Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

i'm in a quandary here.  i plan on picking up another rod to be used primarily for gills.  i currently own a st. croix premier 6' light power rod as well as a 6' gander mt. ul rod (ugh).  i thought about a st. croix premier 6' ul, but they seem a bit whippy.  any ideas or advice.  

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btw, i plan on throwing small jigs and possibly light hooks and a float with this.  

Have you picked up one of the new St. Croix panfish rods?? I have one in 6' and love it.

tony, i would love to, but i am relegated to a two-piece rod so i can leave it in my trunk.  ratz......... 

Well, when I'm fishing ultralight rods for bluegill (and that's the only thing I will ever fish for a bluegill, I don't see the need to up to a light rod for a fish that doesn't even weight 1 pound, lol) I always like to have a fast action rod.  That will make it less 'whippy' and give you harder hooksets, and increased sensitivity for light bites.  The UL you have is probably a moderate or slow action one, because I have an ultralight that is fast action, and it is not whippy.  It's a LITTLE whippy, but come on, any rod that's as thin as an ultralight is going to be somewhat whippy because it's so thin. 

So personally, I'd recommend you a 5' 6" Fast Action Ultralight Rod.  The one I use is a Shimano Stimula...5' 6" fast action, graphite composite.  Yes, I'd prefer it to be graphite, and not graphite composite, but it's a REALLY nice rod for 25 dollars...It's survived battles against 22 inch largemouth, and pike, as well.  Spool it with 2 lb mono.  In my own humble opinion, anything over 3 lb line is too much for bluegill, since even the biggest bluegills in the lake tend to get to be only 1 lb at full size (and very, very few bluegill grow to be full size.  Even if you get a 2 lb bluegill on, you could still take him with 2 lb line, or if you were using 1 lb line, you could still take him, you'd just have to play him, and not muscle him in.) 

In fact, I honestly think 2 lb line is also overkill for bluegills.  I'd buy 1 lb line if it were widely available. 

But yeah, definitely stick with the ultralight if you wanna get the most fun fishing for bluegills.  They really are amazing fish.  I think they fight harder than any other fish, pound per pound. 

It is really kinda hard to say, as a Light action rod of one brand will feel like another's Ultralight. Sometimes they vary even with the same brand. I try and find one that feels good to me, regardless of what label they choose to put on it. I recently bought a 5'6" ESP  spinning rod from Norsemen Outdoors and love it. It has a fast action, super sensetive,with micro guides, and casts like a dream. It weighs just 3oz.. It is rated for 2-6 lb. line, and feels great when fighting a fish. Hope this helps you some, Rich. 

Hey, so, you said 'ugh' after you mentioned the ultralight rod.  I was actually thinking of purchasing that rod.  May I ask what you dislike about it? I'd be quite interested to know. 

josh, i really don't care for the weight of the rod.  it seems a lot heavier than my st. croix light action.  i matched it up to a quantum catalyst and keep it as my 'trunk rod'.

any other input on the light vs. ultra light? 

I'd go for the whippy one.

There is a maxim today that seems to describe the ultralight outfit:

"Make it short and stiff."

The trouble is, I don’t want that. Invariably, the ultra-light rod of today is stiffer than I like for this sort of work. Personally I prefer a limber rod, one that might be called a slow tip, light power design. Usually this is something that is heard of in fly-rods, but not so much in casting rods.  

As far as length goes, I want a minimum of 6’. Anything less makes casting U/L tackle difficult. Simply put, today’s commonplace UL rod is both too stiff and too short to suit me.

Keep in mind, I'm also not likely to buy a rod with "Premier" in the name. LOL

I agree with everything David said - UL rods these days are often far too fast in action (stiff) and therefore won't cast very light lures well.  These fast-action ULs are also terrible for live-bait fishing as the stiff action throws the bait off the hook, whereas a limber (slow) action does not.  

Rich, if you're still looking for a rod, and St. Croix is in your price range, I make custom rods, and bluegill rods are my specialty.  I make everything from super-UL 5' rods that are slower in action than most factory rods, to 6'6" super-UL rods made on 2-weight fly rod blanks that are significantly slower than any factory rod of that length, to rods from 7' to 9' made on fiberglass fly rod blanks that are truly slow-action and will cast live bait a country mile...

Here are photos of a couple:

beautiful work Walt,got too many other things going on to get into rod building and any as pretty as those rods i would be scared to use any way.but i am also a fan of the slower rods as i fish with flies and very light jigs .with the tiny fireline i use i feel every thing and want that soft action to cast with.just landed a 3 lb trout in brush on an old shakespeare 5 ft composite ultralight .the soft rod also helps if you hook a larger fish when panfishing.lots of guys around here used to have those flyrod blank spinning rods made for lake perch off the walls in chicago,they were great rods

WALT TRUELY STUNNING WORK!!! CAN'T SEE THE THREAD WORK BUT FROM WHAT I CAN SEE THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS FOLKS. I've made 300+ rods over the years and these are stunning to say the least. ONe reason I never used wood instead of cork Walt was the weight difference, but then that's all personal preference anyway....... I presume the but plate is Sterling or Aluminum? No matter how ya slice it these are works of art.............

That is a beautiful cork handle. Did you turn that one your self?

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