Water and Wings
June is finally here and there isn’t a better month to do a little bluegill fishing. I usually prefer bass fishing but there are time when catching a mess of bluegill can be fun and tasty. It is also a perfect type of fishing to get the kids lots of fun and easy action.
Bluegills are one of our most common lake and pond species found in Ohio and you couldn’t ask for a better fish for kids to chase after. Sure, catching a nice size bass is a thrill, but to youngsters with short attention spans, bluegills offer a much better option.
Catching bluegills is very easy compared to most types of fishing and the action can be red hot when you find a school of them. Constant action is a key when kids are along and bluegills are usually willing to comply.
The best part about fishing for bluegills is that you can get by with inexpensive equipment. Using ultra-light rods and reels allows you to use smaller line and will increase your fun when fighting a bluegill, but my kids have caught tons of bluegills on their Snoopy poles when they were little tikes.
You can also get along fine with cane poles but you don’t see those used too much anymore, at least not as much as when I was kid. By far my favorite way to catch bluegills is with a fly rod because a nice sized gill and feel like a monster on a fly rod.
Ultra-light gear is the preferred method because you can use lighter line. Using four to eight pound test line is the best choice. If you are using live bait, which is the easiest method for catching bluegills, stay with the smaller hooks. I prefer to use longer shanked hooks as they are easier to remove from the small bluegill mouth, which can be difficult at times especially when they swallow the entire bait and hook. Add on a split shot sinker a few inches above the hook to keep it down and I recommend using a bobber to detect bites and more importantly to provide some weight to help with casting.
A common mistake made in pan fishing is using too large of a bobber. Try to get by with as small of a bobber as possible. Using a bobber that is too big can cause you to miss a lot of strikes and often a bluegill will grab the bait and feel that resistance of the heavy bobber and let go before you can set the hook.
As far as bait, there are lots of options but I prefer using live worms over any other choice. They are easy to find and bluegills love them. The key is to only put on enough of the worm to cover the hook. Any more than that and the bluegills will just sit there and nibble at your bait creating lots of frustration for you. Crickets, meal worms, wax worms, grasshoppers all work as well. If you want to go the artificial route, small spinners and small flies (both dry and wet) work fine as well.
Finding bluegill is really easy in most ponds. The easiest time of the year to catch them is when they are spawning. You can practically sight fish for them looking for their dish shaped nests in the shallows and usually when you find one, you will find dozens. During this time, they will attack any bait that enters their nest.