Seriously though, they are the most versatile lure out there. Pretty much every species of fish will take a jig if used or tipped properly. Contact Greg at Huskerland for some very nice high quality, handmade jigs. You won't regret it. For the species you will likely be targeting, bluegill, crappie, bass, etc., I would go with 1/32, 1/16, and 1/8 size jigs. If you use too large of a hook, those smaller fish will just steal your bait all day long. Generally, you can get away with tipping any of those sizes, though smaller generally works best, with a crawler or wiggler, and jig it at varying depths until you find the fish. Slip bobbers are awesome if you've never used them. Allows you to jig without your bait/lure hitting the bottom (if you don't want it to hit the bottom...snags, weeds, etc.).
Another easy lure to use for bass are spinnerbaits or buzzbaits. Simply cast and retrieve. Varying speeds depending on how deep you find the fish, etc., but your daughter will probably love this, especially if you find a "new" lake like we talked about that has bass aplenty. They don't care if they're small.
I may elaborate on some other techniques later, but I'm hungry, so lunch is calling my name...
Use subtle jerks with your jigs or plastic worms. Lots of times a strike will occur at the pause. For those finicky panfish, don't set the hook like a madman (or a madwoman in your daughter's case). My boy has a problem with this. He gets so excited that he sets the hook like he's just a big bass to bite. Crappie are called papermouths for a reason. That hook will just rip right through their lip, leaving you wondering why you lost him. Very subtle hook sets. What I like to do actually, is when I start to get some nibbles, just jig slightly. It'll either set the hook (and you'll know), or it'll entice a more solid strike than if you were deadsticking it (just a bait under a still bobber). Now, deadsticking is still very effective for panfish and trout, but you'll get more and bigger fish using jigs. And you won't lose as much worm. Oh, and you won't risk getting a dinkie fish on it, one so small you can't even tell he's taken it until you reel it in, find that he'd been nibbling it for a while, and swallowed the hook. I always hate that. Have to rip it out of his gullet and hope for the best. Makes me cringe.
I'm not much of a catfisherman, but I hope to improve this year and have buddies who are going to show me the ropes. One rig that has been suggested to me from some very successful cat anglers, is one that gets your bait just off the bottom a bit. Depending on depth and if you're dealing with moving water, you'll want to test your weights. Again, just like jigs, go with as light as you can get away with. Use a three pronged swivel on your main line. Use leader on each open ring and rig up your weight and bait. For a hook, I prefer a large circle hook. You can go treble, a lot of "old timers" like to use a treble, but they are a pain to remove and I would only advise using them if you are keeping the fish, as they will mess them up pretty good. As far as bait goes, you'll hear a myriad of suggestions. But I've heard best things about chicken liver and cutbait. To ensure your liver stays on the hook longer, you can wrap it in pantyhose. Cutbait, you can ask your local baitshop for a suggestion on where to get yourself some super stinky shad. This time of year there's always a shad kill somewhere and you'll find them floating in all stages of decay. Quite nasty. Or you can use your caught bluegill as cutbait too.
Most importantly, definitely get yourself a fishing regs book before heading out. Need to know the rules for that particular body of water you'll be fishing. There may be specific limits on certain fish, certain restrictions on live bait, etc.
Oh, another rig you can experiment with for crappie, bass, catfish, nearly anything, is a small minnow (again, check regs, not all waters permit the use of minnows). There are a variety of ways to hook your minnow. Most people like to hook through the dorsal fin or through the nose. Those do get good action, but one I've been experimenting with is under the tailfin. Great action. The try to swim "away" from the hook and stay alive a lot longer than the other methods. Minnows are a nice way to fish if you want to relax. Put one under a bobber and they do all the work. You can sit and just watch that bobber. Not my preferred method of fishing, but it's popular so some people must enjoy it.
As far as tackle goes, that again depends on what you think you'll be fishing for. For your panfish, start with those jigs and go from there. Get some small circle hooks (6 or smaller) to use with a worm under a bobber, get small weights to help with casting and getting your rig down there, and go with whatever bobbers you're most comfortable with. Personally, I like Thill spring bobbers, with the rounded nipple top. They tend not to lay on their side unless your bait is sitting on the bottom. For panfish, I prefer 4# test monofilament line. Strong enough to pull a small fish out of weeds, but light enough that you can snap it easily if you get snagged. For your panfish, use ultra light rods. A lot of fun catching even small fish on those set ups. Makes your catch feel huge. You don't need ultra light reels however, and I would suggest against it. Too many tangles on those little things and you get the effect on an ultra light rod. For me, the longer the better. BassPro sells something called GlassLite (I think that's what it's called) rods. They get up to 7 feet and are ultra light and are a LOT of fun. They wobble like crazy, but are still pretty tough. The smallest fish bends the rod like crazy. And they're cheap. Only $20 per. I would get accustomed to spinning reels and teach your daughter to use one as well. The button ones are super easy, sure, but if you end up liking this fishing thing, they won't last and you'll end up fixing them more than using them. And kids learn the spinning reels easily I've found. My kid caught a trout on his second cast ever after showing him how to use one. I believe they usually offer free classes at Bass Pro as well. At least I know they do for baitcasters, not sure about spinning reels. But maybe you know how to use one already. The first couple times you take the girl out, however, you might as well just leave your pole at home. You'll be untangling, rebaiting, instructing, encouraging, lipping, releasing, etc., etc. Won't have any time to wet a line yourself. But when she gets used to handling it on her own more you can both share in the experience and maybe get some healthy competition going between the 2 of you like we do.
Most important thing to probably keep in mind is keep it simple. Don't let a salesman tell you this new lure is sure fire or some fancy new rig will outfish all others. The simplest rigs have been catching fish for decades so stick with them until you know them really well. Then you can experiment with other things if you want.
I haven't been able to get out to the pond lately, but the wife and kid stopped out there today and sent me some pictures. I was told that some ducks and geese had visited already so that is pretty cool. Frogs are also finding it to their liking. I will hopefully be able to pick up a pump over the next day or so and get to work on drying it up so we can resume digging.
Managed to break a record Friday. Because of the wind we were only able to fish for a couple hours. Fished 2 private ponds near Lincoln. Managed to catch 10 different species, including 5 firsts for myself. Not counting those firsts, 3 catches were personal bests. But, on to the record...17 inch crappie. I was told later that evening that this fish now holds the record for largest crappie caught out of this body of water. And apparently an article is in the works documenting our time on the water that day. Not bad for a "newbie".
Caught all my fish that day (and most days) on the smallest jig I can get away with and a piece of crawler. 1/16th at the pond where the crappie was caught and 1/64th where the other fish were caught. This is the rig that will catch you the most fish day in and day out.
Scott, definitely wet a line man. I can't be the only contributor to this thread.