Bluegill Fishing Techniques

Bluegill Fishing Techniques

Bluegills can be caught using nearly any fishing rig known to man, but the most successful bluegill anglers use a delicate approach. In most cases, that means 2- to 6-pound test line, a number eight hook baited with a worm or grasshopper, a single split shot for weight, and a thumbnail-sized bobber in situations that require flotation.

It isn’t necessary to cast to a bluegill; many top notch anglers just reach out and drop the bait on him. The cane pole most fishermen learned on is an excellent tool for bluegill fishing. Its length lets an angler present the bait quietly from a distance, and the spring in the pole is more than any bluegill can handle. Some fishermen use flyrods for the same purpose, dangling a baited hook under heavy cover along the bank or in a flooded brush. Casting with an ultralight spinning rod is also an effective as well as sporty way to catch bluegills. This approach, regardless of the type of rod used, is the most effective year-round method for catching bluegills.

Bluegills are particularly vulnerable to the fly fisherman when they’re on their spawning nests or “beds” in shallow water during June. The biggest fish take the preferred locations on the beds usually next to the bank under an arch of brush. A flyrod expert who can lay a popper, fly, or rubber spider into these tight spots can often catch several bluegills in succession.

Before the bed fishing gets hot, bluegills can be taken with ultralight spinning tackle. The fish are sluggish until the water warms up. They react slowly to bait, and take it delicately when they decide to bite. A small (16th ounce or less) jig suspended under a small bobber is a good rig for the early fishing. It casts surprisingly well and lets the fisherman work the bait slowly, vibrating the bobber a few inches across the water, then letting it sit for half a minute. This technique gives the jig a subtle action and lets the fish make up his mind and move in.

Ultralight spinning tackle with small jigs or spinners also work well in midsummer after the fish have come off their beds. Bluegill and most other fish move into deep water during the heat of the day and come into the shallows to feed at dusk and especially at dawn when water temperature is at its lowest. Fishing for bluegills with a cricket or small worm works well through the summer, too.

Bluegills are the staple for ice fishermen who work small ponds. Bluegills congregate in the deepest holes around cover in the winter. A red wiggler angle worm fished a foot or so off the bottom works well, especially when it’s attached to delicate tackle—two-pound line, one split shot, and a tiny bobber.