Do you love big bluegill?
Hello fellow bluegill hunters!
This is my 1st post.
I haven't been fishing seriously since I was a kid spending entire days out on local docks. I'm looking to get back into fishing and would very much appreciate some advice from you veterans/pros.
I have tons of questions, but no need to answer all of them. Mostly interested in the blue highlighted questions. Just comment on what you feel like (although if you really feel you have expertise on something, I'd really like to hear what you have to say on that subject). Links to helpful answers/articles/videos are cool too.
1.-How to tell the difference between male and female bluegill?
2.-Is it better to keep male bluegill and release the females? Or how do you determine which to keep and which to release to best help population and size for an area while keeping enough to eat?
3.-What is the best way to map out structures (weeds, dropoffs, brush, etc.) and depths of a lake/bayou (topo maps, lake maps, etc.)? Is there a good fishfinder for cheap that would work well on a rowboat? Are there any good lake maps you guys recommend?
4.-How deep of water do the big bluegill school in (in a mucky/weedy body of water)? My bayous are roughly 18-20ft at the deepest points.
5.-What is the best way to fish for bluegill in deeper water (best bait/setups [slip bobber, jigs, tubes, etc.]/depth)?
6.-What is the best way to catch big bluegill in early spring before they move to the spawning beds? I'm not sure what water temps are currently...is there some kind of temp gauge you can drop down into the deeper water to record temps? Is there some online site where I can find water temps?
7.-What is the best size pole (and brand/action) to use to catch bluegill/bass/perch/walleye (mostly bluegill)? My brother really likes the ugly stik brand. He says he also loves a 5'6" size, but I've heard conflicting arguments suggesting a bigger size (6'6" to 7' mostly). I really liked the 5'6" size for precision casting under overhanging trees and such when I tried it, but I'd also like to be able to cast far, create correct jig/lure movement, set the hook properly, and good strike detection. If you could include an Amazon link for your recommendation that would be awesome. Also, I'm pretty confused by all the light/med/heavy action stuff if you could help clear that up.
8.-What is the best reel to use to catch bluegill/bass/perch/walleye (mostly bluegill)? I'm considering the Okuma Avenger ABF 30 Graphite Bait Feeder Reel, but maybe the ABF 20 would be better?
9.-What is the best # line to use to catch bluegill/bass/perch/walleye (mostly bluegill)? I was/am considering 6 lb Berkley Fireline (Crystal, 300 yds), but I read somewhere that thickness-wise it's equivalent to 2 lb mono, so I'm not sure if it will properly fill my reel to within 1/8 inch.
10.-Will ultra light (4/6lb?) line cast lightweight (foam spiders/nymphs/flies) lures well using other ultra lightweight equipment (pole/reel/etc.)?
11.-What is the best way to fish with crickets?
12.-How to find a "Honey Hole"?
13.-What depth to fish at what temp?
14.-Is "baiting" legal (West Michigan)? What to use (rabbit pellets, bread, corn, etc.)?
15.-Is sinking stumps/brush legal (West Michigan)?
Thanks for any help,
i owned this rod since fall 2011. i have since bought the 4.5ft, 7ft and now plan on ordering the 7.5 fter.... love these rods!
I personally like the 5'6" ultralight shimano for all around gill fishing with 4lb test.
I recently picked up and Okuma avenger reel, but it is an ultra light model. But based on how solid it feels and how smooth it is for the price i got it at, i would definitely recommend it!
Getting a Ultra-Light reel/rod i know about. Go to your local Wal-mart Mirco-light it's 5'6'' Ultra-Light and cost only $20.00. Had mine for 3yrs I catch everything on it. Rod/Reel are perfect.
Sorry I mean Mirco Spin.
HEY CRAIG, if you listen to Leo he won't steer you wrong!! You are fortunate coming to this site because of Leo and lots of others here who will more than willingly share info. The 5'6" rod is what I use most of the time . I use old gear from the 60's but have and have used ugly sticks and as a matter of fact always have one on hand for backup in case I destroy one of my old Shakespeare Wonderods.
TIGHT LINES AND TALL TALES
I ALSO LIKE THE 4'9" UGLY STICK ONE PIECE
Craig, Okuma seems to me to be a knock-off of Shimano, similar to Kia in cars trying to be like Honda. I don't personally own any Okuma tackle, but a guy I went fishing with last weekend had one Okuma spinning reel among the Several Shimanos he had, and I asked him what he thought of the Okuma, and his answer was pretty lukewarm. He also noted that it didn't compare to Shimano.
I just know that the Voltaeus I tried at Bass Pro was a far better UL rod than most of the more expensive ones I tried, and as far as action, it was hands-down the winner, even over more expensive rods. Most factory rods these days are completely unsuited for live bait fishing - they're far too stiff. The UL Ugly Stick is a perfect example - I own one so I know.
If bluegill are your primary interest, as they seem to be, I'd get the Voltaeus. Just my $.02.
Well, that's definitely on my list of rods to try out Walt. When you say it has good action, are you saying med/fast is less stiff (bends top 1/3 to 1/2 way down vs. just the tip with a fast/ultra fast) and that's what I want? Will I still be able to jig, set hook, and cast light weight artificials well vs. using a fast or ultra fast action rod?
Also, is an ultra light pole likely to break if I happen to have a big northern or walleye grab a 1/2 crawler some day?
I use lures regularly, and my rods are slow-action, i.e. much more limber even than the Voltaeus. I prefer limber rods because I use live bait a lot, and they not only keep the bait on the hook better but also allow me to cast many times farther with little or no weight, which can mean the difference between catching big 'gills and catching no 'gills on many days. You'll be able to cast lightweight lures such as 1/32 or 1/64 oz. jigs, much farther with a slower-action rod.
A cheapo rod might very well break - another great reason to buy quality, i.e. Shimano. I've caught catfish up to ten pounds on six-pound-test with very light-action rods; I also fought about a fifty-pound grass carp for just under two hours on six-pound-test two years ago, and neither the line nor rod broke - the hook finally pulled out when a well-meaning buddy of mine who was fishing with me tried to net the fish before it was ready. If you get a quality rod, the line should break before the rod does.
Walt smacked it on the head with the rod action type. I have a magnaglass type from Bass Pro (also Bass Pro generic brand copied from Kencor for $20), very slow action, but man, it cast better than my 4wt fly rod. It rated for lures that is down to 1/32oz, but I casted jigs that were 1/100oz, and similar fly lures just as light, very long distant. It's one of my cheap and awesome go to rod when I'm casting lures while I'm on the water, and close to the very tight weed beds. That rod was able to put much better fight with large fighters than my medium-heavy rods designed to hunt large games. I broke my favorite heavy rod on a large monster earlier within 15 minutes, while my ultra light were able to land large monsters time after time without fear of breakage. The three rods were from Quantum, Plueger, and Browning, until they all met their accidental demise from my idiocy. I did replace all my ultralight with one from Berkley, the Kencor rip-off that I'm truly happy with, and one from Quantum that also stand side by side with the Shimano middle grade.
As Walt has pointed out, cheapo can break easily, but at the same time, so can the high quality. It's about the check and balance of price, performance, and reliability. An example is a guy I know, spent a huge chunk on a $150 rod, and end up losing to a 18lbs cat, while I spent on a $35 rod, and fought so many monsters from the water I hunt at, yet, have to be fearful of breakage from all the battle. The best bet is to do all the research you can on the rods you think are the potential buys, then make decisions your finding. We are here to provide you experience and insights. For me, I'm still learning from these masters, who have light years of wisdom and knowledge to offer. David (Tooty and David Hutton), Jefferey, Bruce, Dick, Bill Modica, just to give you a few gurus here have such as vast knowledge on rods and reels setup that it makes nearly an impossible definitive answer on one specific setup to chase after. It's all about trials and errors after you find the proper specs to look for both the rods and reels.
I know everyone has these stories but I landed a nine pound carp in heavy current with 4lb test with a 5'6" Voltaeus rod. If you play the fish in a reasonable way, you'll at least break the line before the rod. Northerns will bite off, and walleyes honestly don't quite fight quickly enough to cause huge problems.
Pflueger Trion GX-7 4730GX vs. Shimano Sienna SN1000FD (or in the $19.99-$39.99 price range if you have a better suggestion)
Who wins when paired with 5'6" Shimano Voltaeus rod and Power Pro 10lb braided line?