Bluegill fish are among the easiest fish in the world to catch. Even a beginner with virtually no skill can hook a bluegill. That said, this article will help improve your chances of hooking a bluegill. This freshwater fish is a native of the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and the drainage systems of the East Coast of the United States, but it has also been stocked in freshwater throughout North America. Lakes, reservoirs, and slow-moving streams are ideal locations to find this relatively small fish. Bluegills may grow to approximately 12 inches in length and about 4 ½ pounds in weight. This fish is easy to cook (hence, the term panfish) and has been enjoyed by countless fishermen.
When and Where Will You Find Bluegill?
So where exactly should you look for bluegills? Bluegills prefer quiet, clear water in direct sunlight, and they tend to remain fairly close to shore. If you can find some kind of vegetation that is home to baitfish, you’ll likely find bluegills. Underwater structures, such as fallen wood or pilings, or weed beds are good locations. Bluegills prefer shallow water in the spring and early summer seasons, while they seek out deeper waters in the warmer weather of summer and fall. Bluegills are most active and are often feeding in shallow waters at dawn and dusk. During the day, they can be found in deeper waters or resting in the shade. Bluegills are school fish, so where you find one bluegill, you’ll find more. However, if you are having difficulty with fish not biting, move on to another area. There’s no point in wasting time in a quiet area.
The Right Tackle
Bluegills are relatively small fish, so you don’t need a heavy-duty rod and reel for fishing. A small and lightweight rod and reel, such as an ultra-light spinning fishing rod and reel, or an ultra-light graphite rod, will work perfectly. A monofilament fishing line with a test weight of 2-4 pounds is recommended.
Both live bait and lures work well for catching bluegills. For live bait, crickets, wax worms, nightcrawlers, and beetles are the best choices. You’ll want to use small hooks, preferably in the size #6 – #10 range of hooks, since the mouths of bluegills are quite small. Bluegills are notorious for being bait thieves, biting and then swimming quickly away, so it’s very important to attach the hook to the bait very carefully. Make sure you’re using thin wire hooks, to ensure that the bait remains alive long enough for the bluegill to bite.
If you opt for lures, choose flashy colors, such as bright yellow-green, pink, and white. Miniature soft plastic lures and small tube jigs, such as spinnerbaits, microjigs, and ice tick jigs are good choices. Stick with very light jigs, no bigger than 1/32 of an ounce. Remember, bluegills have small mouths, so you need a lure small enough to suit them. Another reliable option is a lead head that’s been tipped with twister tails or feathers.
Technique Does Not Matter
There’s no right or wrong way to fish for bluegills. Bobber fishing is the most common method, and probably the easiest, since you have a visual reference when a fish bites. This is probably the best method for beginner fishermen. However, you can just as easily have success catching bluegills with bottom fishing, drift fishing, or fly fishing. Bottom fishing is just what it sounds like, letting your line out to the bottom of the river or lake and waiting for a bite. Drift fishing involves fishing from a drifting boat, and letting the bait move with the boat and fishing line. Fly fishing is probably the most complicated method, and requires a 7-9 foot fly rod. The suggested reel is a single-action reel that has a clicker drag. If you are fly fishing, you should choose a fly that resembles an insect, since that’s a preferred food of the bluegill fish. No matter what your method of fishing, when you retrieve your line, retrieve it very slowly. Bluegill fish usually eat slow-moving things, so this is your best bet of keeping the bluegill hooked on your line.
So even though bluegill fish are some of the easiest fish to catch, these tricks and tips will help ensure that you hook that bluegill. Both beginner fishermen and experienced fishermen alike enjoy fishing for bluegills, and you’ll find that it’s a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or the whole day. You may choose to release your fish or bring it home to cook for a lovely dinner.