The midwinter dog days are here with ultra-cold weather, which can mean tougher bites. To help anglers through this period, Northland’s Nick Lindner hooks up with Will Pappenfus, a noted panfish expert and Team Northland pro, and they dissect ways to get on bull bluegills and slab crappies despite midwinter’s challenges. The video walks through some extremely valuable information on determining location, the right presentation, and gear recommendations to get the job done.
In terms of location, Will recommends anglers seek out basins as panfish have largely vacated shallower vegetation in search of emerging larvae out deeper. Depending on whether you’re targeting bluegills or crappies, you’ll need to search out different areas of the basin, all information covered in the video!
Regarding presentations, Will is a big fan of Northland’s Tungsten Punch Fly with a couple spikes or waxworms for reaction bites. He’ll also drop and work a small Northland Rippin’ Shad. The Tungsten Punch Fly is a wickedly effective bait. Invertebrates and suspended zooplankton are the preferred prey of any panfish species, and this jig stands out while fitting in – a lifelike chewy larva hackle impresses caddis and mayfly imposters, while an undulating soft hackle at the head of the jig mimics a breathing and swimming insect.
The Rippin’ Shad is a great reaction bite bait for outsized crappies. Its internally weighted rattle chamber emits sonic vibrations that attract crappies from afar, and its tight wiggling action provides just the right recipe to rip your way to bigger crappies chasing baitfish.
To further help anglers catch more bull ‘gills and slab crappies during the doldrums, Nick and Will also discuss the nuances of how to work these baits, a huge part of the equation.
Lastly, they cover the importance of the right rod setup and line choice, other important factors in the total system.
Looking to catch more big panfish? We have no doubt this video will give you the insight to develop a profitable program of your own!