Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

There's a current discussion over at Pondboss regarding managing a BOW for trophy fish, in this case Largemouth Bass. There appears to be a definite distinction between a trophy fish, and a large fish, but as of yet I haven't seen anyone step up and state their opinion of what constitutes either one.

Perhaps this is an area where BBG members could voice their opinion. After all, the incredible amount of angling talent we have on board, coupled with the substantial numbers of bluegills that we see, should give us a pretty good insight into the big vs. trophy debate.

So lets hear your thoughts: What does it take for a Bluegill to be considered big, and how much over and above that does one have to get before you would call it a trophy?

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In my opinion, 10 inches or 1 pound is big and over 12 inches or two pounds is a trophy......I fish public waters in the Carolinas 95% of the time........Based on thirty years of fishing these waters, I plan and work to catch big gills .......I hope for the a trophy every time I head out.......I have caught five trophy gills in my lifetime.....3 in South Carolina, 1 in North Carolina and 1 in Virginia..... 

Nice fish - filletable.  Large fish - unique (10"+).  Trophy fish - see Richmond Mill pics.  :D

i agree with jeffrey,was out today and saw a red ear on a bed i would call a trophy anywhere.could not get that fish to bite anything.would have let him go anyway.had to be close to 2 lbs judging by the ones i caught in nearby beds who were big.

My feeling is that this varies regionally for instance, in northern Illinois a large bluegill is 9" and a trophy is 11, some may even say 10.5. In southern Indiana a large gill is 10" and a trophy is really measured in weight, that weight probably being somewhere from 1.5-2lbs. Tony, feel free to correct me if you disagree about southern indiana.

I couldn't agree more Jacob. I've always said that I believe size, in regards to fish, to be relative to one's location.

Just like deer and turkeys!

Trophy bluegills really depend on where you are and what part of the country you are fishing. In many places, 10 inch gills weighing either side of the one pound mark are considered trophies. I personally, consider 10 inch gills trophies in most public waters in the country. Anything over 11 is an exceptional fish just about anywhere. Northern fish tend to top out around the 11 inch range, but there are the exceptional larger fish. In prime southern venues 10 inch class fish are still considered fine catches. I have probably caught 30 gills this year over the 10 inch mark, with the biggest being 11.25. All of these fish have come from unmanaged private venues. However, we have taken gills 10 to 11.5 inches from seven different public lakes in the Mason-Dixon area.

When considering red ears, or shellcrackers, I would say that a 'big' one is 11 to 12 inches, and a trophy would have to measure 13 inches. They just run bigger than bluegills, and we should observe the difference. Again, geographic locations will swing one way or another on this.

And for those beloved hybrids that Tony and I adore, I would say an 11 incher is a great fish in most waters where they are raised. My PR is 11.75 and my wife Linda got an 11 7/8 incher a couple years back. That fish was a thick female, and in comparison to some of the Richmond Mill bluegills I have caught, it may well have gone 2 pounds.

Again, everyone has their opinion of what 'big' and 'trophy' status is per specie.

I think that a ten-inch bluegill is big anywhere, however I've found that when I'm catching 6-7 inch bluegill it doesn't take but about an hour, and an eight incher becomes BIG.  :-)  Trophy, by definition, I think means a fish that you would consider wall-hanging worthy, regardless of whether it be a skin mount or a graphite reporoduction.  In that case, I've seen attractive trophies at anything above ten inches.  I've seen some 10-10.5 inch bluegill that had great height and "presence" that made great mounts, and I've also seen a couple of 11 inchers that weren't that impressive.  I would say that anything over 11 inches will be an impressive trophy regardless of location captured or methodology.

In Minnesota a big bluegill would be 10 inches. A true trophy would be a 1 pound plus fish.

As other members have stated, each fish would have to be looked at. As an example I have seen

10" fish weigh 12 ounces and have seen 10" fish weigh 15.5 ounces. In my opinion a true trophy

has to have color, height, length and width.

Up north here we may not grow then as big and as fast but a 10 or 11 inch gill is truly a trophy and when that fish is as wide as it is long that is a dream come true. That's what keeps most of us going and when we do catch that monster we always keep trying for bigger and better. Some people want numbers and some want quality but the bottom line is the enjoyment is there no matter what our needs and always a hanger is a braggin bonus and I'm a firm believer in location, location, location.

I think that were I live northen Illinois that if you catch a gill over 13 in it is a trophy  biggest was 14.5 in

seeing as the state record, a 3 and a half pounder, measured at 12.8", your measurements might be a little bit off. A 13 incher would definitely be a trophy nonetheless 


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