Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Hello fellow bluegill hunters!

This is my 1st post.

I haven't been fishing seriously since I was a kid spending entire days out on local docks. I'm looking to get back into fishing and would very much appreciate some advice from you veterans/pros.

I have tons of questions, but no need to answer all of them. Mostly interested in the blue highlighted questions. Just comment on what you feel like (although if you really feel you have expertise on something, I'd really like to hear what you have to say on that subject). Links to helpful answers/articles/videos are cool too.

1.-How to tell the difference between male and female bluegill?

2.-Is it better to keep male bluegill and release the females? Or how do you determine which to keep and which to release to best help population and size for an area while keeping enough to eat?

3.-What is the best way to map out structures (weeds, dropoffs, brush, etc.) and depths of a lake/bayou (topo maps, lake maps, etc.)? Is there a good fishfinder for cheap that would work well on a rowboat? Are there any good lake maps you guys recommend?

4.-How deep of water do the big bluegill school in (in a mucky/weedy body of water)? My bayous are roughly 18-20ft at the deepest points.

5.-What is the best way to fish for bluegill in deeper water (best bait/setups [slip bobber, jigs, tubes, etc.]/depth)?

6.-What is the best way to catch big bluegill in early spring before they move to the spawning beds? I'm not sure what water temps are currently...is there some kind of temp gauge you can drop down into the deeper water to record temps? Is there some online site where I can find water temps?

7.-What is the best size pole (and brand/action) to use to catch bluegill/bass/perch/walleye (mostly bluegill)? My brother really likes the ugly stik brand. He says he also loves a 5'6" size, but I've heard conflicting arguments suggesting a bigger size (6'6" to 7' mostly). I really liked the 5'6" size for precision casting under overhanging trees and such when I tried it, but I'd also like to be able to cast far, create correct jig/lure movement, set the hook properly, and good strike detection. If you could include an Amazon link for your recommendation that would be awesome. Also, I'm pretty confused by all the light/med/heavy action stuff if you could help clear that up.

8.-What is the best reel to use to catch bluegill/bass/perch/walleye (mostly bluegill)? I'm considering the Okuma Avenger ABF 30 Graphite Bait Feeder Reel, but maybe the ABF 20 would be better?

9.-What is the best # line to use to catch bluegill/bass/perch/walleye (mostly bluegill)? I was/am considering 6 lb Berkley Fireline (Crystal, 300 yds), but I read somewhere that thickness-wise it's equivalent to 2 lb mono, so I'm not sure if it will properly fill my reel to within 1/8 inch.

10.-Will ultra light (4/6lb?) line cast lightweight (foam spiders/nymphs/flies) lures well using other ultra lightweight equipment (pole/reel/etc.)?

11.-What is the best way to fish with crickets?

12.-How to find a "Honey Hole"?

13.-What depth to fish at what temp?

14.-Is "baiting" legal (West Michigan)? What to use (rabbit pellets, bread, corn, etc.)?

15.-Is sinking stumps/brush legal (West Michigan)?

Thanks for any help,

-CD

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Also, what is the difference between Power Pro Super 8 Slick, Power Pro microfilament line, and just plain old regular Power Pro Braided line?

And from price/performance perspective, is Power Pro better than Fireline/SpiderWire/etc.?

I'm sorry for so many questions...I'm just severely cash strapped and need my bang for the buck to count. (I know I don't NEED to get any of this, but I have a certain amount I'm willing to spend for my re-getting into fishing)

Hm..let's put it into organized perspective:

 

If you already have a nice set of light or ultralight rods, go with the reels. You can use Shakespeare if you want too, or, for me, I got a nice ultralight 7'6" Berkley Trout Dough Series for casting and reaching into areas that require stealth approaches. I can cast fly flies/lures all the way to bass baits and lures. Not a problem there. I'm a cheap and practical guy, but I also pay attention to performance and reliability. It's all about the balance. I played with the ultralight Shakespeare 4"6" to 6"6". A little stiffer, but just as good. Not the best of the best like the $200 and $400 version, but at 70% performance of the high end, and tough as nail, I'll stick with the low end. I even got the magnaglass $20 rod from Bass Pro, made in China, and still work as good as the high end rod when it comes to casting.
As for the reel, Okuma Avenger ABF-20a Graphite Bait Feeder Reel is perfectly fine. I prefer spending a bit more cash and get the 30a or 40a model. Why? More line capacity for the possible fight that you could be facing which rip your line out of the spool quite fast. 30a should be the sweet spot. If you're using higher test pound line, consider in getting the 40a model.

If you're planning on using braid, and you are not in an area that get blocked by shrubs/trees/or heavy underwater structures, the 4# test braid is perfect. But if  you are going to be in areas where you'll face a lot of underwater structures, branches, weed beds, etc which will scuffle the line, your braid line will nicked and scratched, which will break quite easily. This is where you will need to focus on the 8# and beyond. Not more than 15#. Braid is best if it's beyond 10# for rough environment. Anything less than 6#, it's better be in non-rough areas. Might consider in getting mono instead. SpiderWire is great. There are other cheaper version of mono, such as Red Cajun, or even cheap Berkley mono.

PowerPro Braid is like every other braid. Lightly waxed for the lighter test pound, but much more waxed in the higher test pounds. Power Pro Super Slick is merely the tougher and heavier wax version of the PowerPro regular braid. Just a gimmick. It's mainly focus in the higher test pounds category. The PowerPro microfilament is just another fancy name for mono. Stick with SpiderWire. Cheaper, and slightly stronger when it comes to knot's strength, down to the 4#.

 

Fishing is truly an expensive hobby..but it's a relaxing hobby none the less. Try snowboarding..or PC building..now that's truly expensive. Masters and gurus around here spend tons of cash on their fishing equipment, which rival all other hobbies and sports. Just go basic before you go extravagant.

Haha, the 30a model is actually cheaper than the 20a. It is only rated to go down to 6# diameter though, so I'd need to get 20# braided line.

Don't worry about it rated down to 6#. I have a salt reel that minimal indicator is 10# at 550yd, but I use 8# braid. So fun try to create a 600yd trolling line in a water body that have absolutely no one at night on my float tube.

Is that reel a spinning reel or baitcaster?  I'm assuming spinning?

I bought an Okuma Avenger spinning reel, 85-class, with a bait-feeder / bait-clicker on it.  I've got it on one of my surf rods.  I haven't really had a chance to use it much, yet.  This weekend may change that.

For the line, go ahead and go with the 15 lbs test PowerPro.  That will match up with your reel's spec's, and give you a little extra pulling power should something decent grab your hook.

As to the rod, well, that's a hard one for me.  I'm the kind that has to have the pole in my hand to judge how well it should work.  Although, I think that little Ugly Stick should be flexible enough to toss some lighter baits/lures.

It's been so long since I've been in a Meijer's........I think the only reason I ever went into the Sporting Goods section of Meijer's when I lived up in MI was to get some polarized sunglasses to deal with the glare coming off the snow in winter.

you making this most complicated for fishing! unless you tournament fishing then why? if you are fishing from boat longer rods than 5'6" may be a better fit,more rod,more power can be put into cast,shorter rods equal smaller waters tighter confines. decent reels made for fishing can be had in the price range of 20$- to infinity,just don't be going out with a zebco 202 thinking you are going to have a great fishing trip. average good rods = about 30$, a decent reel = about 50$ and thats a cheap set,line research and get the best you can buy! braid has its drawbacks just as much as monofilament,i like braid from reel tied to swivel then tied to mono leader! but that's just me! good luck fisherman and welcome back to the fold!

How does this 5'6" ultra light rod look for $22.92?

Okuma Celilo Graphite Spinning Rod

Looks good. Going to have plenty of fun with that as a bank buster rod or for search and haul missions in the water.

Graig who am I to say what rod is good for you. To me ultra light is finesse fishing and with all that handle it really looks like total and bulky overkill, remember you will have to handle the rod all day. My first order of business when buying a rod is if I can't put it in my hands and personally feel it feel the action feel the comfort and feel the sensitivity I won't buy it, I have to feel all that and keep it light weight to. The rod is really and extension of your arm. Far be it from me to say the rods not right for you I just don't think you want to jump into it without really putting it in your hand and experiencing the rod. I don't mean to confuse you I just thought what I added is an important consideration. Good luck on your decision what ever it is and GOOD FISHIN..

That pic from the link is the only pic for that rod...for all the different sizes. The handle for the ultra light model is a lot smaller than what is pictured.

Here is a good picture of the different rod handles...I believe the...

Hey Craig, if you haven't bought a rod and reel yet, here's what I'd recommend for the rod:

 

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Fishing/Fishing-Rods/Spinning-Rods%7...

 

I handled one of these in a Bass Pro a couple weeks ago and was really amazed at how much nicer of an UL rod it was than most of the others they had, including higher-priced rods.  It's got a much better action for bluegill fishing than an Ugly Stick, which the UL version of (I own one, bought it in a pinch when I had left my gear at home) is far too stiff for bluegill fishing.  I use live bait a lot of the time, probably 80% or more, and a stiff rod will throw the bait off the hook, whereas a rod with a more moderate action like the Shimano I linked to above won't.  They have two models, a 5' and a 5'6", and both are on sale for only $23.99, only a dollar more than the rod you linked to - and you'd be getting a rod many times better than the Okuma, and more the action you want for bluegill.

 

For the reel, I'd go with this:

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shimano174-Sienna-Spinning-Reel/7283...

 

Either the Sienna 500 or 1000 would work great (they're both UL), and for $29.99 you'll get ten times the reel you would for the same money with any other brand.  The Sienna has four ball bearings, and in general my experience with Shimano is that they're just in a class by themselves when it comes to reel quality, even their modest-priced reels - I used to have one of the old AX series that didn't even have one ball bearing, and that reel was smoother than many multiple-ball-bearing reels I've used, and it lasted me twenty-five years.  Shimano is all I fish with now.

 

For line, I'd recommend monofilament rather than braid because mono is more supple, which comes in handy when using very small baits and lures - it can be the difference between an effective presentation and an ignored one.  I use 4- and 6-pound test, but you could probably do fine just with 4 unless you find some waters that have numbers of bluegill over 10", in which case, if you're fishing around heavy cover, you'll probably want 6-pound so the big 'gills don't break you off in the cover. 

Good luck and let us know if you have more questions. 

I think I'm going to drive down to a big tackle shop near me tomorrow and re-check out that Voltaeus. I thought Okuma was supposed to be a good name brand though...are you saying it's not?

They have a lot of rods there (I was there yesterday) with the Voltaeus being one of them. Are there any others...or reels I should make sure to check out?

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