Bluegill fishing for beginners

Where to Start Bluegill Fishing

Most anglers start out fishing on small local lakes and ponds close to home or on camping trips as a kid. There is nothing more thrilling than catching several fish, no matter how advanced your specie hunts have become. Bluegill will almost always allow you to bring a bunch of fish home in a short amount of time. You may not find a tournament offering up mass prizes for bluegill fishing but just about all fishermen have spent some time catching these sunfish (or several) in their day. There is certainly no shortage of these small panfish. Females have been known to spawn between 7-9 times per year.

What to Know About Bluegill

This sunfish is extremely popular in the US and can be found in many waterways around the country from urban to rural areas. Knowing their diet, habitat and favorite seasons will help any angler have a great bluegill catching experience. Although bluegills are known as the bottom of the bottom feeders, don’t let that deter you. These sunfish can put up a serious fight making for a fun yet simple fishing day. You’d be surprised how a 4-5 pound bluegill could bend your rod, that is, if you can find one that size nowadays.

Bluegills are often the choice meal for other fish, making them especially vulnerable to other species. Also, the males tend to stick around and protect their egg nests and snap at anything making way towards the nest assuming it’s a predator. This can make them an easy find and catch during the spawn. In small lakes and ponds, they typically find a surface to spawn anywhere between 1-4ft deep, making the old rod and reel the best way to catch. Finding a big one can be pretty rare due to bluegill “cuckholding,’ where young yet sexually mature fish sneak into absent nests when the older males are not present, spreading inferior and young genes on. But even small gills make great fillets, hence the term panfish. They are typically caught for eating versus sport fishing.

Where to Find Bluegill

The key to a good gill catch is finding the right body of water. It is not common to find many hotspots that contain both quantity and drool-worthy sizable bluegills. Fishing for these sunfish is much easier when concerned about quantity versus looking for a trophy sized fish. When searching for quantity, typical ponds and lakes that have been fished upon over and over are notable. Otherwise, bodies of water that don’t get as much traffic tend to grow bigger bluegills. They prefer clear, quiet and still water where they can catch some sunshine along the shore. This allows for a great vegetation for their food sourcing and places for spawning. These shallow water fish are most active at dawn and dusk, spending most of the afternoon dwelling in shady spots. As summer heat increases, they tend to find deeper and cooler water, typically around 10-12 ft deep to lurk around.

Proper Equipment and Techniques for Bluegill

Now that you know where to go, the right tackle is next on the list. Lightweight rods and lures are typically best. Micro Jigs and Spinnerbait can be very effective and enticing lures for bluegills. As for live bait, a good old worm or cricket can do the trick. Regardless of the bait, the key is to move and fish slowly as these fish typically feed off of insects. Bluegills have small mouths so keep that in mind when choosing your hook size. When using live bait, use just enough to cover the hook. Bait should be fresh. You won’t get too far with a slow moving cricket.

Looking for bluegill is perfect for using small boats or even offshore and on bridges. It is also a great fish to start teaching others on. This quiet catch can result in a very relaxing day near the water and cooler filled with dinner. Never underestimate the nostalgia of the old hook and bobber that most sport anglers started with in their early childhood days.

Have you ever been lost in the fishing and found yourself stuck with a huge question? Want a pro answer? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!


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Brent is a Sponsored Bass Angler from Murfreesboro, TN, where he is enjoying the single life of a tournament fisherman.

Brent is a Sponsored Bass Angler from Murfreesboro, TN, where he is enjoying the single life of a tournament fisherman.

Travis is a lifelong fishing enthusiast from the Gulf Coast of Texas. He specializes in salt water and coastal fishing.

Travis is a lifelong fishing enthusiast from the Gulf Coast of Texas. He specializes in salt water and coastal fishing.

Chef Bobby is a Chef and Cookbook Author. He loves to share his knowledge of cooking and handling of fish with our community.

Chef Bobby is a Chef and Cookbook Author. He loves to share his knowledge of cooking and handling of fish with our community.

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