4 Best Rod Setups for Ice Fishing Panfish

The product recommendations on our site are independently chosen by our editors. When you click through our links, we may earn a commission. 

Ice fishing for panfish like crappies, bluegills, and perch requires tackle that lies at the extreme side of the “finesse” spectrum. Professional guide, Tony Roach, walks through 4 of his top rod setups that match the ideal power and action to the chosen presentation — usually small jigs, spoons, and lipless crankbaits that range between 1/16- to 1/64th-ounce.

A balanced setup requires that the line and rod power and action be matched to the weight of the bait. For example, a tiny 1/64th-ounce jig fishes best when using a 1- to 2-pound line. The rod tip needs to load ever so slightly under the bait’s weight to detect bites — in this scenario, a tiny bit of downward pressure (the take) moves the rod tip. Similarly, a lift bite (fish bites the bait and swims up) removes pressure and straightens the rod tip indicating the take.

The ideal rod translates seamlessly from a bite detection tool to a stiffer midsection that drives hooks home. Simultaneously, the backbone provides lifting power for controlling big panfish and the common bonus predator fish like bass, walleye, and pike.



Also, check out our ice fishing rods buyer’s guide.