Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

AFTER YOU FIND THE GILLS, GO NAKED. JUST A SMALL HOOK WITH A PIECE OF CRAWLER. NO BOBBER OR SPLIT SHOT. I PREFER SIZE 10 LONG SHANK HOOKS, BECAUSE THEY ARE EASIER TO GET OUT. THE SMALLER HOOK I USE THE BETTER LUCK I HAVE & THE WORMS LAST LONGER. I FISH IN MICHIGAN. BUT I HAVE LANDED 14" TO 16" BASS WITH THESE HOOKS. IF YOU FIND BIGGER FISH, YOU CAN ALWAYS USE A BIGGER HOOK.  THIS TECHNIQUE IS BEST USED IN CLEAR WATER WHERE YOU CAN SEE YOUR WORM DISAPPEAR. BLUEGILLS SEEM TO LOVE HITTING THE BAIT ON THE FALL ON THIS WEIGHTLESS APPROACH IS VERY NATURAL.

   LAST JUNE, I CAUGHT ABOUT 50 BLUEGILLS, UNDER A MAT OF LOOSE VEGETATION THAT HAD BLOWN AGAINST A CEMENT WALL. ALSO, DO WELL IN THE HEAT FISHING WHERE THE WATER GOES UNDER THE ROAD, ABOVE A DAM. BLUEGILLS SEEM TO LOVE STRUCTURE & SHADE IN THE SUMMER. I ALSO FISH FROM DOCKS ON A WEEDY FLAT.

  MY FRIEND SAYS HE CATCHED BLUEGILLS ON RED OCTOPUS HOOKS WITH NO BAIT.

  I AM GOOD AT CATCHING OVER 25 IN A FEW HOURS, BUT WOULD LIKE TO CATCH SOME BIGGUNS.

  IF THERE ARE LARGE SCHOOLS OF 6" AND UNDER FISH ARE THERE BIG ONES NEARBY?

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Frank that's always a sure fire way to catch them and I call it finesse fishing which to me means going small and light. Thanks for sharing some of your wisdom with us. I use to fish Bass all the time I was truly a fanatic and now since I fish for gill and crappies with these small jigs I've never caught so many bass and it is truly more fun cause I'm using ultra light rods and reels with 4 and 6 lb test. Lots of fun. OK frank keep the stuff coming and GOOD FISHING......

Nice observation. This is a fun way to fish, and doesn't always depend on seeing the fish themselves.

The brim around here seem to be kinda finicky much of the time.  While the guys around BBG are haulin' in their stringers full of eager, voracious lepomii, I'm lucky to find a few interested 'gills. At least thats how it seems.  But I can usually entice one or two with just half a worm on a plain hook.

As for your last question, it's my understanding that sunfish tend to school by size. Where there are small ones, you wont find many large ones among them. The bigguns *will* be somewhere in the vicinity, but in cover and shade, normally where shallower water transitions to deeper stretches. It is this depth change point and any structure associated with it, like weed-rocks-or-wood, that you want to look for.

Frank , I tried the naked thingy with a little crawler and was arested for indecient exposure.....I tried to tell them it was just a simple way to fish but they would not listen.  LOLRITF

You were just fishing in the wrong place, Vic. In some quarters of San Francisco the only thing odd about fishing naked would be that you were fishing, rather than sitting around in a sidewalk cafe, etc. (no, I ain't makin' this up) :-)

Vic I think you may have scared somebody but don't give up.

My biggest bluegill secret is...when I find a lake or pond that has a lot of 10 inch class gills in it, I keep it's location a secret!

Ten inch gills are definitely a different fish than 6 inch gills. Bigger fish tend to spawn a little deeper, and sometimes a little earlier than the rank and file fish. Also, big roe-laden females are not on the nesting sites very long. If the overwhelming bulk of your gills are running 6 inches or smaller, than the likelihood of you finding 9 to 10 inch fish in that water body is slim. If that is the case, I'd look for another lake, although a true trophy can show up just about anywhere.

I think Jim touches on a very good point here. As Bluegill anglers we know how prolific our beloved fish can be, and we can usually find BG in just about every body of water we may choose to fish. However, as Jim states that most certainly does not automatically guarantee that the big fish are present in that pond. In many ponds and lakes that I have fished over the years the BG maxed out at 6-7". This can be due to several factors, including the over-harvest of prime adult specimens, particularly males.

When fishing an unfamiliar BOW you usually have nothing to go on except possibly the advice of the locals, or what your own angling endeavours tell you. In the latter case, don't always assume that you haven't found the big fish yet, or that the bigger specimens are "smart" and hook shy.

My number one piece of advice to someone starting out, wanting to catch big Bluegills? "Make sure you're fishing water where big Bluegills live". It sounds simple I know, but I've heard statements for years such as " We're catching these little guys, so momma's gotta' be in there too".

Perhaps, but "momma" may not live up to your expectations. There are surprises from time to time, but generally speaking when you find water that produces numbers of big BG, fish it wisely, and appreciate what it has become, and do your best to maintain whatever circumstances allowed it to produce those great fish.

Nice. Thanks.

This is why BBG rocks.

Tony's right, and sometimes it takes several trips to a lake or pond to cipher whether or not large bluegills are even present in that water body. I have seen it numerous times throughout my lifetime, where overharvest of large, adult bluegill has diminished a fishery to the point where 'top-end' fish in the system continue to nosedive, where 9 inch fish were the grade, then 8 inchers, then 7.5 inchers, and even smaller. When a lake can no longer yield quality fish I look else where.

I wish I didn't feel the need to be secretive about public waters that have big bluegills. But the sad truth is that most anglers will almost always catch and keep the largest panfish in a system and seldom, if ever, release 10 inch gills or 14 inch crappies.

I have said it many times...top-end/trophy class panfish are the most vulnerable species to overharvest in public waters, and that can go for ponds as well. Releasing big panfish is still the 'final frontier' in catch and release angling today. It's tough to fish down numbers, but it's easy to fish down size.

Jim, I could not agree more. Over 8" fish around here are getting more and more rare. I try and try to talk to guys about releasing larger panfish, it seems always to fall on deaf ears. They love to catch large gills, but will not due what is necessary, to have them, to fish.

Much of fish regulation is based on bass, pike, walleye and trout because these have been "managed" since the 1880's. All fish were originally split into classes- one (mentioned) for those willing to pay for a fish and game permit and the other set if fish for other people - those who couldn't afford the permits.
Our fish have been managed in this way since, the only difference is we all have to by a license.
Bluegill, crappie, carp, catfish fall into the later category. It is ironic that the apex
Predator does the managing of the aquatic species- only it isn't the DNR (newer Fish & Game Department) it is man walking the water's edge or in the boat that prevents the bass, pike and trout from balancing and kulling the small and weak. It is the angler that creates the small bluegills and the lawn mower - cutting down habitat.
Out of 191 fish caught yesterday there was 1 keeper crappie and 5 bluegills over 8".
I can show you the picture of the 17" and 19" bass going home in the trunk of a Volvo on a rope.

As they say, "Bazzzinga, there you go!"

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