By early summer, fishing for members of the sunfish family has become reliable and rewarding. Gone are cool water temperatures, periods of non-feeding and brutal weather. Most species of fish have finished spawning and develop a fairly consistent appetite. Summertime sunfish angling is usually limited only by access, weather and water levels.
Species such as rock bass, crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish and bluegill are all very active. Depending on the species desired or personal preference, anglers rely on baits or cast artificial lures to entice fish.
Anglers fishing from shore as well as by boat have much more vegetation to content with. This can be a considerable problem, especially in areas where overhanging tree limbs or brush border productive areas. In small ponds and slow moving creeks with dense vegetation along the banks, fishing kayaks are especially useful.
For species such as sunfish, crappie, perch and other panfish, one favorite technique involves mimicking local food sources that fall from tree branches of shoreline vegetation. Casting small jigs near overhanging limbs will often draw strikes from predators that are lurking underneath, waiting for insects or other prey to land near the surface.
During the low light periods of early morning or late day, surface lures such as poppers, dry flies or other commotion-causing lures often work well. During these times, sunfish and crappie suspend near submerged structures such as fallen trees, stumps or dense cover, waiting to ambush insects and small food sources struggling on the surface.
During mid-day fishing, sunfish and crappie may move into deeper water near drop offs or rocky ledges. Live baits including small minnows, grubs or nightcrawlers are often productive for tempting these deep sulking fish. Live baits can be fished under a bobber or free lined, while paying close attention to line tension.
These summer tactics work in ponds, reservoirs and and slow moving creeks. Until fall arrives, fishing is consistent and action-filled.