a piece of worm.
Six to eight-pound monofilament line Berkley Trilene XT is ideal when fishing for panfish. The remainder of the fishing
arsenal should include a supply of small split shot sinkers, a handful of #8 - #IO Aberdeen style hooks and a couple of tiny bobbers.
Set the bobber so that the hook is floating only a few inches off the bottom. The rest is up to the fish.
Generally the bite will come within a minute or two. If nothing happens within five minutes, it's time to pull up stakes and
try another location.
Panfish usually congregate in groups or schools. Once you catch one, you can just about bet that more are in the area. All
the activity of playing and landing a panfish might temporarily spook the remainder of the school. Within a few minutes,
however, the remainder of the fish will usually return to the area.
The real key to a fun outing is to keep the experience lighthearted. While it is nice to catch a stringer of fish, the
important thing is for everyone to return home with a limit of smiles.
And, there is one more important item to bring along. Be sure to pack a camera to record these special moments.
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Serious Walleye Guide Service:
6555 Hwy. M
Verona , WI 53593
Phone: (608) 845-5410
Cell: (608) 212-6464
Host of Outdoor Horizons on 1670-WTDY, Saturday's 8:00am-8:30am