4 Best Rod Setups for Ice Fishing Panfish


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Ice fishing for panfish like crappies, bluegill, and perch requires tackle that lies at the extreme side of the “finesse” spectrum. Professional guide, Tony Roach, walks through 4 of his top rod setups that match the ideal power and action to the chosen presentation, usually small jigs, spoons, and lipless crankbaits that range between 1/16- to 1/64th-ounce offerings.

A balanced setup requires that the line and rod power and action be matched to the weight of the bait. For example, a tiny 1/64th-ounce jig fishes best when using a 1- to 2-pound line. The rod tip needs to load ever so slightly under the bait’s weight to detect bites — in this scenario, a tiny bit of downward pressure (the take) moves the rod tip. Similarly, a lift bite removes pressure and straightens the rod tip indicating the take.

The ideal rod translates seamlessly from a bite detection tool to a stiffer midsection that drives hooks home. Simultaneously, the backbone provides lifting power for controlling big panfish and the common bonus predator fish like bass, walleye, and pike.

• St. Croix Custom Ice Rod “Pan Finesse”: https://wired2.fish/StCroixCustomIceRods-FU
• VMC Tungsten Tubby Jig, 1/64-ounce: https://wired2.fish/VMC-TubbyJigs
• Sufix Advance Ice Mono, 2- to 3-pound: https://wired2.fish/SufixAdvanceIceMono-RA
• St. Croix Custom Ice Rod “Tungsten Tamer”: https://wired2.fish/StCroixCustomIceRods-FU
• Sufix Inviline Ice Fluorocarbon, 3- to 4-pound: https://wired2.fish/Sufix-Ice-Fluoro
• VMC Tungsten Mustache Jig, 1/32-ounce: http://wired2.fish/VMC-MustacheJig
• St. Croix Custom Ice Rod “Pan Dancer”: https://wired2.fish/StCroixCustomIceRods-FU
• Sufix Advance Ice Monofilament, 3- to 4-pound: https://wired2.fish/SufixAdvanceIceMono-RA
• VMC Tungsten Probe Jig, 1/16-ounce: https://wired2.fish/VMC-TungstenProbeJig
• St. Croix Custom Ice Rod “Perch Seeker”: https://wired2.fish/StCroixCustomIceRods-FU
• Sufix Invisiline Ice Fluorocarbon, 4- to 5-pound: https://wired2.fish/Sufix-Ice-Fluoro
• VMC Flash Champ Spoon, 1/32-ounce: https://wired2.fish/FlashChampSpoon
• Rapala Jigging Rap, sizes 2 & 3 (1/8 and 3/16-ounce respectively): https://wired2.fish/FU-RapalaJiggingRap
• Rapala Ultra Light Rippin Rap: https://wired2.fish/UltraLightRippinRap

• StrikeMaster Lithium 24v Lite-Flite Lazer Ice Auger: https://wired2.fish/StrikeMaster24v
• StrikeMaster Pro Bibs: https://wired2.fish/StrikeMasterProBibs
• StrikeMaster Pro Jacket: https://wired2.fish/StrikeMasterProJacket
• Rapala Trucker Cap – Left Logo: http://wired2.fish/RapalaTruckerCap-LeftLogo-RAP
• Rapala Jig Box: https://wired2.fish/RapalaJigBox
• StrikeMaster Bait Puck: https://wired2.fish/StrikeMasterBaitPuck

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