Catching Bluegills and Crappies Using Power and Finesse Tactics

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Fishing for panfish like crappies and bluegills is undergoing a resurgence and refinement of tactics. Wired2fish’s Kyle Peterson takes on the challenge of finding and catching magnum bluegills. Peterson uses a 2-pronged approach of using power tactics to locate panfish and finesse tactics (drop shot rig) to catch more fish..

FEATURED TACKLE (retail links)
TOPWATER SETUP
DROP SHOT SETUP
TOOLS

POWER AND FINESSE 2-PRONGED STRATEGY

Peterson starts his day rigging a small popper and a drop shot rig. His goal is to explore the shoreline visually, using his popping bait to locate fish-holding areas. Few baits open the strike window and draw fish from cover like a topwater, as evidenced by his crappie, bluegill, and bass catches. He then pivots to a drop shot and leech combo to fish each spot more thoroughly.

TECHNIQUES AND TACTICS

While the popper is effective for catching a few fish, its real strength is revealing the presence of the target species. While the drop shot rig is known chiefly as a finesse presentation for bass and walleyes, it also excels for crappies and bluegills. A drop shot is the king of efficiency. It’s easy to cast, sinks rapidly to the bottom, presents live bait naturally, and keeps the bait in open sight off the bottom.

BOAT SETUP 

Like any trophy fishery, quality bluegill fishing results from a conservation mindset. Peterson follows Minnesota’s Quality Sunfish Initiative to sustain the population and prevent stunting. While catching smaller bluegills may be easy, big bull bluegills are smart. Try Peterson’s effective 1-2 punch the next time you’re fishing a lake with quality panfish. You’re likely to locate productive spots faster and catch bluegills and crappies with more consistency.