Jeff’s Jigs and Flies-- Rainbow Zoo Bug, and J and S Custom Jigs--red glow VersaMite (back half), the first duo I sunk into an unknown pan fish polluted brush pile on the Mississippi backwaters. Up through the emerging brush came a big bluegill who was anything but shy of this natural like zooplankton and micro plastic. With one flare of the gills it was game on, and up came this Mississippi beauty.
It didn’t take long for these tungsten ice flies to find their way into my “go to” jig box. Jeff Wenger, owner of Jeff’s Jigs and Flies makes several remarkable style ice flies. The Copepod, zooplankton (zoo-bug), and the shrimp paired with a micro IceMite Jr. Each with their own prepossessing characteristics awaiting the arrival of a big pan fish.
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My 2nd panfish adventure for the year would bring fellow friend and micro plastic creator Jeremy Lustila and I to Northern Wisconsin in search of big panfish. A lake where big panfish roam the basin, and setting up a checkpoint on their highway will prove you to be successful.
After drilling an array of holes in a basin area adjacent to a weed hump, I dropped down my green zoo-bug with a glow red VersaMite a couple feet from the bottom. With about 4 or 5 short “rips” with my rod, out from the muck bottom came a big mark on my flasher screen ( one that would get any of us excited) after bringing my short “rips” to a finesse quiver, this unknowingly mark inhaled my zoo-bug. A quick hook set that loads your rod and doesn’t give. After a few short runs this fish was now at the bottom of the ice and up came this massive bluegill. Both of us filled with adrenaline in hopes we land more fish like that the rest of our trip.
Throughout our two day trip we managed to bring several bull bluegills topside, along with a few big crappie. Many of these fish pulling themselves from the muck intrigued with the ice flies and micro plastics we had for offering. They didn’t have to think twice about these life like creations, and hooks were being set. The small hairs on these flies quiver when in the water, so not only does the fish see the finesse movement of the micro plastics, but also the temptation coming from the hairs vibrating in front of them. These baits do an outstanding job mimicking what these panfish actually eat on a daily basis.
It’s safe to say I won’t go on another ice adventure without my Jeff’s Jig’s and Flies.