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up here in DE our main live bait for gills is night crawlers. i experimented with crickets earlier in the year and caught a few fish but know i could have done better. any advice would be appreciated like how to rig them and where to fish them.

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Mike, pay no attention to DanG about the business opportunity. That might work down here in our own backyard but even here you think they are all dead on a cool spring morning. I can just imagine how long it would take them to wake up in DE. Now if you built that cricket box this winter and mail ordered some starter crickets next spring, that might work on a small scale, private stash kinda thing. I don't even know if you can mail order them.

Why don't you move down south where we got delivery trucks for 'em and 50 lb sacks of specially formulated cricket food and cricket ranches!

Again, pay no attention to DanG! He's the guy who tried to snooker me into smokin' wasp nests and keeping them in the refrigerator. He even raises his own bees on his boat!!!!!! He is not normal. He does live in the same state as Ard's Cricket Ranch #2 though. It's a subsidiary of Ard's Cricket Ranch #1, which is from my state!

Roll Tide!!!!!!
Boogie! You know Kathy Ard? It's a small world ain't it? I'm always afraid to smoke around her for fear her beehive will explode.
Boogie, you have no idea how much I'd like to live down south in the land of endless bluegill :-)

Since I'm fairly stuck in California for the foreseeable future, does anybody know where I might get crickets in the San Francisco bay area, and without venturing into San Francisco? (Don't get me started; I'd rather drive through LA :p). None of the one tackle shops near me sells them.

Used to find wild ones in my yard when I lived in SoCal, seems too cold around here for them. Daytime high at my house is typically less than 65 degrees in summer.
Yes you can mail order them in bulk, I believe from Grubco. I know they do waxies and spikes and other baits as well.
Like boogie said crickets rule down here in the south. If they not hitting crickets then they are not going to touch anything. Also its pretty easy putting them on a hook. The key thing though is that when you use crickets the gills think that a insect hatch has just occurred and they go nuts.
Another neat way to fish crickets is in the evening when the gills are feeding on top. Hook em the way us southerners said, but in the evening, don;t put on any weight. Use a cork bobber and cast the cricket out. It will run some across the top of the water and the gills can't stand it. Nick.
Nick Holt---That's a great tip! I'm gonna use it, Thanks. Has anyone used those clear bobbers that you add water to for weight? It aids in casting, they work great.
I know that as far north as the tidewater regions of Virginia in Lakes Prince, Cahoon and Western Branch that crickets are a favored bait for gills and crackers. They haven't gained popularity or recognition much further north and I think it might be due to the harder winters and freezing conditions from the Mason-Dixon area northward.

Mike, I am sure you have used grass shrimp fishing those ponds and spillways in Delaware. They, too, seem to be more of a springtime, seasonal bait for panfish. We also have done well with maggots and waxworms that we bought over the net as a tipping bait for Delaware gills. perch and crappies.
I have had tremendous luck with crickets. But did not have such good luck at first because of how I was rigging them. I used to just hook them in one side of the chest and out the other. The Bluegill tend to attack the bait from behind and would just rip the bottom of the cricket off and be gone. What I started doing was hiding the hook inside the cricket. You grab the crickets back, roll it over so it's legs are pointing up, start the point of the hook in the breast then roll the hook and push it all the way to the tail, leaving the point inside. The eye of the hook ends up by the head of the cricket. Tose it in the water, the Blugill attacks the tail and grabs the point of the hook every time!
Bob, I thread them just the opposite, I start the hook in the poop shoot, through the body, and out just below the head. They stay on well and are very easy to put on that way. Can sometimes catch several fish per cricket if I can get a quick hook set. I use hi vis line and watch for the line twitch.
Crickets are awesome for Bluegill, love 'em. Wax worms work well too, they are soft bodied, they are kinda like maggots. Also mealworms work great. Mealworms have a hard outer shell and hold up under several strikes.
Mike - In mid Michigan I use Crickets late May thru mid Oct. They are great Bluegill bait.I make my own panfish spoons from #2 Willowleaf spinner blades and #00 Indiana blades with a #8 aberdeen hook.When fishing 4 to 9 ft deep I use a small weighted bobber and no sinker to let the spoon flutter down with the cricket and this works great for me when the gills are suspended.In deeper water I put on a small sinker with a slip bobber.I find if I keep the rig moving like slow drifting or slight jigs with the rod tip it works best.

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