There isn’t a freshwater fish that won’t eat an insect. The Mayday Mayfly flat out fools them. More times than not, the Mayfly is the big fish bait of the day when targeting pan fish. While live bait may get you more bites, these catch quality and when you get a bite, you won’t need a bobber to tell you so.
I have found this bait to be the best from mid-spring to late summer, when insects are most active and can easily be spotted hovering above the surface of the water. For pan fish especially, larvae and insects make up a good portion of their diet. However, don’t think that this bait isn’t capable of catching other trophy species, as anything that swims will engulf this bait without hesitation. When the bite slows and the fish numbers fade, I pick up the Mayfly to get back on track.
When pitching weed lines and especially brush piles, I pair the plastic with a Bat Jig. This jig is unique in the sense that the hook point is angled down, lowering the chances of snags in weeds and brush, while maintaining an awesome hook up ratio. Another benefit to this mold is the broad range of jig sizes. This mold casts jigs from 1/32oz to 1/4oz. When fishing in wind, down deep, or in current, the bigger sizes are really handy. Concurrently, the smaller sizes are perfect for finesse and lighter applications. When the two are remedied, you can place this ultra-realistic bait nearly anywhere with confidence.
My favorite way to fish this duo is on light spinning gear with 6lb braid to a 4lb leader. For schools or suspended pan fish, I prefer to lighten up my presentation if the conditions allow it, by fishing the 1/32 to 1/16oz sizes. This allows the bait to slowly descend through the crowd of fish and more often than not, you can watch your line jump a foot before the bait hits the bottom. When casting and searching for them or when the conditions call for it, I will switch to the heavier sizes. The heavier sizes are also great for keeping the jig in or over brush when vertical jigging in current or wind. This all-around fish catching combo is something every pan fisherman should have in their book of tricks.