Bluegill are the fish that most of us have started our angling careers with. And many anglers, no matter of their fishing achievements and their current angling preferences, they all get back to their childhood fishing places at times, to catch a bluegill or two. Fishing for this type of sunfish is fun and relaxing, and can also be challenging is you’re looking to land a 4-pounder big bluegill.
Where to Catch Bluegill
Bluegill fish can be caught in almost any lake, pond or small river in the U.S. They prefer shallow waters, especially in spring and early summer, with a lot of vegetation and places where they can hide. By the mid summer they move to deeper waters, 10-20 feet deep.
Although they are often called sunfish, they don’t really like the bright sunlight, and as the day advances they move to deeper waters. They do like to stay warm though, preferring waters of 15°- 27°C. They are the most active during morning and dusk. However, as the weather and the water temperature get colder with the coming of the fall, the middle of the day becomes the best time to catch bluegill.
Bluegill Fishing Techniques
Bluegill are bold fish, they don’t scare easily and have a rather curious nature, nibbling and taking in their mouth whatever moves near them and looks shiny. That’s why they can be caught with just an empty yellow or silver hook. They can be caught in many ways, but the classic method with one hook, sinker and bobber is the most popular and the most fun.
Bluegill can also be caught with mini-lures and small jigs. Fly fishing for bluegill is also popular and fun, but since bluegill tend to move to the deeper waters during the day, especially in hot summer days, wet flies might bring better results.
Bluegill Bait and Lures
Live bait is crucial for catching bluegill. Some of the best bluegill baits are redworms, but waxworms and maggots (natural color, or red colored) also make excellent choices for these fish. Grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, small balls of fresh dough or bread, small minnows, or slices of small fish, work as well. It’s important that the bait is well fit on the hook, as bluegill are cunning thieves, and will easily pull a worm from one of its ends until they rip it off the hook. Fitting the bait properly on your hook will also result in more successful hookings.
When it comes to artificial baits, quite a wide range of lures can be used. Rubber minnows and grubs on small jig heads are very popular. Best colors to go with are orange, yellow, red. Small spinner baits (3/8 or 1/2) like Beetle Spins or in-line spinners with a golden/silver Willowleaf or Colorado Blade bring great results as well. Also, small Gibbs Minnow Jigs work.
Finally, if you’re fishing in a small stream, or small pond with shallow waters, fly fishing for bluegill can be a lot of fun. One of the best wet flies for bluegill fishing is the Bully Spider. Woolly Buggers are great bluegill flies too. For popper flies, a few good recommendations would be Sneaky Pete or Hula Poppers.
You can catch bluegill with the most basic tackle, like a cane or bamboo stick, some 4lb line, a small/medium hook and a can of worms. However, with the nowadays possibilities, there’s a multitude of options when it comes to your bluegill tackle, which will make your experience superlatively better. Since bluegill don’t grow too big, and they’re also soft biters, evidently you’re going to need a light or ultra-light tackle. So, here are some directions for that:
Rods: Many dedicated bluegill anglers use ultra-light spinning rods, and the ideal length should be somewhere around 6 1/2 – 9 ft. A few names to go with would be Shimano Sensilite UL (6’6″ – 7′), St. Croix Premier UL (7′), G-Loomis Trout and Panfish UL (6’6″ – 7′) Daiwa D-Shock UL (6′), Daiwa Spinmatic UL (8′) or a Bass Pro Microlite (7′).
If you’re looking for a fly rod, you should aim for a longer one, like an 8′-8’6″ Hobbs Creek.
Reels: Since your tackle should be light, it’s obvious that you should go with a light reel. A great match for an ultra-light rod would be a Daiwa Spinmatic 300T, Daiwa Crossfire 500 a Pflueger President (4 lb) or a Pflueger Microspin.
For fly, any fly reel should do, but you might want to have a look at an Okuma SLV Diecast.
Line: The line for bluegill should be somewhere between 2-6lb, 4lb is ideal, monofilament.
Hooks: 8-10 size, round hooks, Aberdeen-style, yellow or red if possible. Gander Mountain or Gamakatsu, are great choices.