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Whether targeted for fun or for the table, panfish please most anglers– especially lunker crappies and hand-sized bull bluegills. Fall is a great time to catch them, but with variables like changing vegetation, cooling weather, turnover, and fall bait migrations, how do you crack the code for consistent success?

We asked four of the nation’s top panfish specialists five questions about fall crappie and bluegill fishing. Their answers will help anyone become a more successful fall panfish angler.

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The swimbait is a lure type that has gone from trophy hunting bass anglers to something used for many different species, including walleye. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be fished all year long, making them some of the most versatile lures used today.

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New Tackle for 2022

Everyone is throwing bladed jigs these days so sometimes you need to give the fish a different look and sound.

The downsized Chatterbait MiniMax has a downscaled hex-blade and other componentry, but it has the punch to handle big, tough smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass.

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Featured Videos

KVD: How to Manage Fall Turnover on Northern Lakes Kevin VanDam: Clear Water Spinnerbait Tactics
KVD: How to Manage Fall Turnover on Northern Lakes Kevin VanDam: Clear Water Spinnerbait Tactics
KVD: How to Trick Those Fall Cruisers Zona: Which Docks are Best?
KVD: How to Trick Those Fall Cruisers Zona: Which Docks are Best?
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Monitor fishing and hunting news from the Michigan DNR, Indiana DNR and national sources. If it's happening in the outdoors, you can read it here.

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By Louie Stout

Andy Buss considers himself lucky to have been able to compete – and get a check - in the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Erie after being caught in a dangerous storm.

Andy Buss considers himself lucky to have been able to compete – and get a check - in the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Erie after being caught in a dangerous storm.

When Andy Buss launches his bass boat on big water this spring, you can bet he’s going to be a little more watchful of the weather.

That’s what a near-death experience will do to you.

He’ll remember Sept. 19, 2015, the day he and partner Josh Stalcup shrugged off Lake Erie’s shaky weather forecasts and darkening clouds to focus on catching fish.

Buss, of North Liberty, and Stalcup, of Mishawaka, were practicing that day for a Bassmaster Northern Open bass tournament at Sandusky Bay.

“There were strong winds forecast, but it wasn’t too bad when we launched so we ran to Pelee Island 20 some miles out,” recalled Buss, a teacher at Ulrey Middle School in Walkerton. “My plan was to head back to Sandusky when the wind came up.”

They fished around Pelee for a couple of hours with minimal success and then ran to a rocky shoal about 5 miles northeast of the island.

Once they started fishing, Buss noticed rain clouds coming out of the west, but figured a little rain wouldn’t hurt. The waves were only 2 to 3 feet high, nothing he hadn’t battled before in his 20-foot Nitro Z-8 bass rig.

And then the storm hit like a hurricane. A wall of torrential rain battered them unmercifully and those 3 footers turned to 8 footers.

“We had to try to get back to Peelee,” he said. “I knew we were in trouble.”


By Louie Stout

VanDam discusses lure colors.

The hint of spring has a lot of us thinking about open water fishing even if it’s still February.

There’s nothing like preparing early, which includes restocking the tackle boxes with those new baits that we just KNOW are going to produce big fish this coming season.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a river steelhead fisherman, a big lake troller, panfish angler or nutty bass fisherman, we all have a fascination for new ways to trick fish into biting.

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