Angling for panfish is a great place to start for beginner fishers. Stories of fish that weigh 30 pounds plus may sound exciting, but the actual experience can quickly become depressing. Beginner anglers are often ill-prepared for game at that level. It often requires a certain level of prowess, patience, and knowledge that is beyond them. Starting out by hunting panfish is not only good for self-esteem, it often means less demands in terms of fishing gear. Here’s a rundown of the basic equipment you’ll need to get started.


Fishing Rod

Panfish are relatively small. By definition, any species of fish that is small enough to fit in a pan is considered panfish. For this reason, you don’t have to go all out in terms of the fishing rod. You want to aim for a light action fishing rod. Any more than this would be overkill. You may decide to get heavier duty rods if you see yourself fishing for bigger catch in other areas, but if that’s not the case heavy rods are unnecessary. In terms of length, you won’t need more than 6 feet.


Fishing Line

As with all fishing tools, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to fishing lines. If you were looking to catch bigger fish, tougher and heavier lines would be the way to go. In this case, however, light monofilament lines will do. These are fishing lines that are made using a single strand of material – as opposed to a combination or braiding of multiple strands. Typically, 2-6 pound lines will suffice. A lighter line means it is harder to see underwater, decreasing your chances of scaring off the fish.



Since you’ll typically be dealing with small fish, you want to make sure that the hook you pick is of the right size. Stick with sizes 6-10. Mind the thickness of the hooks as well. If you will be using smaller bait and lures, you will want to use thin wire hooks.


Lures and Bait

As far as bait is concerned, even experienced anglers will tell you that you can’t go wrong with minnows. The trick lies in keeping the minnows active as that’s what attracts panfish the most. You will want to invest in a properly aerated container in which you’ll keep the minnows. That way you can ensure they’re fresh and lively up until the time you hook them to your line. Should you opt for lures instead, pick ones that work well with the color of your jig and can still attract fish in low light.


Split Shot Weight

You want to attach a small weight above your lure to keep it sunk at the appropriate depth. Keep in mind that the distance between the weight and your lure will affect the lure’s behavior. The closer you place your shot to the lure, the faster the lure will sink. If you keep the shot evenly spread between your float and the lure, the lure descends slower.



Presentation matters. Pick out a color that is easily seen in low light. A slip bobber will give you the advantage of being able to adjust the depth of your lure without making casting more difficult. In addition to that, slip bobbers make is a little easier to detect a bite.


Tackle Bag

If you’re going to be angling, you might as well look the part. Aside from hip waders, nothing says fisherman like a good tackle bag. Bags aren’t your only tool storage option. You can get pretty decent tackle boxes, or backpacks that will do the job.


Panfishing is relatively simple both in terms of finding fish and the equipment you’ll need to going. We hope that our simple guidelines help you in selecting proper tackle for panfishing.