While fishing for bluegill is one of the most common pursuits of fisherman, it seems that few people take the time to keep bluegill for the frying pan. Since many bluegill are quite small perhaps learning to catch the larger bluegill in your normal fishing water will persuade you to try this tasty little fish. And for those few who pursue trophy sized bluegill this information will be valuable to you as well. Let’s get to the business at hand: catching big bluegill.
First we must determine what a big bluegill is. In some parts of the country catching 1 pound bluegill in the 10-12 inch range is not that uncommon. Where I live in West Virginia, that is quite an accomplishment. I suppose that I caught hundreds of bluegill over the years and maybe only a couple have approached a foot long. Size depends on where you live, but if you fish often you will know what size bluegill you normally catch. Our goal here is simply to catch larger bluegill than normal.
It takes much more than a few Top crappie rods to do so because bluegills are basically mischievous and sharp in nature that like to play with their food before eating it and it’s the same with the fisherman, who hava a hard time catching them.
Bluegill are plentiful and successful reproducers. Though eaten by almost all predator fish in a body of water they are almost always the predominate fish where they exist. As such catching a large adult during the spawn will have no effect on populations. The spawn is the best time to catch large bluegill. In the central United States the spawn should be expected from May to July, a little earlier on the south and a little later in the north. As bluegill often nest in close proximity to another, there will be many large males in one area looking to keep predators away. Fisherman finding this area should be able to catch a few large bluegill in short order.
During the spawn, look for bluegill in shallow areas. Often only a few inches of water is need for bluegill to spawn. Sandy or gravel bottom areas are ideal for bluegill to spawn. Bouncing soft rubber baits or jigs into this area may provide fast bites from protective bluegill.
As you probably know, bluegill fishing with night crawlers often means fooling with small bluegill that seem to attack everything that hits the water. The best to deal with this is to switch to artificial baits that provide a larger hook. While the little guys will continue to hit the lure, you are making it more likely that the larger bluegill will get hooked. When fishing with bait I recommend setting the hook quicker to pull it away from smaller bluegill and hoping for a larger one that can get the whole hook into its mouth on the next bite.
A little fine tuning with your fishing style and fishing equipment should get you on to big bluegill in no time.