Fishing Tips for Beginners: Bluegill
I’m an avid angler, and I have lots of fishing tips under my belt. I get tips and ideas from various sources – magazines, books, other anglers, and lots of hands-on experiences. I enjoy saltwater fishing the most, but I’m not averse to casting a line into lakes, rivers, or farm ponds, either, for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill. As a matter of fact, I took my grandson bluegill fishing just yesterday. The owner of the pond had warned me that the fish hadn’t been biting, but I’d already promised my grandson a fishing trip, so we went, anyway. As an afterthought, I threw a few bacon strips into the fishing bag, and I’m glad I did! Following are some fishing tips for beginners to use for bluegill fishing, but some will also work for crappie and bass fishing.
With bluegill fishing tips, the most important might be a good working knowledge of baits. Bluegill aren’t especially picky about what they consume, so there are plenty of examples of bluegill bait that you can try, but the same bait might not work every time. I’ve used natural baits like worms, crickets, bread balls, and small pieces of cut bait. Yesterday, the fish seemed to have lockjaw, however. They wouldn’t hit anything – natural baits or artificial baits. When we began using an unlikely bluegill bait, however, things changed.
I had brought along some raw bacon, in hopes of landing a catfish or two. We didn’t catch any whiskered fish, but the bluegill loved the bacon! It was pretty amazing, really. While the panfish totally ignored our other offerings, as soon as a hook baited with bacon was cast, the fish pounced on it. I think this is probably because the fat in the bacon distributed the scent, calling the fish to an easy meal. There can be some unexpected consequences from using bacon as fish bait, though. You might catch a snapping turtle! Jonathan hauled in one yesterday, and it was not a happy camper.
I suggest taking a variety of baits with you on any fishing trips, no matter what you’re fishing for. Fish can be pretty unpredictable at times, so go prepared. If you offer them a buffet, you’ll have a lot better chance of enticing them. Vary your fishing techniques, too, until you find one that works for that specific time and place.
Except for yesterday, I’ve always had good luck using fishing jigs for bluegill fishing. I like the small soft plastics, especially if a little spinner is attached. My favorite fishing jigs for bluegill are Beetle Spins, but any small fishing jigs will work. Sometimes certain colors work better than others, however. I’ve had the most luck with yellow and black Beetle Spins, with the red and white jigs coming in second. I like to keep several different colors and color combinations on hand when I go bluegill fishing. Sometimes when they won’t hit one color, they’ll hit another.
For bluegill, you’ll need jigs that have small hooks, too. The mouths of the fish aren’t very big, and if your hook is too large, you’re going to miss a lot of fish. Make sure your hook is nice and sharp before attaching the jig to your line. Most jigs have a built-in weight in the head, so you might not need more weight on your line. If you do, use a small split-shot sinker. How far above the jig you place the sinker depends on how deep you want to fish. Placing the weight near the jig head will cause your fishing jigs to dive deeper on the retrieve. If you place the weight about two feet above the jig, the jig will remain suspended above the bottom as you reel in.
Beetle Spins aren’t just for bluegill, either. I’ve caught plenty of bass and crappie with them, too. I’ve even caught a few channel cats on them. If you’re fishing for big bluegill, use larger fishing jigs. A Beetle Spin that’s about two inches long, with a split tail, is a good size for big bluegill, largemouth bass, and crappie. If you’re unsure about fishing techniques for these jigs, read on – I’ve included some ideas in my fishing tips for beginners.
Fishing techniques for most panfish aren’t usually complicated. On many days, it’s actually hard not to catch fish. Bluegill can be found most anywhere in a pond or lake, depending on when you’re fishing. Sometimes they’re near the surface of the water, and sometimes they’re near the bottom. They especially like hanging around any sort of cover or structure.
We fished for about an hour around a dock and some grass beds, using natural baits under a bobber. We tried several different depths by adjusting the bobbers on the lines – all to no avail. The fish wouldn’t even look at our little fishing jigs, either. Finally, we tried some bacon, fished right on the bottom, and voila! Jonathan started pulling them in.
On an average day, my fishing techniques for bluegill would comprise mostly of casting Beetle Spins and retrieving them. I suggest varying your retrieve until you find out what works. You might try a quick, smooth retrieve, or a slower retrieve. You might also try reeling in the jig in an up-and-down motion, letting the bait sink almost to the bottom, then jerking it up. This is probably one of the best fishing techniques you can use, actually. It provides erratic movement, which will help get the attention of fish, and it will also allow you to cover several water depths at once.
Bluegill Fishing Tips
Take the poll!
What's your favorite panfish to catch?
More fishing tips:
- How to Tie Saltwater Fishing Rigs
Information on saltwater fishing rigs and fishing knots, with how-to videos.
- How to Catch a Big Redfish - with Fishing Video
Tips for catching big redfish - bull reds. Photos and video included!
- Saltwater Fishing Tips: Free Fishing Baits
Get saltwater fishing baits for free! Great info, including videos.
- Fishing Tips: Flounder Fishing + Fishing Video
Great tips for catching flounder, with fishing video included. Saltwater fishing gear for sale.
- Saltwater Fishing Tips: How to Catch Sharks, with Big Shark Fishing Video
How to catch sharks. Watch the shark fishing videos!
- Fishing the Florida Everglades, with Tarpon Fly Fishing Video
A guide to saltwater fishing in the Everglades. Photos, along with a tarpon flyfishing video, are included.
- Saltwater Fishing Tips: Spotted Sea Trout, with Fishing Videos
Fishing tips for speckled trout. Photos and video included.