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NAIFC panfishing Pro, Tony Boshold, explains when and how to use long rods on the ice for panfish with the main idea being that they are designed for quick hole hopping without a flasher in shallow water.

Boshold’s favorite long rod presentation is a ‘vertizontal’ setup (read more on this presentation here) rigged on his 5’ pole with two-pound fluorocarbon and a vertical moon glow type of jig. The idea with long rodding is that you generally use them in shallow water and don’t have a lot of line out. A reel is still important, however, so that you can allow fish to run with the bait and let out a little more line when need be. As far as cadence with this presentation goes, it’s a simple slow shake alternating with pauses to take the bait down to the desired depth. One of the major benefits of the long rod is that you can quickly turn and shuffle to fish holes across a larger area such as an entire depression or opening in the weeds without having to move a lot of gear or make a lot of noise and ultimately can stay right on top of a shifting school.

Long rodding is very popular in southeast Wisconsin through Illinois and Indiana into Michigan.  Often times, Michigan and Indiana anglers are running long open water rods off of piers because the ice is so poor. It has caught on through tournament fishing as well for improved efficiency when hole hopping.

Boshold’s other go-to long rod is rigged up with a standard horizontal jig that’s much larger and the pole is shorter at 4.5’.  The important thing when working this presentation is to ensure that the hook is hanging straight (here he has it rigged up with a Jumbo Wedgie plastic) and to focus on small movements.

Long rods are essentially designed for quick hole hopping without a flasher. Early on, long rodding anglers would often run barbless jigs so they could just pull the fish out without taking their mitts off and get right back to fishing. If you look at when to use them seasonally, generally the best time for long rodding is first ice in those shallow backwaters and bays where you’re fishing in the weeds no more than 8-10 feet deep. In these situations, you generally won’t be reeling the fish in unless you hook into a larger fish such as a bass and let them run line out.

Long Rod Setup

Boshold has noticed that fixed reels on long rods often lead to a lot of lost fish as the tight drag or lack of one without flipping the reel lock causes fish to break off. Therefore, he will generally pair two-pound hyper copolymer (or 3 or 4 pound; often with fluorocarbon for those clear, shallow water situations) with a plastic Schooley reel.

For more tips on panfishing, check out Tony Boshold’s other pro insights:

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