in small lakes and ponds have start bedding in
May and June, bringing these most tasty of our
fresh waster fishes into reach of every angler
with the desire to chow down on a good spring
dinner of fried gill fillets served up with
a wilted lettuce salad.
better is that once theyve entered this
season, bluegill become one of the most aggressive
fish in the lake, not matter what their size.
Throwing caution to the wind, both sexes will
attack just about anything dropped into the water
near its nest. This means that anglers who favor
artificial lures can drag a lot of bluegill to
the boat right now.
nesting gills will attack small plugs and
even bass-sized artificial lures this time of
year, the two best bets are small jigs and tiny
Since bluegill nest in relatively shallow water,
you will need a light jig headno more than
1/32nd oz. and possibly as small as
1/64th oz. Either the plastic grub
body or the tube jig body will work just fine.
The plastic body can be any of several colors,
and you should have a good color selection to
use when you hit the lake. The stand-by colors
are yellow, chartreuse, red, black and white.
I always start out with chartreuse, preferably
with silver sparkles molded into it. Most plastic
bodies you find these days are two-color versions:
chartreuse/white, red/white, yellow/black are
all good combinations for gills.
There are several panfish-size spinners on the
store shelves these days. There are two that I
have used extensively: the Beetle Spin and Mark
Fishs Fish-N-Spin. Pick up the 1/32nd
oz. size for bluegill. The Beetle Spin has been
around for over 20 years and is still a very successful
lure that will catch all species. The Fish-N-Spin
hasnt been around that long, but it is just
as good as the Beetle Spin and, sometimes, better.
The main difference is that Fishs bait uses
a tiny willow leaf spinner blade that causes less
disturbance and flash and is more effective on
shy gills. You can find Beetle Spins at
most stores, but youll have to call Mark
Fish in Bedford at 812-275-6574 to buy the Fish-N-Spin.
Its worth the effort.
TO: With either plain jig or jig/spinner rig,
youll need an ultralight rod and reel able
to cast such light baits a reasonable distance.
New ultralight rods up to 7-feet long are perfect
for tiny baits as the extra length translates
to extra distance on your cast. After making your
cast to a set of bluegill beds, begin retrieving
immediately, but make your retrieve slow and steady.
Dont do a lot of starting and stopping and
rod twitchingslow and steady until you get
a strike. Crank just fast enough to keep your
lure off bottom or out of weed tops. There will
be no question when you get a strike. Dont
jerk hard. The fish will usually hook themselves.
TIP: If you find gills striking short and
you are using a tube jig, trim some of the trailing
plastic to create a shorter jig body. If theyre
still striking short or just making passes at
your lure, add a bit of redworm or a beemoth to
the jig. With a little bit of live bait, the jig
becomes as near to a sure thing bait as youll
easy to find bluegill beds if youre fishing
where they nest along the bank. When fishing a
strange lake, go around the shoreline casting
your jigs or spinners until you start catching
fish. Keep at them until they stop, then move
on along the bank. In a small lake or pond, you
can make several circuits and catch more than
you want to clean.
you are disturbed about catching fish as theyre
spawning, rest easy. Bluegill are among the most
prolific fish of all, and you can take hundreds
from most lakes without making a dent in the population.
The very best bluegill lakes always have either
a good population of medium to big largemouth
bass or flathead catfish. Flatheads especially
seem to keep lake populations in balance by gobbling
up smaller fish.
is only one other means of catching bluegill during
the spawn which generates as much or more action
than jigs and live baitfly casting. Tune
in next week for a fly casting for bluegill primer.