First Fish: How To Catch Bluegill


bluegill-1Bluegill are the ultimate beginners catch. They are a widespread species that fights hard, are typically found in large quantities, and will eat just about anything you put in front of them. These are the perfect attributes to spark a new angler’s love for the sport.

Where do you find them?

Bluegill are a prey species of fish. In simple term, their life goal is to NOT be eaten! Because of this they look for certain hiding places in the water (cover) that can give them protection. This can be a very wide range of things from man-made objects like docks and drainage pipes, to naturally occurring brush and vegetation in the water. So, as a new angler, you will arrive at your fishing destination. As you get on the little gravel path and walk towards the lake take a look down the shoreline and take note of what you see. Is there a dock? That should be your number 1 target! If you don’t have a dock look for something in the water that fits our mold of “hiding places.” Ideally you will find a tree, bush, or log somewhere within casting distance. Now you’re ready to set up shop!

What do you use?

Kid Fishing_1361So maybe you’re a kid breaking out the spider-man/Barbie pole for the first time, or maybe it’s been years since your last fishing trip and you’re knocking the dust off grandpa’s old rods. Either way it doesn’t matter that is one of the best parts of bluegill fishing! Even if you have to go break a branch off a tree and tie a line to it, you are not hindered as a bluegill angler.

Now you’ve set up the lawn chairs and you got the rod and reel of your choice strung up, where do you go from there? You’ll start out by tying an eagle claw snap swivel to your line. You’ll open up the clip and attach either a 121 aberdeen snell or a 139 baitholder snell. Let’s talk about the benefits of each. The Aberdeen hook (121) was designed for pan fish. Their mouths are so small it is hard to get a pair of pliers in to unhook your fish, so the Aberdeen hook style was designed with a small gap and a long shank that will stick out of the fish’s mouth for easy unhooking access. This is especially ideal for catch and release fisherman to quickly get their catch back swimming in the pond. Now switching gears to the baitholder style (139), it is a standard offset j hook with two barbs along the shank. This is the basic hook shape that anyone should visualize when they think “fish hook.”

The two sliced barbs on the shank of the hook are what gives baitholder it’s name. These barbs literally hold the bait of your choice onto the hook. Now that you have some background on hook selection we can finish our rig. You will clip on a bobber above your swivel and pinch a split shot weight onto your snelled leader. Your bobber can be adjusted to control the depth that your bait sits.

Now bait, there are so many options out there so we’re going to keep it simple. The classic can of worms is a very accessible and effective bait choice when targeting bluegill. You’re going to want to break off a small chunk of nightcrawler just long enough to cover the shank of your hook. You have to remember these fish have small mouths so if you have too much warm hanging off the end of your hook, you’ll end up losing more bait than you catch fish. Now armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to go put a smile on your face pulling ‘Gills from the pond!

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If you have questions email Ethan!

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