From tungsten jigs to tube jigs and plastics: pre-ice fishing, soft-water sunfish tactics

Terry TumaIn late October or early November, shallow flats, shallow bays, and docks can hold some sunfish and bluegills. As the season progresses, the deep-water dropoffs are good, as well as inside turns and weedlines, and deep bays.

My top late fall sunfish lures include jigs, which are very productive – like tube jigs, jigs with plastics, pieces of crawler, and Power Baits. For a tougher bait, use waxworms. This is a time when tungsten jigs are good. They fall quicker, and work well tipped with waxworms, one or two.

Several companies are marketing tungsten jigs for ice anglers now. We’re going to see a lot of tungsten for the ice fishing season, but I’m using them now during late open-water period. This is not an ice-fishing lure only!

Anglers at seminars often ask me, “What do you do when you’re fighting off schools of tiny bluegills?” My answer is this: First, I go deeper. Just because you’re catching small ones, doesn’t mean big ones don’t exist, but they will be in deeper water – even up to 30 feet. Still can’t shake them? Try a new location.

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