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Most sport fishermen started their "careers" catching panfish. Who can forget the fist nibbles on the worm, and finally hooking one that didn't steal your bait? Panfish are a great way to initiate children into fishing, because they are so abundant and are always willing to hit most bait thrown at them. Furthermore, younger kids love to catch more fish, regardless of size, numbers are a lot more impressive to them. My kids can spend entire days fishing "under the dock" or along shorelines. Panfish usually include most species that don't usually grow over 8 inches, such as bluegill / pumpkinseed sunfish, and also small perch, baby bass, and fallfish. Every fish brings another smile, when they excitedly scream "caught one"!
Techniques: Panfish are the simplest fish to catch on most days, especially between May - September in Quebec and Ontario. Most species are in less than 3 feet of water, and tend to school under docks or logs along the shoreline, or in weed, lily pad or rock structure. Use the smallest hooks possible, along with light sinkers, to ensure that panfish don't steal the bait without getting hooked, this will usually frustrate kids. Keep a large bucket on hand, so kids can watch fish swim around before releasing them. Make sure to release the previous fish, so as to rotate the catch, and keep changing the water so they stay well oxygenated and alive.