Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I was wondering if you can catch BG when it gets dark, I did read that they find food mostly by sight. 

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I'd say it's not worth the trouble. It is known that they will feed at night under the right circumstances, but it isn't something to hang your hat on.
Bass, however, will actively feed at night. They are attracted mostly to noise after dark, and black (dark) seems to be the color of choice for nocturnal bass baits. The thinking is it creates a better silhouette against the night sky. Poppers, gurglers and chuggers are typical starlight bass lures.

Interesting thought. I personally have never have caught a bluegill at dark but crappies and bass always are pleased with a morsel at night. I never personally never targeted bluegills in the evening but usually fishing for crappies I catch them but never at night. Interesting concept to say the least.

I've never caught a 'gill at night.  I have, however, watched two 'gills eat nymphs of some kind that were drawn to my green LED light last Fall.  I'm hoping to find a way to catch them, and other fish, doing this in a few months :)

Last year  I caught quite a few gills after dark. Started out by accident and then just kept hanging around to see if there was any surface activity and as soon as I saw it threw out one of my little spiders, floater, and went to catching fish....

So there you are, floating buggy things at night.
Makes sense.
Maybe a little gurgle pop would work.

 That why bluegill are  called  Sunfish !    LOFR

I've went through great lengths trying to catch quality gills at night over the years with very little success.........Some of the best Crappie fishing I've ever done was at night.........we know Mr. Whiskers uses that sense of smell like no other and also feeds at night........and I've caught some beautiful largemouth after sunset too, but gills have been few and far between.....Even on lakes like Toledo Bend and Santee Cooper I've purposely hit locations the night after killing gills during the day and not much action including during the spawn......But I'm just one angler sharing my results or lack there of at night........And I have grown up loving the opportunity to fish at night.......It does appear that sunfish rely on sight for most of their feeding patterns........

MATT

Hi my grandpa told me bluegills and birds sleep at the same time! We'd sit on the pier and miss supper because we want to catch one more but they were sleeping and we were starving by the time we'd go in.

Thanks for all the replies!

Fishing a popper called a glo-popper (glow in the dark) has produced many quality catches of after dark gills.  Make sure to recharge frequently by shining a flashlight on it.  It's a somewhat popular practice in the low country of South Carolina a way to beat the heat. Some fish the glo-popper on a telescoping rod similar to fishing with a cane pole. I just used my fly rod though. Haven't tried it here in Virginia as the climate is a little friendlier also being retired I can fish anytime.

Hmmm. I have never heard of a glo popper. But it is an interesting notion, I admit. Not hard to make, either. I'll have to head to the drawing board and see what I can cook up.

I'm one who thinks bluegill probably do feed after dark, although my feeling is they are selective about it. Not all aquatic organisms upon which they might feed are active in the dark, so the bluegill probably tend to lay low unless something draws their attention.

But I'll bet we've come to think they're closed mouth at night because most bluegill fishing methods rely on our own vision to work. If we cant see the float, rubber spider or line tip, for example, how are we going to know there's a fish on? This then leads us to fish for other things, like catfish. Eventually, we come to think they don't bite at night and a body of lore develops around that notion.

From what little I know about these things, the only freshwater game fish that turns off and actually "sleeps" at night is the yellow perch. I can tell you this - the bluegill I've kept in aquariums were active at night, even when the lights were off.

The thing about catching fish at night that bothers me most, though, is the same problem all nocturnal activities share - you can't see anything! It is hard to tie knots, or fiddle with bait and you run the risk of dangers you might otherwise avoid if you just waited until sun-up. This might not be so bad in deeper water from a boat, for example. But bluegill, at least, tend to run among shallow cover once the lights go out.

The fish can then lead you on a merry chase and you can't see where they might be heading. You could be led straight for branches or weeds and be tangled up before you know it - and you are hard pressed to stop it. I've had it happen while bass fishing at night.

On high moon nights, this concern is lessened because your eyes adjust readily to such conditions. The rods in your retina kick in to grant you functional grey scale (black-white) vision and you can see, after a fashion. Bluegill, in fact, have about the same distribution of rods and cones* as our own eyes. Both of us are adaptable to night vision, if you want to think of it like that.
* If you recall your basic anatomy, rods give us colorless vision in low light, while cones give us color vision under bright light.

On nights with less ambient light, or to help with tying knots and such, you could run artificial lights to help YOU see. This is actually very cool, and most night fishing done from the bank includes a lantern to keep you from stumbling around the fishing spot in the dark. But this might just as likely spook the fish (more about this in item 2, below).

Worse, however, is that bright lights at night destroy your night vision. All of us have probably experienced this when we left a lighted area after dark and suddenly cannot see a foot in front of us. Your eyes were adapted to the brightness - so now you have to wait until they adjust to the dark.
Or, lets say it's a bright moonlit night and you have been fishing in the dark. Good for you. But, you want to tie on a new lure, so you flick on a headlamp - and are instantly blinded. This is the same scenario, in reverse. You just crashed your adapted night vision for the next 10-15 minutes.

NOTE: All utility lighting employed at night should be red. This color preserves your night vision.

There's good news, though. There are two artificial lighting scenarios that can help beat these problems.

1. Run a UV lamp, and use fluorescent lines and leaders.

Under UV light, these lines practically jump out at you from the dark. This is, after all, their intended purpose. Any movement, such as a bite or take on your line, is signalled to you immediately. This could be a logistical challenge for bank walkers and waders like Mathew, however. These lights require hardware and power supplies to operate and that's kind of hard to manage while you're waist deep in water, working a fly rod or watching out for overhangs and hungry leopards! This solution is better employed from stationary bank positions or boats, where you have more capacity to carry the needed gear.

2. Run a submersible "fishing light."

Now, here IS a stroke of genius. These lights are both portable AND stationary. The difference here is you carry the light to a likely spot and physically submerge it in the water, then relax. You remain in the dark, but the light creates a new world around it that you are now privy to observe. The subdued light they emit then begins drawing photoplankton, tiny micro-organisms which are normally dormant after dark. This microbial life in turn draws larger critters like nymphs and scuds to feed on the plankton. Once this occurs, bigger predators appear, and so on. It's the Circle of Life, played out before you!

After a while, the field of light is alive with swimmy things and larger fish come to lurk along the edges, hoping for an easy meal. You have, literally, created a feeding ground around your lamp. This takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to occur, which is why I suggested you relax after setting up the light. Bring a radio, maybe, or a recorded book to occupy you while you wait.

Our field correspondent in Oklahoma, Allen Morgan, has used these lights and reports they work very well. He has also noted the presence of bluegill in the field of his light, drawn to the aquatic critters swimming in the lamps glow. This says the lights work as intended and that bluegill will feed if the right conditions exist.

Personally, I prefer catfishing after dark. But, wait  - you could combine the light and the kitty fishing into one Grand Nocturnal Angling Scheme. YES!

Back to the drawing board!

I've done A LOT of catfishing at night.  Some things to think about:

A lighted float.  There are a couple different basic types.  One type is available at Wally World, and takes two or three button batteries.  Those power a LED light.  I've got one, and use them for catfish.  Really interesting to use.  However, I tend to rig them as slip-floats, and have actually thrown one off my line.  They aren't a "center-slider" type float; the line clips into a sliding mechanism on the bottom.  I also have a "center slider" that unscrews on the top, and you can put one of those lithium-battery LED lights into it.  I have yet to use this....  I also use the little rubber sleeves that fit over the top of a slip-float, and you can fit one of those lithium-battery LEDs or a small "glowstick" type of chemical light.  Those work nice as well.

On the subject of submersible lights, look around.  Some are powered by AA's and AAA's, while the bulk are powered by a 12v battery, and are designed to clip to the posts on a boat battery.  I know I saw one model that floats just on top, has the green LEDs underwater, and UV LEDs above water, so that the green light draws in fish/bait, while the UV light helps you to see your line.

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