Panfishing Tips for Ice Anglers
from The Fishing Wire
Horizontal vs. vertical jigs and the underwater footage to prove our pointA Custom JIgs & Spins ‘Gill Pill jousts soft plastic Noodels to create a delicious horizontal-hung spider from Mars.
Pick a panfish jig. But not just any panfish jig. You want one that quivers like crappie candy; moves like bluegill food. Color matters, too. Ditto for body shape, profile, texture and, sometimes, taste.
Still, it’s possible to choose wisely, while continually overlooking one very critical characteristic. Some folks call it angle of the dangle. For specialists like Panfish “Phil” Laube, it’s about hook positioning, bluegill bite mechanics, or the way a crappie crushes a jig. When to present a bait perpendicular versus parallel? When to offer a hook angle that’s obtuse, as opposed to acute (remember Geometry 101?)
Turns out, paying attention in math class really did matter. For in the real world of lure selection, the difference between bites and actual hooksets boils down to one critical choice: When to go vertical and when to hang horizontal.
Offering an optimized hook angle, the tournament-proven Chekai Tungsten Ice Jig fishes fast and active. It’s the perfect jig for pairing with plastics, particularly a Custom Jigs & Spins Wedgee plastic, or even a writhing mass of live larvae. Either way, the Chekai’s jighook is ultra sharp, with plenty of extra gap to set itself sweetly and securely in a panfish’s lip. Fishing precisely horizontal, the hook itself “tips down” slightly, a fine-tuned detail that assures the hook always finds home.The Custom Jigs & Spins tungsten Chekai fishes fast and horizontally, and with its freakishly sharp, wide and unturned hook, sticks fish with amazing precision and consitency.
Assuming a similar underwater posture, the Diamond Jig fishes small, yet heavy for its compact size. Perfect for presenting live bait or plastics, this gem jig also sports a sweet little extra enticement—a bejeweled attractor bead at the base of the head. The Diamond Jig’s needle-sharp hook is offset at an ideal 45-degrees for ultimate hook-setting success (see, Geometry does matter.)
To turn the tables on panfish in shallow vegetation or other valuable vertical scenarios, Custom Jigs & Spins’ VertiGlo Demon remains a classic tactic. Finished with a chip-resistant, long-lasting glow paint, this perpendicular panfish jig maintains an upright posture at all times. Yet the hookpoint stands out at 90-degrees from the body—again, the optimal angle for vertical jig tricks.Adding extra polish to each of these optimized jigs, the Wedgee plastic looks, feels and swims like a living thing. Poured with a super-fine, tapered body shape, this sweet little softbait is the ultimate ice-fishing inducement. The Wedgee’s super versatile, too. Fish the 1.75-inch plastic whole. Trim the head and thread it onto a jighook. Present it wacky-style, t-boned onto a Demon Jig for a lethal “vertizontal” posture. No matter what you do, the Wedgee’s tail just keeps on quivering. Try to stop it. Can’t be done. Also unlike live bait, it never dies.
We’re not suggesting you go back to school. Nor to revisit Geometry 101. Thankfully, the fishing folks at Custom Jigs & Spins have already aced the final exam, gifting anglers with A+ ice jigs that attract, trigger and most importantly, hook every fish that bites.
Custom Jigs & Spins started almost 30 years ago producing high quality ice fishing lures.