Fred, my choice of flyrods for bluegills is determined by how I'm fishing for them that day. From shore, I like my TFO 7-ft. 6-in. 3-wt.; it's a sweet little rod that I can cast all day without tiring. From my float tube, I prefer my Cabela's 9-ft. 3-wt., primarily because I find it easier to keep my backcasts off the water with the longer length.
With either rod, I use my homemade 6-ft. furled leaders with 2- to 3-feet of 6-lb. Vanish as tippet. (These outfits have handled the accidental 5- to 8-lb. channel cat adequately, and both largemouth and smallmouth bass up to 4+ lbs.)
While topwater strikes are always fun, I do 90% of my 'gill fishing subsurface. In general, I like "bugs" that sink slowly and steadily, bugs that are dark colored, and ones that are slightly soft to the touch as I've convinced myself (note the lack of scientific evidence!) that bluegills will pick them up and hold them the half second longer my aging reflexes require.
Sorry about joining this thread late, but better late than never…..
I agree with Nate about the TFO 5-6 wt combo set that includes rod, reel, line and case.
An affordable price for a quality rod with a “no-fault” lifetime guarantee.
I own a TFO 9 ft 5 wt “pro” model but prefer 6 wt’s for BG fishing due to chance of catching a large LMB or HSB in our ponds and want to land them quickly – in fact I am a 6 wt. “junky”, also owning a 7 ½ ft TiCrX, and a 9 ft. Axiom which is a cannon.
You can guess that I am a TFO fan.
If not for probability of catching large fish on BG bugs I would opt for a 3 or 4 wt.
As far as flies are concerned I prefer #10 wooly buggers or tie a piece of foam on top and you have a gurgler. If a sinker, weigh the bugger with a few wraps of lead wire.
#8’s bugs are productive for me for larger BG
I also like a “cap spider for a sinker but too many gill hooked fish.
I like rubber legs on all my brim bugs.
Foam poppers are fun and a Miss Prissy popper from WallyWorld is dynamite.
Most of these flies are available at your local sporting goods store but I like to tie my own.
#10 floaters are my go to baits also. They seem a little large for the smaller BG but just right for the larger BG and GSF.
The TFO 8' 2 wt Pro series arrived and has performed better than expected on the several fish I've caught. But, to date, most of it's use has been lawn casting.
We are in the mist of another dry summer here in Hart County. Not as bad as last year but with far less rain than normal. Temperatures are above normal, pond levels are down and the springs are weak. Consequently I have stopped fishing my ponds for present so as not to add additional stress to my fish. I busy myself with fly tying, feeding the fish, shoreline improvements, and dreaming of the fall rains and full ponds.
When I must fish I leave the 2 & 4 wt safe at home, grap a 7 or 8 and head for the Green or Little Barren Rivers. Both have a great diversity of fish and are noted for their SMB. Both require a stronger stick if you hope to hold your own.
Greetings as well to you Fred - from Texas.
I fully understand the hot weather as we also are having here in N.E. Texas.
Had a partial fish kill in one of our ponds last month due to too much early spring runoff causing turbid water that suddenly cleared with 100 degree temps, accompanied by a sudden torrential downpour.
Don't know the extent of damage, because same as you, don't want to fish and stress out fish until water cools.
Many gills died but hope some of our "trophy" class survived. Good opportunity to upgrade genetics this fall with adult pure Florida Copper Nose Blue Gill.
Other pond "dodged the bullet" and has nice 10" class gills.
I'm 56 and have been fly fishing for 45 years. Although I have been living in Virginia for 15 years I started out in Boston and once got a fly casting lesson from Ted Williams. He was usually in attendance at the annual New England Sportsman's Show and he was great to talk to about fishing. (He was a fair hitter, as well.)
I don't have a specific rod weight to use for Bluegills. I have a nice JP Ross 3 weight that is fun to use and a TFO 5 weight that is an excellent all around rod for fresh water. I must admit that right now I am up to about 25 fly rods. I got down to 17 about a year ago but have run into a bunch of cheap, old glass rods that I love to use. Fenwicks and Herter's old glass rods are fine tools for Bluegill fishing and often really cheap. I have a 7', 5 weight Fenwick FF70 that is about as perfect for an all around Bluegill rod as there is.
Flies for these great little tigers are quite varied and often they will hit anything that they see. They, of course, can get lockjaw, just like any fish. If you want to catch a fish on every cast you can't come any closer than using a soft hackle fly. They are usually small and quite simple and the fish inhale them without hesitation when all others fail. They are a type of wet fly and they are simple to tie and the materials to tie them can be cheap or expensive, depending on how much of a purist you are. The chalk stream trout anglers of England would only use grouse or woodcock feathers but I find road kill starling to be just as effective. They are tied on wet fly hooks and consist of a thread body, tiny collar and two wraps of starling breast feather for a hackle. They sink a few inches and are deadly. They do have one flaw. Every fish will eat them. I have caught some large Gills on soft hackles but I have also caught many guppies. This summer I caught a 3 pound Largemouth on one while using a 3 weight.
The leaders I use for Bluegills vary depending on the type of water I'm are fishing. Structure can create problems for the 6X guys so a shorter 2X or 3X leader might be the thing. If I have room, depth and clarity, I may use a ten foot leader in the 5X, 6X size. And when I know that I am not going to be fishing on the surface I might go to a straight strip of flourocarbon to start the fly downward more effectively.
I would rather catch Gills on poppers than anything. It is like with any fish, from Stripers to Bluegills. That smash on the surface is thrilling. I don't know how else to describe it. Just plain thrilling.
I was just invited to join the discussions on this website to offer advice about fly fishing for big bluegills.
We like to use 3-, 4-, and 5 wt. 8-1/2' to 9' fly rods for bluegills. The flies we like best aren't always surface flies. Sure a popper is fun when bluegills are feeding on the surface, but often surface fishing isn't the way to go for the big ones. We have a fly that imitates the action of a cricket called "Bully's Bluegill Spider" that catches more big bluegills every year than any other fly. For a photo of the fly, see www.thebluegillpond.com. We also like weighted peacock Woolly Buggers, small marabou jig flies (big bluegills like minnows, and the fly has lots of action on the drop), soft hackle flies, and . . . there's a long list. I've been bluegill fishing with a fly rod for over 50 years. Fly selection depends on time of year and type of water.
The Bully's is a great fly. I tie in in a larger size and leave the legs long and it kills both Largemouth and Smallmouth. But for Bluegills it is one of the best. I have still not found anything that catches Gills faster and in all conditions that can compare to soft hackles.
You have a great site and it's a niche that's needed filling for bluegill fans!
We have a minimum order of 6. We have Bullys in sizes 8, 10, and 12 in white, black, chartreuse, yellow, olive, brown, and hot pink. The price is $2.00 each. (Hot pink might seem like an odd color for bluegills, but under some conditions they prefer it.) Chartreuse and black are the most popular colors, but in autumn yellow is popular as well. You can order most easily by going to www.thebluegillpond.com. The site uses Paypal.
Terry and Roxanne Wilson
I'm a little different than most when it comes to fly rods for bluegill. When fishing local lakes, I rarely use anything more than a 2-weight. I'll cast No. 10 poppers on the 2 and nymphs and other sinking flies on my TRO Finesse 1-weight.
It's different when I head to the Everglades. In addition to bluegill, bass, shellcracker, stumpknocked and speckled perch, the 'Glades have oscar and Mayan cichlid. The latter two species are tough and very strong. I go 4-weight minimum with 8-pound tippet.
I like to use a medium-fast action 8.5' 5wt fly rod. 8"+ bluegills put up plenty of fight on that, plus its sized well enough that I can land crappies, bass and catfish when they hit (which is reasonably often).
I try a variety of flies, and some favorites of mine are boa yarn leeches, small gurgle pops, woolly buggers and woolly worms.