Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I usually only fish bass, but I have a great pond in my neighborhood that is full of bluegill. I was wondering if this setup is good for northern Illinois bluegill. Its a yellow 1/16 jig head with a small plastic and pink Crappie nibble. The whole thing is a total of about 2 inches long.


Thank you in advance.

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That's a good lookin' jig and it may work great certain times of year. In my experience I have found that bluegill are more aggressive during spawning and will hit larger lures. I typically use a 1/32 oz. jig head tipped with earthworm, waxie, or even a 1" Gulp minnow during the spawn. I think the hook size is probably no bigger than an 8 or 10. I could be wrong. Bigger baits can keep the smaller gills at bay but often even a larger lure tipped will end up having the bait stolen by the dinkster gills. When gills go deeper, I've switched to small spoons tipped with bait. I know quite a few dudes here on BBG like to use the BlueFox Rattle Flash Spoon in 1/16 ounce. Through the ice I've been successful with those same spoons and small ice jigs like a ratso or a rat finkee.

Wow that's massive. In my Northern Illinois, I have to catch these:

Now this isn't the average bluegill but on public lakes - the closer you get to Chicago - you need to have a bait that can get in these: 

This is a champion Northern Illinois bluegill and there is no way that a jig of that size would work. Do you live an two hours outside of the city? Then you might have a chance. The only problem is most of the city drives that distance to fish waters outside of Chicago.

 

Using down-sized baits you can catch a group of fish like this:

Note- that crappie is the biggest panfish I have caught in 8 years fishing this pond - biggest by far. These fish were counted and released. This is 3 hours cold water fishing.

Hey Johnny,

Any idea why the bluegill are that size? Is it lack of food/overpopulation? A lake I frequently fish has a large population of bluegill and black crappie. The bluegill average size is probably 7-7.5" during most of the year with the 8 and 9 inchers showing up quite frequently during ice fishing season. The black crappie are another story. They are typically 9 inches long. I believe it is because there isn't a strong forage base of shad for the crappie to feast on. Last year I caught an 11.75" black crappie from this lake that had very good body condition. I know there are bigger crappie but they are few and far between in that lake.

 

Back to the original question, if you are going to get gills that size, you will want to use lighter tackle like 1/64 oz jigs and the like. There is nothing like getting an angry bluegill on 4 lb test (or lighter!) on an ultra-light rod and reel. LOVE IT!

Bluegills this size can happen for several reasons.

1. Apex predators have been stripped from water (over-fishing or poor water quality).

2. Low food source (these fish are caught where the banks are mowed). 

3. Consistent angler pressure - large fish are removed.

Fishing is different by me- there are few lakes and 120 anglers per square mile.

Where there is catch-and-release with some enforcement, the fish are larger - but still not as big as yours.

 

I'd go out on limb and suggest that is a little large for brim, even bulls. In Spring when they are mean "on the nest," it could account for some hookups. But you gotta be sharp when using jigs like that; Ive watched brim pick em up and haul them away from their bed... and never take the hook.

Generally hooks in the #8 - #12 range are best. I specifically select bluegill jig heads for hook size and weight - 1/32 and 1/64 with #8 or smaller hook. I keep them separate from other jigs along with the soft bodies.

When it comes to the jig bodies, I select the mini and micro sizes, in the 1" range.

Now, I'm no expert when it comes to bluegill - well, not anymore. I used to fish for them constantly down in Florida... nearly everyday. If you take even a large brim in hand and measure it's mouth, you'll be surprised at how large most of the stuff in your tackle box will be by comparison. These fish eat small invertebrates and insects in nature and the baits you present should approximate their natural foods in size.

Again, this isnt to say they wont take such a lure as you show. The bedding sunfish is a fearless critter and are not driven solely by hunger. You may have good luck with that thing. For a comparison, Id like to see what your results are with something smaller.

I have always done best with just a hook and a nice piece of worm, no wait and no bobber. Just cast it out as far as I could and let it settle on its own.

When they are on the beds the hit on the fall and usually hook themselves.

I think it is pretty cool to watch the line run out before making the big jerk.

Just way we always did it for bait under time constraints so thought I would try it when catching them to eat and have been very successful.

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