Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

This is my first try at beginning a thread here, so I hope I'm doing it right. 

I have read several people's comments about adding a piece of live bait to a jig. Such as putting a cricket on a jig. My question is, "Is that better than putting a cricket on a bare hook?"  

Also, is there a pattern database here somewhere where I can see pictures of jigs and read the materials list or a step-by-step of how to tie that particular pattern?  

Are there any "Swaps" going on here where, say, a dozen guys send a set of a dozen flies to a "host" who sends back everyone one each of all the other jigs submitted? That way you send in 12 of the same pattern and get back 12 different patterns. 

Or instead of that, would any of you guys who fly fish be willing to send me 3 or 4 jigs and let me send you 3 or 4 flies that are good bluegill flies?


Randall Runion 


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I am a huge teacher of the plain hook and a lot of my materials and fishing is done plain hook. I rarely use jigs.

That said, if you have to use a jig (absolutely must) - go with really, really light jigs so you get better results.

As for Gulp - I believe it is a poor substitute for live bait. Live bait is the fish's favorite and artificial is a distant 2nd. I would take flies over gulp. I have done an artificial baits vs. live bait test and the fish were the ones who chose live bait more often. From what I could see during the test, the fish were spitting the artificial (Gulp) out and not holding on to it as long as they did the natural baits. See Results Here - there is a .pdf breaking down the test results there. Definitely tip your hook or jig with live bait and see improved catches.

By the way - if you are looking for an alternative to the over-priced and over-rated Gulp, I would offer you a link to a better made product here called Red Ball which is an egg imitation with quality attractants.

It is better made, more consistent and much more durable. This product is 2 years old and not many know about it. The material it is made out of can be taken off a hook and put back on over 300 times! This will prove to be much more inexpensive than Gulp. Lastly, when you place this back in the container, it will recharge it's scent after you fish it. All qualities that Gulp doesn't possess - I will write a whole blog post on it coming up. 

This can be found at - not only do I want to take the hype off of Gulp's effectiveness, but I also provided a replacement for it that is better. I am not a big fan of expensive things that people lean on that aren't as good as another method...

Well from my point of view I started the fishing season hard basically ignoring the larger game fish to focus attention on Master angling for panfish. My popular weapons were a small jig and lure ultralight , bobber setup and dropshot setups tipped with crawler segments. I would bobber fish with jigs or bare hooks on both the drop shot rigs and the bobber rigs. I was starting the season on a rampage. The cheapest I could get crawlers were 1.50 a dozen I would go through a dozen crawlers a day. 5 outings a week that’s 7.50 in bait. Add on wax worms and leaches the bill get s bigger. I bought a worm ranch and about 15 dozen crawlers at the beginning of the month from a wholesale outlet and bought any crawlers later at the local bait shop for twice the price. Crickets are .10 to .15 cents apiece cheapest at the pet store. I have used up a half jar of pink maggots from last season and started halfway through my next jar and have caught more panfish in my life in such a short period. I believe I paid 4.00 for the jar. One benefit of switching to gulp was its economy. I have also knocked at the door many times this season with the gulp maggot on master angler bluegill and caught 2 master angler pumpkinseeds and one just short by a 1/16 of an inch. Personally I can’t argue with my success with the maggot and its usually the first thing I throw at them. For some reason crawlers get ignored by gills here in the cold water. Ice fishing is around the corner and I tip a sitka jig with a half maggot. Deadly, deadly deadly.

I was fishing with a cousin earlier this year and and we found a pattern of gills working the depths in about the 15 ft range. He was dropshotting crawler segments and I was using gulp maggots… I was catching multiple fish to each of his one. Mainly the gulp was simply easier to load on the hook while he spent time cutting crawler segments. I eventually had to drop him off at the launch where he could buy another dozen.

In the cold water below 50 degs I had initial problems of fish swallowing the hook changed out to a circle and I was back in business.

Gulp has been a game changer for me… and basically if you have no initial confidence in it like anything in fishing fisherman will have a tendency put it on the back shelf.

Good fishing

I have to agree with Ken here in that there are times when some Gulp products can be quite effective. I have done very well with the 1 inch minnows for crappie during colder, 50 down to 40 degree water temps, and I didn't have to freeze my hands to dip in a minnow bucket. I pay about $5 a jar and they will last me two seasons, catching 10 to 15 fish per minnow. You can't do that with small shiners, that will usually run $3 a dozen in my area. One 10-inch crappie and the shiner is dead or gone off the hook.

The Gulp! redworms have also been very good for us this year. Live nightcrawlers in my region run $3 to $4 per dozen....that's a lot of money! Small garden worms are often a better choice. I would speculate that I have caught and released 500 plus bluegills and sunfish this year that have exceeded the 9 inch mark using some type of Gulp! product, so they can't be all bad.

I tend to keep these handy for a backup, prefering live baits like worms, waxies and maggots, especially in the cold. No, I am not sponsored by these products, only my own wallet. But I will be sure to try out the Gapen Red Ball lineup soon.

I like your discussion and adding the costs in - good points. Some people don't like touching live bait.

Some people are very set in the jarred plastics and no matter what the discussion, many in the camp will continue to use this no matter what. I have learned people will fish differently.

If you are moving that jig and animating it is feasible you can approach the numbers live bait would give you, but not all the way. You saw in my side-by-side tests that live bait was approaching 3x the fish. Are the expenses near 3x the cost then by your calculations? $6.40 jar of bait should then have to out fish about $20 in live bait. Again, I like your cost comparison, but I have scientific data on the live bait vs. artificial side-by-side. Add that to the people on here who will very quickly discount the artificial jar stuff and I think apples-to-apples are in place. What I did say is that that stuff gets way too much attention when in fact your fishing skills and your jigging tactics are probably more of a benefit than you are letting on. If you are very good at jigging and presenting your bait, the Gulp is less effective than you are - it is you that is boosting the numbers. You would be better off with some shards of plastic at a much lower cost than the Gulp. It's you that makes the fish bite.

I don't get to go fishing more than a couple times a month and for me that is prime time where I want to catch the most fish which increases my odds that I score larger fish. I don't want to wait for the action to develop and don't want to go and not catch. Take my last trout fishing outing. 12 anglers walked away with 9 trout near me. Here is the breakdown:

Spinners - 2 Trout

Powerbait - 2 Trout

Live Bait - 5 Trout

The above doesn't tell the whole truth. You see 9 anglers used Powerbait and Gulp and they walked home with zero fish. One angler used a spinner and caught 2 trout. One angler used live bait on light gear and took home a 5-fish limit.

Time is the most expensive element for me and while I like being outdoors- I like some action. I wouldn't want to be the guys who pasted the shores with Powerbait that broke away. They sealed their jars and went home. At least they didn't have to work to fillet any trout...

but .... using floats like ive been the past few weeks is a great equalizer.

my favorite jig with GULP pink maggot tip... i have found gulp is more productive and cheaper than live bait and i have basically quit using live bait altogether since July. cheaper, cleaner and more productive i have found.

I don't fish jigs all that much but there are a few I have tried and spent some time with. There are situations and bites where the jigs will do almost as well or better than a plain hook. I met up with a Hall of Fame angler at a fishing show who makes lures and jigs. These are some really cool products that you should take a look at if you are looking for really well-made jigs with the right features:

Flicker BT is a good one to put a Red Ball at the tip or tip it with live bait

 - Mr. Waxy is a new jig that appeals to a lot of fish year-round.

And the newest cool jig: - SpinBee. These jigs cost a lot in terms of time to create the way they are made.

They are tied so that they can't just come unravelled for long use by 3rd generation fly tying masters. A great fly-jig tipped with live bait for a bit of scent and focus

You can find summer jigs and winter jigs at

the gapen family sure has come up with some cool and unique stuff.i just bought a large lot of OLD gapen flies in the original cards.the muddler minnow is one of the best flies of all time.

I love that you found that. Any chance of trading out or at least sending me some photos of those on the original cards? I am trying to track down old Gapen goodies for the record books.

I can set you up with some flies or Gapen jigs in a swap if you are interested.

Nice looking stuff Johnny

hey Jim Cosgrove  I would love to see that muddler minnow!!  Allen Morgan makes some terrific ones!!    I need to learn how to make those things!!


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