Panfish: Afternoon fishing with a bobber and flies
By Skip Clement
A general comment about a micro-crappie rod is that it is a short spinning rod (6-feet or so) with a quick tip to aid in casting fly fishing flies. It has given bait and lure fishers a new dimension, as well as dedicated fly fishers.
Dedicated bobber-spin fishers end up using so-called flies with metal attachments – small metal propeller-like additions usually, which makes them lures, not flies. The additions aid casting and said to improve attraction?
Nonetheless, the fly fishing aspect has become very popular after a half dozen years of industry promotion. It is cheap to get into it [less than $100] and fun. It can be enjoyed without the rigors of hike in or wading in current and without any problematic back-casting situations to compromise fishing. That is, of course, assuming a local lake or pond that has a self sustained population or an easily accessed riverine coordinate nearby with its sustained stocks of bass and trout as well as panfishes.
The reality is that flies are better attractors in more situations than previously thought, particularly with fish species like trout and panfish.
Is it fly fishing? Not really, but who cares
To make the micro-crappie setup work as a so-called fly fishing option, ‘weight’ must be added to replace the weight provided by a fly line used in all conventional fly rod setups. The fly, with an attached rotating metallic addition and other such additions, aborts the intended ‘fly’ purpose [for purists] because it is a lure cast with a spinning rod. Nothing is going on there worth commenting on about fly fishing.
With a true micro-crappie and fly setup, a weight, as mentioned before, needs to be added to allow casting, or you’re in for a day of casting misery. Without weight the angler is unable to feel anything other than your arm being flung forward, resistance and the air around you. A fly is generally too light to help cast micro-crappie rods.
Weightless casting difficulties
More than a few releases [casts] hit the water hard left and right – barely a few yards away. A cast too high gets wind depressed collapsing into a pile of line or forwarded by the good luck of wind-aided launch and a respectable presentation, but only a first down distance, maybe. I was not using the ‘bobber water bubble.’
Fishing, now it’s familiar jigging, the best technique for panfish
Assuming you’re in panfish territory, the fly has to reach a destination where the panfish have gathered or can be tempted to surface with a popper—a seasonal and species experience.
Finding structure is always the most important, and reaching the right water column is always the intention. Swimming the fly is best jigged erratically and measured in inches, not feet. When jigging its in inches and slightly above where the fish are holding.
If the panfish are gathered in 8-feet of water, try short jigging temptations at 7-feet
Sometimes, a fish immediately strikes when the ‘fly’ hits the water. The feeling is always remarkable; wow, this little bugger feels like a 10-pounder – the 1-pounder earned respect. Micro is a lot of fun.
Let’s make this thing work!
When fly fishing with a micro-crappie rod, a bobber (weight) is a must weight addition for casting. With a fly or flies, choices could be many, but a bobber seems the easiest if not the best. Bobbers have been around for a long, long time. The image above of these typical bobbers should bring back memories.
Currently, the most popular addition to ‘bobbers’ is using a ‘water bubble.’ There are several. They are all inexpensive (Walmart, big box stores, online). A useful one comes in a three-pack of large, medium, and small.
- 2-4 panfish per person
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 + 0.5 tablespoons Cajun spice blend
- Vegetable oil
- Lemon wedges, snipped chives, and Louisiana style hot sauce to serve