Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Has anyone else noticed that many of the really big, trophy-sized Bluegill caught, are on small baitfish replicating lures, often by bass and trout fishermen?  I have.  As a matter of fact, a few years ago, while I was busy doing fish taxidermy, practically all the large Bluegill that were brought to me to be mounted had been caught "accidentally" on small lures, such as small crank baits, jigs, and plastic worms and these lures were usually in a natural shad or minnow color. (I'm talking about fish over 2 lbs here!)  I have also seen big Bluegill cough up tiny shad and bass fry while fighting on a line.  Yes... we catch plenty of very big BGs on live baits such as crickets and various worms, but perhaps if we want the really big record-sized trophy 'Gills, we should start using small fish-like lures in the deeper areas where the larger fish congregate.  I'm going to keep a small lure like the Rapala CD-1 on one of my rods when I go fishing now.

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Completely agree. Though it's just not the trophy size bluegill. Just the other day we were fishing for bass and crappie. I decided to try out those Gulp Alive minnows with a 1/16 jig. While the crappie bit too, it was the 8-9" bluegill that not only hit the lure hard, were devouring it time and time again. They're opportunistic predators for sure.
You are 100% correct they are carniverous. I catch alot of BULLGILLS while fishing bass tournaments . I think they hang out with bass because they use the same forage. They eat minnows ,Large nymphs ,and even small crawfish. So I fish the bottom in ten to twenty feet for big gills. I learned this from an Oldtimer, he was trolling a lindy rig with nightcrawlers in twenty five foot of water. I thought he was fishing eor walleye,until he held up his fish basket with a limit of eight to eleven in gills. Respect your elders, it might pay off in the end.
Excellent points, Jeff. I've noticed the same thing.

When bluegill eat crickets they are being carnivorous as well, but I think the lion's share of the available protein out there is in the form of fish!

Last week virtually every really big bluegill that we were catching were on topwater!!! We were using Strike King crankbaits, which were fish shaped, 5cm length lures that we left just sitting on top over the beds. One twitch, and BAM, the bluegills were all over it.

I think you're really onto something here. I caught one bluegill on Thursday that hit a 3/8 ounce white rooster tail. That's a big fish on a big bait!
Yes you are correct Bruce, perhaps I should have said "fish eaters". That's what I get for writing this discussion after midnight!
If you really want to be cool like I am, you'll steal terms from professional biologists like "piscivores". LOL

Piscivore; That's the word I wanted to say Bruce! (You ever have a word you want to use, but you cannot find it in your brain?... I was a "hippy", grew up in the 60's, what can I say... Ha!)
Again with another agreement, I caught as many bluegill as crappie this spring while trolling roadrunners with baby shad bodies. I had to keep changing the bodies because they looked like you had put them through a belt sander from the tiny teeth on the gills. Might have had more hook- ups than we did if we had been trolling with rods in hand. Hard to hold six rods at once though.
Here in N. Fla. the redbellies love those teeny we crawfish. I've got some whoppers on them.
Definite carnivores and cannibals.

I agree.

i have a nice small fly that i use and i can almost catch them without bait. ill post a pic of it as soon as i can. it's a trout fly. i have cought nice ones on it. Never let me down once. i think your absolutely right.
I caught a jumbo bluegill once on a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce spinnerbait while fishing for bass. Wouldn't have thought it could have gotten its mouth over the hook even...


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