Hard-To-Beat Hardbaits For Early Ice Panfish

While there are a multitude of different ways to catch panfish on early ice, few methods can compare to using mini hardbaits. The Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe Mini is a great example of a mini hardbait that can lead to fast and furious action with explosive strikes from some of the largest panfish in a given body of water. Large crappies, perch, and bluegills strike the Mini with the veracity of apex predators.
The Lure:
At 1 5/8” and 3/16 oz., the Rattl’N Vibe Mini is a perfect size hardwater panfish lure as it is a little bit bigger than the average crappie minnow, but a little bit smaller than the average fathead minnow. This in-between size makes the Mini an ideal lure choice for enticing some of the bigger fish which may be hesitant to bite out of a respective school.
The numerous color schemes that the Rattl’N Vibe Mini comes in makes it an exceptional choice on any body of water as the variety virtually covers any situation that may be encountered. For example, the metallic patterns (Blue Chrome, Gold Black, and Black Silver) work perfectly for tannic-stained water due to the amount of light and flash that they reflect when jigged. Green Perch, Hot Perch, and Matte Crawfish Minis are all solid choices for clear bodies of water with high visibility due to the naturalistic appearance they have to prey panfish feed upon. Lastly, the Luminescent, Luminescent Perch, and UV Tiger patterns are all great selections during low light periods at the beginning and end of the day due to their glow and UV presence.

The Line:
The new Yo-Zuri ice lines are strong beyond their pound test listed, they are abrasion resistant when fish go on runs and rub the line on the bottom of the ice, and they have a very thin diameter which is paramount for increased sensitivity to feeling the bite. As a general rule of thumb the new Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon or Hybrid Ice lines in 3lb or 4lb test are good bets when using the Mini for panfish at early ice. The 3lb or 4lb test of either line allows for the Rattl’N Vibe Mini to be fished effectively with varied cadences to prompt the rattles within to click, but they also are strong enough lines to hold bass or northern pike when hooked as these predators are often found in the same vicinity as large panfish.
If an early ice fishing trip is on the docket, then stocking up on a variety of Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe Minis and new ice lines is highly recommended to improve your odds of landing some great bull bluegills, slab crappies, and jumbo perch.
Good luck, tight lines, and stay safe!