Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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Greetings from Ketucky,

Management tools for bluegills such as catch and release, slot sizes, and daily limits are gaining popularity.

I've read several works on the type of hooks vs. recovery rates of released fish. THE SCIENCE OF CIRCLE HOOKS by Steve Quinn at www.in-fisherman.com/magazine/article/if0502_vvcirclehooks/index.html is an excellent example. ALL ABOUT HOOKS can be linked from this article.

Since I have found very little work on BG and/or pan fish I would like your openions on which types of hooks you find cause the least harm to released fish.

I'll start with my experiences with J-hooks,

Barbless hooks are easier to remove with less damage to the mouth and time out of water.

Long shanks are easier to remove than short shanks.

The larger the hook, 6 or 8 vs. 10 or 12 the fewer small fish you catch and the fewer deep hookups with large fish.

Moving baits result in fewer deep hookups than stationary.

Please share your experiences, opinions, and preferences.

Fred

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Fred, I'm going to try to get some pictures of the hooks I use so I can include them in my answer.
I preferred super long shank #10 with the barb pinched when I used bait. With flies there are many options. Probably too many to cover. The long shank still applies unless I am using a wet fly. And I always carry needle nose with me to secure a quick release and always pinch the barb.
Here's a photo of my favorite bluegill hook, favorite bluegill crankbait, favorite bluegill inline spinner, and favorite bluegill jig head.


The hook is a size 10 Gamakatsu Octopus circle hook, barb pinched.

The jig is a 1/32 ounce chartreuse head with barbed pinched.

The spinner is a Rooster Tail 1/24 ounce. I like to pinch the barbs down before I use it.

The crankbait is an "Ugly Duckling" given to me by a friend from Texas. That thing is dynamite.

The bright shiny thing in the picture is a quarter--even though in the picture it just looks like a bright shiny thing.
I really like to go barbless with bluegill. Even when I'm keeping them it's so much easier to remove the hook from that tiny mouth. I carry a pair of small curved hemostats to facilitate hook removal.

It's extremely rare for a bluegill that I'm catching to swallow the hook, but even the ones that get the hook on the roof of their mouth seem to benefit from the barbe being flattened somewhat.
But what about givin a good ole hoooyaaa when you set the hook? Cant do that with the circle hooks can you?
Good point. :)
Well I guess while you got all them circle hooks laid out to rest with wigglin wiggler you can always get a few hoooyaaaaaa's in on that crankbait. My pops showed me those bitsy minnow crankbaits back in june on the lake he lived on. SUPER COOL!
Bruce!
I'm thinking you're spot on with the hooks, lures and such.... and I can see pitching a Quarter in for "good Luck", but when you gotta pull out them dollar bills as a bait.... why I think its time to go home and mow grass or watch them football reruns!
Just funnin'
FliTrap
When you fish with flies you seldom hook a gill deep. I have found in over 65 years of bluegill fishing that flies actually catch more fish than bait, plus there is the added fact that the smaller ones can be released without you knowing they are going to die later on. Percentage wise I'd say 99% of the gills I catch with flies are hooked in the mouth. There are days when I catch and keep and days when I want to catch and release. I use a 94833 Mustad fine-wire hook for the flies I tie. No. 10's for gills. and generally use the standard fly patterns I use for trout. Both wet and dry. Usually dries for bluegills and wets for pumpkinseeds which are the two predominant species of sunfish where I live.

gillbum

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