Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

     Using the analogy that the sport of  Bluegill Fishing is similar to Baseball... we are in the off season and the ice will be off the lakes and opening day is coming up soon. you've probably made some adjustments to your tackle... traded some stuff and added some improvements. Maybe...possibly hitting the lake first and doing some scouting...surely something as important as this you must have a solid game plan. whats your opening day of BlueGill season going to be like?

Im first:

During the off season ive upgraded my drop shot and jigging rigs spinning reels from Lews to Shimanos…. I’ve had the Lew’s now for over three years and the bail springs fail continuously for me. Hopefully the Shimano s will prove more durable. Ive also made some improvement in my live well by increasing its capacity to hold true trophy fish and keep them alive and healthy.

I plan on hitting a trophy lake just north of me. The initial look at the mapping available ive selected large expanses of reedy sandy flats that I know should be very good for possible spring spawning sites. The plan includes an initial scouting trip as soon as the ice clears to check out the breaks along this flat and develop a detailed map with my sonar. Hopefully I’ll be able to spot some schools of fish which would probably be crappie as well as gills. I’ll have my dropshot rig as well as a jigging rod to test and identify these fish.

At this point I’ll be marking these fish on the sonar and developing a pattern of waypoints recorded on the sonar and mark them as gills or crappie etc. I will then take this data home, develop the map through Insight Genesis study it and set a fishing date with a good forecast of weather on a warming trend.at that time the water warms pretty quickly into the mid 50's.

On this trip I’ll be taking some ultra light jigging rods as well as a slip bobber rig and some drop shot rigs with different weight setups. Bait will include night crawlers, waxies and gulp products highlighting Pink Gulp Maggots. Starting the trip early hopefully ill be able to last till dusk.

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Ah Tony , just because I mainly fish with a fly rod ,dont think I'm not experienced with spinning equipment and good Reels and Rods ,  I have both, and I carry spinning equipment with me  that is high dollar and smooth as silk and some older stuff that was the cream of the crop in its day and still just as good as the stuff thats out there today. I just chose to use the fly rod for the fun of it. With the equipment I own I can go to the most delicate trout presentation to fighting the big stuff in the Gulf of Mexico. I know I have too much stuff , I just hope my wife doesn't sell it in a garage sale after I'm gone for what I told her I paid for it.    LOFR

i dont need or want the latest most expensive.it just has to work.get into it with family and friends all the time.is ten ball bearings better than eight?what do ball bearings have to do with delivering the bait to the targeted spot? or finding the spot for that matter.i spend the money on what i feel is imprtant line is number 1,fly line and spinning line.without good line everything else is irrelevant..i had a bass burn the drag up on a 20 dollar shakespeare micro reel .iv'e had bass shatter 150 dollar graphite rods.i had a carp burn up the drag on a 100 dollar reel.it had gold trim and lots of ball bearings but the drag system failed.i have some line on reels that is over 10 years old and is still as good as ever and since braid has no memory will just get better every time i use it.i have never broke off a fish on braid.

i actually have 9 year old braid on one of my reels and i dont know which one... since ive never thrown any away. it outlasted the reel

me too LOFR.i keep finding reels and rods i forgot about all the time.some still have tags on em.just found a cigar box full of bass flies i thought i lost.gotta get rid of stuff.

So Carl ... when or what type of conditions signals your "Opening Day" for bluegill do you wait for the spawn or do you prespawn fish as well?

I dont know about Carl , but we crappy fish and do population samples on bluegill , in the prespawn at that time , my network of local bluegill fisherman report to each other so we know when the spawn will be , this starts in late March and goes thru April , and usually hits big time in May.   LOFR

this is the first time im actually planning on targeting the gills before June... im usually on the predator fish at that time. this year its a whole lot different... a very different perspective. now im in it for the trophies and im looking at it this way... ive been spending some time on the ice monitoring fish movements and overall activity so i will just step right into prespawn when these fish are in their top condition... coloring weight etc. then is when i think ill have my best shot for the true trophies.

do the same thing LOFR.i do some fishing for the table in the spring as the crappie are much better eating in the cooler water.also have some winter over stocked trout i target as they wont make it past june when the water warms i look for last years beds and likely places.it's spring and i want to catch fish and crappies are active.big gills are becoming a rare thing locally so i release all males of decent size .gills just are not that active early on around here.got a place to go this spring if i can find the beds i am confident in at least a 2 lber.i know their there i have seen them.

Another thing we watch is the color and maturity of the egg sac , We watch how the egg sac developes from week to week and it gives us a good idea when the frenzy starts .   LOFR

when im trophy fishing... and i take that very seriously now... ill use the equipment as designed.... im even foregoing the really UL stuff when im on the bigger fish and stepped up to light tackle

hahahha  Tony;; was going to ask  if you ever missed at hooking one!!;; LOL   since i always fish in a boat;; between the water current; and wind;; and i rarely ever drop anchor;; if and when i do miss one;; i have moved some distance from where i want to fish at!! its why a speed cast back to where they are can be effective!!  not to mention;; when they are in a feeding frenzy;  i want to get back to the spot - fast as i can!!  with a fly rod;; i can get back on the ( spot) 3 to 4 times;; faster than a conventional spinning reel.  result-- more fish caught!!

slip stinker;; soon as the warmer weather gets here;; is when i go fishing!!  pre-spawn; spawn; or what ever!!   only thing holding me up is the weather!!  I ruined my health-- just cant take cold weather any more- dang it!!   other wise;; i would be fishing - pretty much year round!  and as for using a quill float -- ask Keith Ritter-- or Johnny Wilkins;;  if i can roll cast;; with a quill float;; just about as far as they can cast with spinning gear!!   proven at the reelfoot rendevou last year!!!

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