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How To Fish For Sunfish, A Women's Perspective

Updated on April 17, 2009

Equipment Everyone Needs For Sunfish?

  • A Fishing pole
  • Hooks
  • Sinkers
  • Bobbers
  • Fishing line

Optional Equipment You Might Want To Use

  • The Important Bag
  • A rod and reel
  • Hook remover
  • Sharp fillet knife
  • Fish basket or stringer
  • Scale removing tool
  • Artificial lures
  • A tackle box

First Things First

Getting Ready

No matter what it is, when it is time to take action, most women must first get ready to go. That is generally speaking for the female gender. Getting ready to go, entails a certain set of rituals that men are not likely to adhere to. I say this because of all the times I have invited friends to go along on a fishing excursion, my female friends approach the event with the usual, bathing, dressing, doing their hair, making over their skin, planning for snacks and meals and so on. My men friends, on the other hand, will be ready as soon as they jump in the shower, while the girls guesstimate a time of preparedness and arrival.

Special Things To Consider Before You Leave The House

The weather is a big factor when you go fishing so there are some things to note before you go. I always turn the weather channel on while I am getting ready. This is how I know what to wear, and how to prepare myself, and then I also do a few extra things according to percentages of wind and precipitation. You can listen or watch the weather, while you are in the tub. I like to soak for a while so my skin has time to take in plenty of moisture.

The wind and sun can take a lot out of you in a single day on the water. I would suggest adding some extra moisturizers to the water or before dressing to ensure plenty of protection. I advise putting on your sunscreen as well, that is if you use a sunscreen. The directions say that it works better if applied at least 30 minutes before going out. Be sure and take care of your skin before you get dressed. You can do this while you are deciding how to dress.

You should also think seriously about your hair because the same elements that harm your skin can cause harm to your hair. Use a good conditioner before you go and do it again when you get back from the outing. Your hair takes a beating in the wind and sun. You should decide if you will need a hat or scarf, hair clips, brushes, combs, a head band and so on. I have relatively short hair now but, I use to keep my hair down to my waist so I was sure to braid it back and out of my way. Wearing some kind of a hat is great protection for your hair and it will also serve to protect your eyes to some extent.

You should seriously think about your eyes as well. The sun is hard on them but the added glare from the water is even worse. Be sure to put some UV protecting sunglasses in your handbag. I like to keep some eye-drops handy too. The wind can really dry your eyes out if it picks up and blows all day.

Speaking Of Handbags, What Is The Important Bag?

This is a must have when I go fishing. My best fishing friend and I carry a bag that we have dubbed "THE IMPORTANT BAG" sometimes referred to as "THE NECESSARY BAG" and it is truly a must for female fishing freaks. This is where you will stow your extra sunscreen, sunglasses, corkscrew, eye drops, nail clippers and files, tweezers, a compact mirror, hair ties, pain killers, combs and so forth. Each year I search around and try to find a special bag, one that is washable is preferred, and then I just try to keep it stocked and ready to go. A very important item to always have in the important bag is tissues and or toilet paper. Women can hardly do without this essential. Take care to add any other necessary toiletry items to your important bag. You know how it goes for us women some things you just can't live without.

How To Dress For Sunfishing

Late spring and early summer is the peak times to catch big sunfish. This is because they are spawning during these times and the fish are more aggressive and protective of their beds or the nests where they lay their eggs. Sunfish will bite more rapidly and will often take almost any kind of bait. That is not to say that some baits do not work better than others, but before we move on to coosing bait we must dress properly. Temperatures can fluctuate a good bit in the course of a day on the water. A morning or afternoon trip will call for a bit of diversity in wearing apperal.

I like to dress comfortable as well as functional when I go fishing. The one thing I always do is try to layer my choices. That means having some skimpy garments that fit and feel good under some more protective clothing. I usually start with the idea of catching some rays while I am out and then take into consideration a few other weather elements.

  • Sunshine= sun lotion, a halter top, bathing suit, tank top, sleevless blouse, which will feel comfortable under warmer garments if they are needed.
  • Cloudy SKY= a t-shirt, maybe very light flannel top, a tank top if the temperature is high and also consider the option of adding clothes over this if the weather gets cool.
  • Shorts or pants= this totally depends on personal preferance but I think that a comfy pair of cargo shorts are always great for fishing. I like having a lot of pockets. You can now find pants with removable legs that are awesome for fishing. Many of these are cargo styled with all the pockets and the convienence of shorts or adding the legs when you deem necessary.
  • Cool Weather= a light weight jacket with a hood. This could also be a sweatshirt or a wind breaker, and it could and maybe should be waterproof to some extent.
  • RAIN= It would be wise to have a pocket rain poncho stowed away in that important bag. The thing about a poncho is that they are usually made to drape down over your clothing and will protect your dry clothes underneath. A good option in leu of a poncho is a large plastic trash bag. Just poke some arm holes in the sides at the bottom and a head hole in the middle of the bottom and you have a pretty good makeshift poncho.
  • Shoes= an important choice. Fishing often requires the need for good footing. This is a sport and at times it can become action packed. You should be sure to wear proper foot gear when you go fishing. They have some great choices these days and many of them are designed to withstand getting wet while they will also protect your feet and dry quickly. Consider something heavier if you will be hiking through brush or weeds to get to your fishing location. You may decide a good pair of lightweight waterproof boots are in order. You can find great looking footwear for fishing at most sporting and recreation stores.

About Fishing Poles

The two best choices for sunfishing are cane poles or a rod and reel. First we will consider the cane pole. This is the simplest way to go if you do not want to spend a bunch of cash. You will have to learn a couple of simple maneuvers with this type of equipment but, this is very basic fishing. A cane pole is made from bamboo cane with some varnish added for protecting the cane. There is usually an eye added to the tip of the pole for a line guide and that is about all there is to it. The rigging for this kind of pole consists of a fishing line, a bobber or flotation device, a weight for the line and a hook with bait. Years ago this was what the average person used to catch most fish.

There is also a choice of using a rod and reel when trying for sunfish. This is what I use now but, I started with a cane pole when I was a kid. The thing about the rod and reel set up is that you have many options when you go to purchase this equipment. There are different weight rods and also different kinds of reels. Basically the smaller the fish you are trying to catch the lighter weight rod you will use. Some rods are ultra light and these are fun because the fight is hardier feeling when you do get a fish on your line. The choice is up to you. You might want to consider using a medium rod and reel combo so that you can also use the same equipment when trying for larger fish, like catfish or bass.

I prefer to use an open face reel because I can see the line on the spool and I like that. They also make a push button closed reel that has the line on a spool that is encased with a plastic or metal surround. This was what I used when I bought my first rod and reel. The advantage to these is that they are very easy to learn how to cast. Another advantage is that if you are bank fishing the reel being enclosed keeps dirt and debris from messing up the reel. The protective cover does the job and laying your pole on the ground is not going to damage your reel. Open faced reels tend to be a little harder to cast until you get some practice. They also get beat up when you lay them on the ground or in the rocks. You can use either combo style and it truly is a matter of personal preference.

Rigging Your Line For Sunfish

The most important thing about getting your line set up to fish is how you present the bait to the would be fish in waiting. There is a chance you could catch a fish no matter how you send out your hook but to increase the number of fish you will catch here are just a few suggestions.

  • Use small hooks for sunfish as some of them have very tiny mouths. I like # 4 or #6. Many people will go even smaller but the smaller the hook the harder it is for me to remove it from the fish. The size #4 and #6 are easy enough to get out of the fish and also a good size for baiting.
  • Use small weights. I like to use the split shot in a medium to small size. The tiny ones will need several pinched on the line and the larger ones are just too heavy unless you are fishing in very turbulent water. That would be the only time I use more weight. The idea is to get the bait to the fish with the least amount of weight.
  • Use a small to medium small flotation device such as a cork, bobber, or float. Those are the three names I know of for the same piece of equipment. Purchase a few different sizes all in the small range so that when you get a bite the sun fish will be able to pull the float under the water. The size of your cork is directly related to the amount of weight you will use. Thus more weight will equal the need for a larger float.
  • Hook goes at the end of the line, place the split shot sinker about 10" above the hook and then put the bobber flotation device about 4' above the hook. That is my tried and true set up. You may have to adjust the float up or down as I mentioned because you have to find what depth the fish are hanging.

How Deep To Fish

The depth you set your bait is very important to the amount of fish you will catch. I feel that Sunfish have a tendency to stay in the 3' to 4' area of the water. That is not to mean that you will not find fish deeper or shallower but a general average. It does depend on how deep the water is. Sunfish like to have some place to run to hide so they tend to be located near brush, trees, deep holes, docks and other structure you might find in the water. They also like to hover around weed beds that are underwater.

The first thing I do when Sunfishing is try to locate the fish. I do this by casting out where I think I might find a fish and then slowly retrieving my line by reeling or pulling it in. I watch the line and even the bait if the water is clear enough. The first depth I set my bait at is about 4.5". I try tossing and retrieving a few times and hope for a hit. You will be able to locate the bottom and how deep the water is too. If this does not produce a fish then I move my bait up to about 4'. I will continue casting and slowly retrieving until something hits my bait. For some reason 3.5' to 4' seems to be the magic number for Sunfish.

When you find a fish then stay on that area. Sunfish have a way of clustering together or schooling. The first fish will most often attract more fish. Watch your float so you do not get robbed. Sunfish are masters at stealing your bait. If you find that you are baiting your hook more than you are catching fish then there are 2 things to consider changing. You might want to go with a little smaller hook or you might want to go out a little deeper or to a different location.Very small Sunfish will rob you blind and will be too small to keep. Get out of those little fish and find something larger. Deeper will usually produce larger.

Baits and Lures For Sunfishing

A list of some of the things I use for catching Sunfish.

  • red worms
  • night crawlers
  • crickets
  • grasshoppers
  • bee moths
  • grub worms
  • minnows
  • bacon
  • small jigs
  • tiny spinners
  • doll flys

Live Baits Work Best

Sunfish will bite on almost anything when they are feeding heavy. I am prone to use crickets and bee moths because, they are not as messy as worms. Worms are one of the best baits but I hate the squishy yuck that comes out of them when you put them on a hook. I like grub worms too. My choices are based on keeping my hands out of the yuck. This is a girl thing but I know plenty of men who only use artificial bait for the same reason. It is not that I will not use worms. I have and still do but, the other baits keep your hands cleaner.Grasshoppers aren't too bad except for the brown juice they excrete from their mouth. I do have a great solution for yucky hands.


Now these come in small containers and should always be an essential addition to your "Important Bag". You can bet that I always have at least one and usually both of these items in my bag of necessities. I truly believe tat this is a Girl Thing. Always be prepared. Go fishing, take your pole and your bag and a bottle of wine if you like. Make a day of it. Most of all have fun and bring home some Sunfish for dinner. They are one of the best fish to eat, very tasty and not too fishy. Happy Sunfishing.

Little Girls Love To Catch Sunfish


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    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      I see you have a true understanding of the female gender. Thank you for sharing and I applaud you for winning last week. Hum, must have been love from the very beginning, yeah? You two must have found the perfect union and quite young I might add. Good for both of you friend. Thank you for reading here and sharing with us too. C.S.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      Can not say that I am a fan for fishing,(love eating just not the catching or the cleaning for that matter although being naive I have completed a couple of hubs on the same subject.

      Have been married 50 years and I feel that the female always has to prepare for any form of outing, even if it is a walk to the beach, which we do for 45 mins every day.

      Still I seem to have won something last week.

      We were doing some lady shopping and Val said, perhaps I will do this shopping by myself, in future.

      I have bravely stood by her side, whilst she has completed this kind of shopping for the last 50 years and even before. I have known this young lady since she was five.

      I did have the temerity to tell her when I was nine that I was going to marry her one day. She did not believe me.

    • knolyourself profile image


      10 years ago from Bay Area, Ca

      My God I never realized fishing was so complicated. Now me as a man when I used to fish would think: the pole, gear, bait, chair, food, drink and how to get there.

    • Trsmd profile image


      10 years ago from India

      Nice Aligned Hubpage..


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