Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

First post here, thanks for the great forum.

Ive been fishing all my life but I've decided this season to concentratre solely on big bluegills, with artificials as primary. There is a ton of good informtion here and Im busy reading what you folks have to say.

But I confess to remaining confused on color selection for bluegill lures. I live in South Carolina and most of the water here is either stained from tannic acid or turbid, like that seen in farm ponds or large impoundments. Less often do you find what might be called clear waters...

 

So my question drives to each of these conditions. What are the best lure color choices for each of these water types:

1. Stained

2. Turbid

3. Clear

 

And if you were to pick the FIVE top colors, the one you wouldn't be without - which would those be?

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Steve, Jeff, Dewayne.... Thank you, guys! To summarize, how does this sound?:

 

  • Fluorescent colors work best in stained water.
  • Bright colors in deeper water
  • The more clear the water is, natural food source colors are best.

 

I know I have a lot of fishing to make up for – it has been a while since I was going 4+ times a week. To think, I used to live to fish...

Next task is to put together a list of small waters to fish, locally – ponds, creeks, river banks, small lakes, etc. I'll do that this week. I reckon its better to go more often to these backwater places than to spend money and time driving to fish the big lakes every once in a while.

Within the next 6 months, I'm looking out for a boat... just something to get out on the water with. I'd be alright with a canoe, to be honest.

I'm mainly focusing on jigs and spinners for my “tackling up” right now. So I'm putting all this stuff into a list, to make sure I have the colors we come up with. So you guys are really helping a “brim returnee” keep up with you experts. Keep 'em coming and I'll put it all up for everyone to see.

 

Big Bluegill rules!

I think your summary is good. If you are mainly focusing on artificials, allow me to add a a few suggestions. These may have already been mentioned and I just didn't see them when I read through the thread:

1. Southern Pro bream bugs - love these baits in cricket/white and black/chart. sparkle

2. Southern Pro panfish and crappie stingers - that undulating tail drives the gills (and other species) nuts. can't go wrong with red/chart. or black/chart.

3. 3/4 inch tube jigs - I can't remember the brand but I stumbled on some 3/4 inch tubes in white, chartreuse, and a clear chart. sparkle. Awesome when used with a 1/64 oz. jig head.

4. Southern Pro small tubes in 1.5" OR their triple tip grubs - I don't work for southern pro but I use their soft plastics. I caught over 100 gills, crackers, pumpkinseeds, and redbreast sunfish last summer in East Texas using a chartreuse 1/32 ounce jig head with a 1.5" red/chart. triple tip. We also caught spotted bass, largemouth bass, and blue cats on the same rig. Good stuff!

I typically add a little sweetener in the form of a crappie nibble or a small chunk of crawler. Smelly jelly isn't a bad option either.

My best color for stained water:  Black with green tail

My best color for turbid water:  Chartreuse

My best color for clear water:  Silver/Shad/Ghost

 

Top five colors of all time:

1.  Black/green

2.  Chartreuse

3.  Silver/shad/ghost

4.  Black

5.  White/red

Now this is what Im talking about - thanks fella's! Now where's my order form?

I found this interesting:

"Bluegills are popular game fish, caught with live bait, flies, corn, small crankbaits, spinners, American cheese pushed around a hook, maggots, or even a bare hook.

They mostly bite on vibrant colors like

  • orange,
  • yellow,
  • green,
  • red,

chiefly at dawn and dusk."

I found this in Steven L. Wuderle's book, "New Techniques That Catch More Bluegill" :

"When Steve (Vogt) says a small jig, he isn't kidding. He suggests anglers use 1/64-1/32 oz. jigs. Steve has found through experimamntation that there are two basic color patterns. The two he recommends are... 

  • 1. Yellow hair jig
  • 2. Mini jig with black body and chartreuse curly tail

When fishing is really tough, he tips the bait with a wasp larvae or wax worm."

 

Uh, oh. Yellow hair jig and black/chartreuse? Thats It?

I have a gazillion grubs and tube bodies, in every color of the rainbow - and more on the way! :-)

 


A lot of good  information here. I like the firetiger patterns when using the little teeny cranks and F3 Rapalas. It seems to be a good all around lure pattern. I have to say that the rivers around here that white/pearl are terrific colors. And one of my favorite lures that won't set you back much but is exremely effective is a beetlespin. Plus you can change the color on them as needed.

 

I fish almost exclusively from a canoe when not on the bank and love it. Keeps a low profile, is nice and quiet and can get you places other boats can't reach. Kayaks are nice but my back can't take it and I like the extra storage room in a canoe. Just my two cents.

Thanks for the reply, Mike. Ive been concentrating on jigs as I "gear up" for this season. But I've seen the Firetiger patterns, which strike me as yellow perch-like. I'll get around to crankbaits as the season grows warmer and Ill look for some in the Firetiger line.

 

As for canoes, you and I are on the same page. I am most familiar with them. I have been looking at some other types, but would feel most comfortable in a canoe as a "man-powered" boat. Like you, I like to poke into the secluded waters, far from the madding crowd. I saw a portage canoe in the weeds at a place yesterday. I going to stop in the next few days to inquire about it.

Hey David, First of all, welcome to the site.  I handpour my own soft plastic 1" curl-tail grubs and tube jigs and experiment with a lot of colors.  I have found that bottom bouncing a black curl-tail with red pepper (glitter) works well.  Also, chartreuse with red or black glitter works well.  Having talked with a lot of the local panfishermen and ladies here in Ga., most of the consensus is a combination of chartreuse and another color combination.  Again, I use a 6' ultralite rod spooled with either 4 or 6 pound test line.  I fish them slow and off the bottom.  With all due respect to our bretheren panfishermen and ladies here, I believe that experimentation with a variety of shapes and colors (keeping plenty in your tackle box) is the way to go.  Nick Holt.

Hey David, First of all, welcome to the site.  I hand pour my own soft plastic 1" curl-tail grubs and tube jigs and experiment with a lot of colors.  I have found that bottom bouncing a black curl-tail with red pepper (glitter) works well.  Also, chartreuse with red or black glitter works well. 

 

Thank you for the welcome, Nick. Black seems to be a universal color, either alone or in combination. I'm not certain about how well bluegill see colors, but from my research I believe they see at least a limited range. It may be rather extensive, being as they are fishes of the light.

Regardless, most "creatures" on their menu tend to be dark in color, especially in the first part of the season. Your black/red glitter bouncer sounds something resembling a small crawfish, to me.

 

Having talked with a lot of the local panfishermen and ladies here in Ga., most of the consensus is a combination of chartreuse and another color combination.

 

And then there is chartreuse. This one seems to be another universal color, along with yellow, white, black/brown and green. This one eludes me, however, as nothing comes close in their natural forage suite. I'm guessing that under water, in filtered light, it resembles something to the brim that doesn't click with OUR logic. Black/chartreuse is another of those combinations that always pop up.

As for the glitter element, I'm not sure - I suspect that it appeals to the fisherman as much as the fish. But I'm not aware of any studies that compare glitter or a lack of it, so it's just my opinion.

 

I fish them slow and off the bottom.

 

The "bottom" is yet another universal element to catching big bluegill. The larger specimens tend to favor deeper water and 6-14 ft seems to be the right range - just off the bottom qualifies, depending on the individual body of water. If there is cover nearby, like weeds or wood, so much the better.

Brim are also not "fast" fish - they don't run their prey, they ambush it. I think of them as 'hover and snoop' fish, poking and nosing around for their food. This jibes with their natural forage, aquatic invertebrates and insects. The shape of their bodies makes them able to turn on a dime, but they are not speed demons.

 

With all due respect to our bretheren panfishermen and ladies here, I believe that experimentation with a variety of shapes and colors (keeping plenty in your tackle box) is the way to go.

 

Here I tend to agree with you. While I want to mark out a basic color suite for bluegill, based on their natural forage, I also want to have the resources on hand to offer something different should it be needed. You never know what might work, or what the fish are feeding on down there in the depths. Again, constants exist. It can usually be determined what they fish are feeding on once you catch a few.

But variations abound, too... at times it the fish have a mind of their own. I also know that snow white, vibrant yellow and that darned chartreuse work as well as anything at times. I personally think much has to do with the very nature of the Centrarchidae clan, themselves. They are naturally curious and assertive when they are feeding.

Now, they can be finicky, depending on everthing from the water color to the barometric pressure. But they live to do two things: eat and breed.

They can often be goaded into feeding with the right presentation. Like you, I think you should be prepared to give them BOTH what they are used to  - - and something radically different if needs be.

 

 

 

 

David, You've seen that lots of guys used chartreuse, and,often a combo of chartreuse with black,green, or something similar. The good people at Fish-n-spin have used chartreuse/black or green tubes with their little (1/32oz) overhead spinner, but had a terrific time last season with their 3/4" CHARTREUSE tiny soft plastic CRAWFISH body and a copper overhead willow blade.As you say, something differant can yield super results!

Yeah, then theres this:

 

"Looking for that lovely lure bluegill will find irresistible? Spinnerbaits, microjigs and ice tick jigs all work well. Miniature soft plastic lures and small tube jigs also are effective. Chartreuse, pink and white are good colors for soft plastic jigs. Leadheads that have been tipped with twister tails, rubber grubs or marabou feathers are all excellent choices." - from 'How Stuff Works'

 

A pattern is emergin', I think...


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