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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well said

Thanks for the words of encouragement guys. Much appreciated.

I was feeling pretty sick after finding out I spent all this money on the wrong stuff. I think I can probably fill the last 100ish yards of the rest of my rods/reels with  the 10lb braid and either get some cheap mono or some 6lb braid for this Pfleuger.

I was just forced to make a decision because I was bidding on eBay. I would have normally waited to hear back first. I had no idea the 10lb braid could end up breaking my pole...that's the biggest disappointment/waste of money. I thought the Pfleuger would have been the better reel based on it's ~$10 higher price at most places and it's 6+1 bearings vs. the Sienna's 4 bearings. I don't feel too terrible about that (paid $32 vs. $29.99 for the Sienna).

What would make me feel a lot better is to get the right line on this rod/reel combo now. I have mostly mucky/murky water where I fish, not so much clear. I'd like to be able to cast far and accurate. I'd like to feel the bites and set the hook well. I'd like the strongest line that won't break my pole or strip the gears on the reel. Price is no longer as big an issue as it was although I still prefer the best value that still covers all the desired attributes. What line would you guys suggest?

Again, thanks for all your advice and encouragement. It seems I stumbled upon a great community.

I would opt for the 6lb berkley trilene. the other guys are right though, don't sweat about the small stuff. Get out on the water and do it! It will be awesome to see you progress as an angler in the following months. Definitely valid questions though

I think I'm getting my rod in tomorrow!

Hey Dick Tabbert, do you plan on trying out that 6 lb test Sufix 832 super-line any time soon? That's the line I was looking at too. I was just wondering if you liked it.

I put it on my reel yesterday. I casted it a couple times this afternoon but I really couldn't tell because the wind was in my face. I hope it is terrific for the price I paid for it. I can tell you I am a fluorocarbon fanatic so I will tell you what I really think when I get back out there. I think I may be loosing some casting distance but in all reality the wind was in my face so I'll give it a good try out next time out.

Ya, please do let us know what you think of it.

Hey Craig!

Glad to hear you are getting back into fishin'! I prefer to use ultra light tackle spinning reel with a light weight 6 to 7 ft rod spooled with 6 lb low vis geen line. If you have a good tackle shop in your area, I'm sure the folks there will be glad to show you some options. When the water warms up in the Spring BG can normally be found around structure and weedbeds in 4-6ft of water. Hope this helps!

Craig I'm not a big fan of ugly sticks only because when they first came out they were good rods but when I fished I was usually out all day for 10 to 14 hours a day and I can tell you fishing that long the rods did get heavy. Now in today's market I think they may have address that issue but making the Ugly Stick Lite. The older ugly sticks hold up the much abuse but can't tell you how the lites hold up. I will tell you I bought 2 new rods this year. One was a 5'6" and the other being a 6'. I broke them both and it was my fault not being use to the longer rods. One I closed the garage door on and the 2nd one I broke last week when I opened up the rod storage box grabbed the rod and lifted it out and the wind blew the cover closed on my new rod before I could get it out all the way so I swearing off the longer rods and doing My 4' to 5' rods again. I haven't broke any in that length range yet. Reel I love Pfluegers but to be truthful the quality is so good on most of our reels today if you keep the cleaned oiled and new line you can't wear them out but would like to say more bearings better reels.

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?

Craig... i know this is an old discussion but i hope i can help you or any one else (if you hadnt purchased one already) im currently using the Elite 4 HDI and make my own lake maps that would be stored on a SD card and loaded into the Sonar... no more paper maps... the unit positions you on your map that the sonar recorded for you. i created a lot of this map rowing from my Kayak. i see this unit on sale often for under 200.00.

 

lake map i recorded on the sonar...

12.-How to find a "Honey Hole"?


To over simplify the process:

I view strategic points on my digital lake maps and create waypoints usually the night before. Most of the strategic points would be humps inside turns deep weed edges large flats preferably weedy and drop offs. on the fishing trip I will quickly scan the waypoints with my sonar and note the areas with fish. if there are no visible fish marked on the sonar i dont spend much time on those spots.then go back and fish spots marking the most fish.

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