Do you love big bluegill?
Forgive me if I seem dense, but I'm a little confused, Big Giller - you are using the penny to gauge hook size??
I ask this because the Hildebrandt spinners were first made from a dime and some wire, back in the late 1800's:
"In 1893 the first spinner was made by "Big John" Hildebrandt. It was formed from a piece of wire (the company itself says it was a safety pin), which made the shank of the spinner. Mr. Hildebrandt made the blade of the spinner by beating a silver dime with his pocket knife into a blade formatlon. The two parts were put together and placed in a tub of water for trial. It worked, and Mr. Hlldebrandt continued to form this sort of fishing tackle for many of his friends...."
The way I read your post, you are using "penny" allegorically, and not actually including it as part of the rig, right?
Im also wondering if you've ever thought about using some bait floats. These are just small floats, like foam ear plugs, which you thread about 8-12" above the bait. Styrofoam bits, small corks and, of course, pre-made floats could also be purchased. The purpose of them is to keep the baited hook off the bottom and present it in the fishes face - - as opposed to letting it get into the weeds, sticks and tangles found on most bottoms.
Rigged with a small sliding sinker, it is pretty common for catfishing. I would think it would work for the big brim down near the bottom, too.
Penny- I'll go size 10, Dime - size 12, pinky finger size 14 and these are good ways to describe your hook size because all companies have different sizes for their hooks.
The number of the hook just represents that this is a size 14 for Company XYZ it is not an industry standard... I tell people to look at their pinky nail all the time - hoping that someone doesn't have a freakishly large pinky finger - usually this works so keep using then penny to reference your hook size- people get it.
I have a history of numerous lures.
Smaller plugs and crankbaits have always been the trick for me.
Rapalas that I kill them with include Jointed, Original Floater, Shallow Shad Rap, Jointed Shad Rap, and Husky Jerk.
Rebels that I've always had luck with include the TadFry, Teeny Wee Crayfish, Teeny Wee Frog, and Crickhopper.
When it comes to the Rapalas, the sizes I throw for them have to be 7cm or smaller. 6cm Husky Jerks work pretty well with tiny twitching action. 5cm and 7cm Shallow Shad Raps, Original Floaters, and Jointeds are killers whether it's steady retrieve or surface twitching. 4cm Jointed Shad Raps are nice on a slow retrieve or suspending jerkbait retrieve.
One other lure I just remembered is any sort of ultra light action hair jig.
Those nice Zoom Marabou Jigs are killers. I've been hitting crappie and spawning bluegills, redbreasts, and pumpkinseeds on an ultra light white streamer jig recently.
Feather jigs . Mister Twister Lightnin' Bugs work well!