Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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,

-CD

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Hmmmmmm... the fish? Gotta go 4lb or 6lb maybe 8 with the 5'6" Voltaeus in my opinion

I went with 10lb braid which has diameter of 2lb.

I'm only missing a reel. I was asking for opinions on that please.

perfect! i love my avocets

I actually own a Trion 4730GX - it's part of my emergency combo that I bought last fall when I found myself without my gear and needed to fish a client's lake.  It's not a terrible reel, but in my opinion the Shimano is a better reel. 

 

There are people here on the forum that have had great luck with Pflueger, though.  Whichever reel you choose, I wouldn't recommend using ten-pound test line with it and the Voltaeus rod because they're ultralights, not rated for line that heavy.  You could easily break the rod or strip the gears of the reel because they're not made for line that strong.  Also, keep in mind that even though the braid has a thinner diameter, it's not clear like monofilament, which means it's still easier for the fish to see, which is why many fishermen use a mono leader when using braid.  To me, when fishing light line it just makes more sense to skip braid altogether and use mono - one less knot to fail, and less headaches casting and with presentation.

Well, I just messed up on both the reel and the line then. :(

Already bought 10 lb line and Pfleuger reel.

not sure what kind of budget you're on, but 110 yards of berkley trilene 4lb mono is only 3.39

Don't over sweat on things. It will be your experimental set up until you are ready to get another set up based on your understanding. Just make sure maintain the gears well after each use.

Rule #1:  Don't sweat the small stuff.

Rule #2:  EVERYTHING is small stuff.

Said like a pro, no mater what were still gonna have fun.

Pfleuger reel are good reels Craig I have about 10 of them maybe more. If you have an ultra light reel you should tone your line down though. Me personally I use 4 or 6 lb test fluorocarbon but this year I have some 6 lb test Sufix 832 super-line. It is a bit pricey but we will give it a shot matter of fact all the super-lines are pricey so I'm hopen it works beyond expectations.

So i've been reading this thread, and i'll tell you the set up that i run, that is not high dollar and still gets the job done, and hopefully it might help you make a decision.  I have a 15 dollar 5ft shakespeare excursion rod at the moment, usually used to using an ultra light ugly stick though, with a clearance special 30 dollar Okuma avenger a20 something ultralight reel, with stren mono filament clear/blue 6lb test. Not an expensive set up, but it is solid, catches fish, and feels good. 

Trust me, your setup is more than sufficient to hunt for fish for years to come. It's partially about the gears, but the gears don't dictate the acquired knowledge, experience, and wisdom of your catches. A basic 6ft bamboo rod, 100ft of mono line rapped over a small tomato sauce can, and a hook with proper baits will do just as well. Focus on refining your skills to catch various species with a limited gear set. Master your skills, and the new tools you acquire in the future will yield results of a true master of the water. Tight line, fish well, and build up the knowledge and wisdom.

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