12 Best Panfish Lures for Anglers Just Starting Out

These are some of our favorite panfish lures on the market today.

Panfish are popular among anglers for being excellent table fare. Whether it's bluegill, crappie, sunfish or perch, these fish are often associated with live bait fishing techniques like minnows or nightcrawlers.

But artificial lures can be just as effective as bait, which is why you should keep some panfish lures in your tackle box.

There is a wide variety of offerings when it comes to panfish lures, which comprises many lures that a bass might take a stab at, too. However, the key to picking out the best panfish lures is looking for something small that mimics a bait they would actually eat.

As you'll see by looking through the list below, the top options typically include smaller crawfish presentations, jigs, swimbaits, and spinners.

Here are 12 panfish fishing lures that are worthy of your hard-earned money.

Rebel Crawfish

I have used the Rebel Crawfish lure for years for a variety of species. It's a great bass fishing lure, but I've also boated plenty of panfish by mistake with this one.

Personally, I like the floating version of the lure in a natural stream crawfish color. It's one of the most lifelike crankbaits on the market today and the wobbling action can't be beat. For panfish, the smaller sizes are a good option to put loads of fish in the boat wherever panfish feed on crayfish, which translates to a LOT of American water bodies.

Road Runner Curly Tail

You can't go wrong with a classic like the Road Runner Curly Tail. The lure combines the action of a jig with the curly plastic of a grub body and the flashiness of a spinner blade.

It's all a combination fish like bluegills and crappie find hard to resist. Try these either on their own or under a float for deadly results.

Johnson Beetle Bou Marabou Crappie Jig

Don't let the fact this is labeled as a crappie jig fool you. The Beetle Bou will work on just about any species of panfish or bream.

This is an incredibly simple lure: it's a jig head and a soft plastic bait body with bucktail. What you see is what you get, and they just work. Try these under a float or bobber in the spring for some truly massive slabs.

Strike King Mr. Crappie Spin Baby

We've always liked Strike King spinnerbaits. They're a go-to when everything else has failed. I even caught a yellow perch on a Strike King spinnerbait this summer. And the company makes a whole line of spinnerbaits just for crappie.

But you can easily catch other species on the Strike King Mr. Crappie Spin Baby. These baits do a great job imitating a small shad or other baitfish and big slabs just can't resist.

Blue Fox Classic Vibrax

Sometimes simplicity is best. That's what you get with this Blue Fox spinner. It doesn't have any fancy bells or whistles, but you don't need them for panfish.

This lure will quite literally catch a little bit of everything. The smaller sizes are dynamite for bluegill, perch and crappies.

Mepps Comet Mino

This is my dad's favorite fishing lure of all time. The reason is because the Mepps Comet Mino will help bail you out when others have failed.

Use the smaller sizes to catch crappie when all else fails. Just be warned, when they say the Comet catches everything, they aren't kidding. I've used this to boat northern pike many times in the past.

Storm WildEye Swim Shad

This is marketed as more of a bass, walleye and pike lure, but the Storm WildEye Swim Shad will also catch giant crappies.

We like the look of the shiner chartreuse silver and natural shad as two great-looking colors that will help produce panfish in the smaller sizes of this lure.

Johnson Original Beetlespin

This is easily my dad's second favorite fishing lure ever. You never know what you're going get when you throw a Beetlespin.

This year we caught giant slab hybrid bluegills and yellow perch on Beetlespins from our local lake. Try the fluorescent orange craw and black/chartreuse/orange colors. We've found these colors combined with the split grub tail look a lot like a young crawfish to many panfish.

Rebel Crickhopper

This is a lure I didn't discover until recently and I was left wishing I'd tried it years earlier. The Crickhopper is another shallow-running crankbait from Rebel that has great action. It's hard for any fish to resist, especially in rivers and streams.

The smallest versions of this have some insanely small treble hooks that help ensure more hook-ups.

Rapala Ultra Light Crankbait

Sure, Rapala is better know for stuff that catches giant bass, walleye and pike, but they do make some nice smaller lures that you can use on smaller species. The Ultra Light Crankbait is one of those.

This is a great crappie or hybrid bluegill bass lure with tight wobbling action and a great finish no matter the color. They're pricey for a panfish lure, but you're sure to get your money's worth.

VMC Flap Tail Jig

There are ton of options out there for panfishing jigs. The Flap Tail is a simple design, but one that gets eaten a lot. That's the great thing about panfish, they're relatively easy to fool.

This jig, along with a little fishing attractant scent, will make a great addition to your panfish fishing tackle.

Northland Puppet Minnow

If you've never tried a jigging minnow before, you're missing out. The Northland Puppet Minnow can be deadly when fish are suspended or while ice fishing in the winter. It's a strange-looking lure for sure, but it's one that works well when the fishing gets tough.

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