strike king slab hammer crappie crank

Using Crankbaits To Catch Trophy Panfish

Whether you’re talking about hunting, or fishing for any species, there’s always a distinct subset of the population pursuing them that is dedicated to trophy hunting. Bow hunters routinely pass up good bucks each season on their quest for a trophy – and subsets of bass, walleye, and musky anglers are equally dedicated to quality over quantity. The same things applies to anglers in search of that trophy panfish.

There are thousands out there that love to catch panfish – but strictly target giant, trophy panfish, and they’re no different than the rest.


The sight of a 2 pound bluegill, an 18 inch long crappie, or a jumbo perch the size of your forearm may not get you motivated, but it’s what these trophy panfish hunters live and breathe.

And one of the baits they rely on more than you may expect is the crankbait.

trophy panfish

Often forgotten by panfish anglers, crankbaits like the Vicious Fishing VCP Series Crankbaits do an amazing job of emulating fleeing prey-fish, which is what most trophy panfish feed on. Although little bluegill and crappie may feed primarily on small aquatic organisms, once they get to gargantuan size – they begin to look for meals with more substance to them.

That’s the reason that many monster trophy panfish each year are caught by anglers actually fishing for gamefish.

Ideal cranks for panfish include the Vicious VCP series of diminutive cranks, and the Strike King Slab Hammer crankbaits. They offer all the action of a bigger crank, but in a package perfectly sized for trophy gills, crappies, and perch.

luckycraft gengoal

You can even try a downsized crank to imitate the bugs and other forage trophy panfish would be snacking on in their natural environments. A small beetle shaped bait like the Lucky Craft Gengoal would work perfectly around cover and other places these beetles may have fallen into the water in the past, where trophy panfish would gladly snack on them.

Next time you’re out panfishing, try on a mini-crankbait, and give it a few tosses – you may be rewarded by a true trophy!

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