Shallow, fast-warming bays, coves and canals are popular places to pursue spring panfish, and for good reason. They produce fish. But the last vestiges of last year’s reeds and cattails can also hold big numbers of crappies and sunfish.
Old reeds and cattail stalks needn’t be in a protected bay to attract fish, either. Old weedbeds soaking up the sun along sheltered shores can be just as good, as can floating bogs.
Sometimes you’ll also find panfish around the remnants of coontail and cabbage beds. Clumps of weeds rolled up by ice and strong winds, and deposited along slow-dropping points outside prime bays can be overlooked panfish magnets.
You can fish all of these areas with a variety of tactics, but one of the deadliest is a round-head jig tipped with a flat-tailed, soft-plastic grub body.
Lindy’s Watsit Jig fits the bill perfectly. Weights of 1/16-ounce are usually fine in most spring shallows, but you can go heavier or lighter as needed, and add a small Thill float when necessary for added casting distance or to suspend the jig above bottom.
Cast just past your intended target. After splashdown, swim the jig down to the top of a weed clump or stalk. Let it land and settle for a few seconds, then quiver it in place before popping it free by lightly snapping the rodtip six inches to a foot.
Done correctly, the snapping motion will cause the jig to rise briefly as it jumps free. Crappies, in particular, often inhale the bait once it begins its descent.