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updated: 10/17/2012 4:52 PM

Why not share? For panfish, the Mini-Mite is tops

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I haven't met a soul who can explain why some fishing lures are exceptional in creating a feeding frenzy while others do nothing more than scare them away.

I know the drill.

Mavens such as Chuck Thompson contend to have a bagful of criteria for the many lures they drop down on fish, or at least where they believe the fish are supposed to be.

"Supposed to be" is an ambiguous phrase because Thompson believes everything he sees on his Vexilar sonar unit is a video expose.

Like others, the Vexilar is a wonderful tool for both ice fishing and soft-water angling. But that's another story for another week.

Anyway, there are scads of fishermen who happily use nothing more than one lure to do all their serious fishing. Among them are anglers south of the Chicago area who take great pride on using nothing more than a white or chartreuse spinner bait. And to hear them tell the tale after a day on the-water, one would assume all those other pieces of hardware hanging in the tackle shop should be used for earrings.

So, I ask you: What makes fish go ga-ga when a Cubby Mini-Mite comes swimming down to the bottom?

I was close to the Hoffman Estates boundary at a forest preserve pond loaded with chunk-sized crappies and jumbo bluegills. Of course, I cannot share the exact latitude and longitude because Chuck Thompson would send me another crabby e-mail from his dungeon.

I believe Thompson is a Mini-Mite devotee who makes himself completely invisible when ice fishing on Axehead Lake. He not only doesn't want any strangers around him, but he's reluctant to share what kind of lure brought him good fortune.

But enough of Chuck and his ways and means.

I have a spinning rod that I use strictly for panfish and Mini-Mites. The rod is so sensitive, my pal A.J. Paul likes to report that when he uses it he is dialed in to a fish long before it decides to inhale the tiny lure.

I'd like to share some of my secrets with you, especially when it means that you will become a better angler.

I use 4-pound flouracarbon line, from the spinning reel to the jig. There are several good manufacturers who make a good, close-to-invisible flouracarbon line, without any of it kinking up into a coil.

I confess that I also have a magic fish-finder -- a 15-year-old Bottom Line, side-scanning unit called a Fishing Buddy. And when I am shore fishing I'll rig the transducer to a fiberglass pole and scan sideways. Sometimes it works, and other times it's a bust.

But it's the Mini-Mite that's deadly and really does the job. Depending on how aggressive fish happen to be in their feeding habits, I'll use the micro-jig either baitless (with nothing tipped on the hook) or in conjunction with a wax worm, maggot (spike) or even an ultra-small minnow if I can find them in a bait shop.

After a couple dozen crappies and fat bluegills, I promise I will never divulge the location of this treasure trove to Thompson or any of his buds.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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