Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I recently read something in, "How to Find Fish," by Cliff Hauptman that intrigued me. In effect, it suggested that most fist are caught in broad daylight. As an example, a famous Florida angler was mentioned. This man maintained complete catch records and these indicated the majority of his trophy bass were caught between 9am and 3pm.

This is somewhat contrary to what most of us are taught, i.e., fishing is best in the dawn hour and an hour before sunset. Or maybe at night. It is known that fish DO feed at these times, and often heavily, especially in the shallows.

However, bluegill (and most traditional game fish) are primarily sight feeders. Their eyes are very similar to our own, in fact. And just like us, this suggests that the bright of day is their optimum feeding time. I know, they have many other senses - lateral line, smell, etc. And in the deepest waters, eyesight may indeed take a back seat.

But it's much like a human hunter who also has other senses. Nevertheless, he must first see his target before he pulls the trigger. Likewise, the "moment of truth" for a bluegills' prey most often comes at the behest of the fishes eyesight.

SO what do you think - daylight or dark. Which is the best for catching fish?

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Catfish at night .I think they clean up on the days carnage from daytime good visioned predators and have less competition for food then .

Walleyes and Crappie with their big eyes I believe would be great to target at night . Crappie under low light conditions ,during the day, bite great in cooler months though.

The sunfish family and perch are better sought during the day I think for the most part except when they feed at night in the shallows because of either  less fishing pressure or a boon prey timetable.

For Bluegills, I would have to go with daytime. Simply because they can be subtle biters, and an angler needs to watch for the slightest, gentlest "take".....requiring enough light for him or her to see their rig. Probably not as important when the fishing method employs movement, as in casting and retrieving, or jigging, as you can feel the fish hit your offering....but when a float, or strike indicator is used, then I want to be able to see it.

That's very interesting.  One thing I have definitely experienced is that I can catch a lot of bluegill from an hour before sunset to an hour or so after sunset, but once it's full dark, they just shut off.

However, LMB may be more active after dark? A couple or three years ago, I was float tubing near the boat dock in a lake out in the California delta. I went past sunset and into full darkness and I was the only one on the lake (pretty cool, really :-) and I over cast my fly a bit (black foam beetle) and it landed just on the rip rap. I pulled it off the rock and a bass nailed it about a foot from shore. It got right under my tube and it was so hard to move it with my 5 weight that for a bit I thought it had wrapped me around the tree growing in the water next to the dock.

I've also read of just monster brown trout being caught in the middle of the night, in an article about two brothers who were consummate trophy brown trout fishermen. Their reputation was such that (rude) fishermen started following them all over the lake, so they switched to night fishing in self-defense.

So I guess it may be species-dependent.

Brown Trout are notorious Crayfish eaters also .I've read that most Crayfish are night feeders .I imagine Smallmouth Bass may have times when like the Brown Trout ,they key in on Crayfish as their main forage and take to night time feeding schedules ,when the majority of their prey are roaming around outside their resting crevices.

A good summary - kinda where I was headed. It doesn't mean that fishing in the mid-day period means fishing in the same places as morning. In fact, you can expect to be looking elsewhere. Sometimes that's not the case, but in general it is.

Thanks Mike

All fish can feed after dark. The night sky is rarely as dark as the black of the deeps.

And they do have the senses to allow them to sense prey in low light conditions, when their eyes cannot. Some, like the catfishes, are keenly adapted to night feeding.

As for bluegill, it is the structure of their eyes that makes the link to daytime feeding. They have a near equal number of rods and cones, meaning they see light and dark (as well as color) in near equal measure.

I think what happens is that as the sun rises, the ultraviolet spectrum is what drives them to cover, shade and in summer, deeper water. Once the sun abates in the morning and evening, they can come to the shallows to feed.

For me personally, it's anytime during the daylight hours for gills. Often times the big push for first light or sunset is relief for the angler.....Summer can be brutal so that hour fishing early or late can be the most refreshing but not necessarily the most productive.....I have locations with a heavy canopy and you can fish it in the noon day sun with great results.....

 When I was younger I lived for that camping trip with the scouts or sleeping over at my grandparents to get on the water at night but not for gills......The best Crappie fishing both size and numbers for me has been at night on brackish rivers and the Toledo Bend Reservoir in Louisiana...Also for limb lines and jug lines looking for catfish....we always set late to fish overnight and check them early in the morning.......I've caught nice catfish during the day in every state I have lived but the biggest Flatheads and Blues came on lines at night....Night can be a little harder to fish but sometimes more peaceful listening to the humm of a Coleman lantern or the chorus from the bugs........

You paint a nice picture Jeffrey!

Ive caught some of my best bass and sunfish at night, especially crappie.

Great information! You're right- everything I've read says to fish in early morning or early evening, but nevertheless I have had luck in the afternoon.

Haven't been night fishing though!

Just thought of something: maybe that's why they're called "sunfish"-!!! Now I'm off for a bit of online research...

I agree with that article, David. The only exception was while catfishing at night on Lake Lanier, a buddy and I caught a mess of gills on liver no less! I am not sure what was going on there, as it was the first time either of us had caught gills in the dark.  I guess they were using their noses that night.

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