Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Hello all,
I participate in a online contest called kayakwars. We are currently discussing size limits for submission of sunfish. This is nationwide, so its tough. What length would you consider as a quality sunfish? What length would you consider a trophy? Should redears be a seperate category? I figured I would ask the experts. Currently, the 2 sizes are set to 9" & 12".

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All depending up on the waters you're hunting the sunfish, also, what type of sunfish. Best to find the record holding length and weight for the water you're at. It could be an old record, where the sunfish may have become stunt over time if there is not enough predation. So, provide a 1 to 2 inches shorter in length, and 0.5 lb to 1lb less than the record.

Tony did a splendid job in creating an Excel spreadsheet of the length and weight for the gill. Hope he could post that on again if I could not get home to post before he does.

In my opinion:

1. If you pre-set your length already at 9", then 9" should be the base length, and 12" would be your trophy.

2. I would say have all fish in their own category, including hybrids. This way, you won't be comparing orange to apple, and have a war among yourselves as well.

3. Make sure you have enough trophies to cover all categories.

Hey Tim...I'll stick to Bluegill and Redear as other sunfish species vary.....Like Leo suggested, I have established "world class" numbers for all species I catch...I have mainly fished the South including two of the three states recording Bluegill over four pounds.....I consider a quality fish 9" and  most fish between 10 to 12 inches will be released.......Trophy bluegill are fish 12 inches and over but I will reserve a spot for dynamic fish that are Tall and possibly 11 to 11.5 inches long....

As for redear, I prefer to use weight as a guide because I have caught 12 inch  Redear that weigh only a pound or so.......which is quality but a trophy Redear would be at least two pounds in my opinion...The bar has been raised with recent catches across the country...

But not to be lost on it grandchildren can convince me that a six inch bluegill is very big so I haven't loss perspective of situational fishing either.....Good Luck

Thanks to both of you for replying.  Kayakwars currently has 1 category for all types of sunfish, bluegill, redears, etc.  A 12 incher in many of the gill categories(flier, pumpkinseeds, red breast) would break many state records and a few world records.  Would you agree that 2 categories would be more appropriate.  1 for redears, and a second for all others?

To give you something to compare this to.  For largemouth bass, the 2 sizes are 16"(about 3 lbs) and 24"(about 8 lbs).  I guess what I'm asking is, how many categories should they have and what should be the sizes of each?

The fewer categories, the better.  It's unmanageable for the folks that run the website to monitor every submission. 


Thanks again.



As noted, length alone is incomplete. I'd consider one pound or better to be a trophy in any category.

As would I.  But, kayakwars is strickly a length & number of quality fish photo contest. Weight plays no roll.  

Here's another example for you guys.  For Crappie the 2 sizes are 12" and 15".

Again, thanks to all for your replies.

Too bad. SO, I need to toss out my scale?


Just kidding. I dont worry about all that size and warring kayaks stuff, anyway. I have a kayak and I fish from it. Thats good enough. The KISS principle...

Those are good Crappie numbers Tim......I could live with those....

Yes, I love the Crappie numbers too.  The crappie have put me in 1st place in the Southeast.  I've put up 93 Crappie over 12" and 3 over 15 this year.  I even managed 6 Largemouth over 24".  But, I'm still looking for my first sunfish over 12".  

Just my 2 cents worth here, and these would be strictly 'trophy' considerations. Some areas of the country would produce high numbers of fish these sizes, while other regions such a catch would be almost a lifetime event. But by and large, I think most of us would agree these are top-end fish just about everywhere.

-regular, or northern bluegill...11 inches

-Pumpkinseed sunfish...9.5 inches

-redbreast sunfish...10 inches

-coppernose bluegill...11 inches

-bluegill X green sunfish hybrid...11 inches

-redear or shellcracker...13 inches

-flier...10 inches

In some areas a 12 inch redear is a huge fish, but in other waters it can be a common catch. Most 13 inch, fat redears are going to push 2 pounds, and some will be heavier. 11 inch coppers might be lighter than comparable length northern gills, but may sport a higher body dynamic, as suggested by Jeffrey, hence, a stunning fish in it's own right. I believe that pumpkinseeds and redbreasts of these lengths to be stellar fish everywhere, yet I am sure that certain pockets of the country may have an abundance of them. Ask Frederico!


This is excellent info.  I worry about having to many categories and folks not accurately identifying their catch.  Some of these are easier to id than others.  For example Redear and Fliers are easy to id.  The others when caught in dark water, could be a problem.

What do you think of these:

Redear(10 & 13)

Flier(9 & 10 1/2)

Other(8 1/2 and 11)


While I agree with other posters on the validity of length vs. weight as a determining factor, I understand the need to keep things simple. After all, I have seen many photos posted here that show a float tube with a measuring guide, but I have yet to see one equipped with a factory installed digital scale....length is immediate, and easily visualized. Weight on the other hand, can be highly interpretive. Walk into your local bait shop and ask the regulars leaning on the counter how many of them have ever caught a 1 lb. Bluegill, and I'll bet most of their hands go up. Now ask them exactly how much that supposed 1 lb. fish weighed, and you will probably find that at no time was a scale involved. That's not saying that their fish didn't actually weigh a pound, rather it might be a case of "it was as big as my hand", therefore it must have.

Length however, is familiar to most people. Trying to establish what constitutes a trophy BG is another matter entirely. I have seen many 10" Bluegills mounted, and hanging on the wall. While I might not consider such a fish a trophy, my location produces 10" BG fairly regularly. Not so in other areas.

I think your numbers look pretty good for a general estimate. Maybe, I would up the minimum size on "other" to 9", but that's just me nit-picking......

Good points, Tony. I have a 12" scale painted on each of my rods, in fact, to offer an immediate visual reference. I do carry a small spring scale at all times; it's part of my regular fishing vest kit.

But I only use it when I'm wow'ed. The rest of the time I use the painted length scale on my rod...

Well, alright - I don't really use it all that much, either. If it's a big fish, it's a big fish. I take a picture, marvel at the wonder that IS a fish and toss it back.

But Im not trying to win any war, either, kayak or otherwise. Great observations on your part, as always. Thanks.


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