A Bluegill Fishing Tip That Works? Read On!

Here are some bluegill fishing tips that will help you catch fish when others can't. If you love freshwater fish battered and fried like I do, then there is none better than bluegill. Bluegill is part of the panfish family of fish, that include sunfish, pumpkinseed, red ear, perch, and white and black crappie.

Bluegill stringer

In the southern states and other areas they are called bream instead of bluegill. But they are one in the same. These panfish don't have the size that bass do, but they are much easier to catch - if you know a few of the bluegill fishing tips that I have learned over the years from going bluegill fishing.

Don't get me wrong, I love to bass fish and I catch a lot of bass using my "stutsie" technique. But I like to practice catch and release when I bass fish. That way it gives another person a chance for the thrill of the catch. And when you know my bluegill fishing tips,bluegill are easy and plentiful to catch, there is no need to keep the bass. I believe bluegill are much better tasting.

OK, enough on the general knowledge. Here are some great bluegill fishing tips: (Keep in mind that these bluegill fishing tips will also work on other types of fish at times.)


  • An important bluegill fishing tip begins with structure. Bluegill, like most fish, are structure dwellers most of the time when they're not bedding. They will use structure to hide in. This can be a sunken tree, rocks, or any underwater structure. They hide in structure as protection from larger predators and also as a way to initiate an attack on smaller fish swimming by. Find structure and there you will find bluegill.
  • If there is no hard structure, like lake basins and ponds, then they will use the existing aquatic plants or weeds as structure. Bluegill will often hover, just off the bottom between 6 and 12 inches. If you are in 10 feet of water and there are no weeds, then your bait needs to be set at 9 to 9 ½ feet. If the tops of the weeds start 4 feet from the surface, start your bait depth at 3 ½ feet deep, and so on.
  • As a rule of thumb, for depths beyond 20 feet deep, fish will usually suspend at a depth just above the thermocline, usually in the 12 to 20 foot deep area depending on the time of year. A depth finder like the is a great help in locating these suspended fish.
  • BAIT

  • Another good bluegill fishing tip is - my favorite bait for bluegill fishing. It is a worm called the red wiggler. It's a hybrid of the red worm. and as it's name implies, it really wiggles. The red wiggler is a little larger than a red worm and they are usually a little more expensive than standard red worms, but well worth the money, in my opinion.
  • If you can't find red wigglers, any type of worm will work, maybe just not as effectively. This is because movement (another bluegill fishing tip) is one of the two things that most attract bluegill to bite. The other is smell. So when you bait your hook, and the yellow or green goo comes out of the worm, this is the natural liquid scent that attracts the fish.
  • The scent of the worm drifts through the water for some distance and can draw the fish straight to the hook, so be patient. Once drawn by the scent, the wiggle gives the fish the visual enticement to bite the hook. Simple and effective. Keep in mind that you need to be patient, but not too patient. Another effective bluegill fishing tip is: after 5 or 10 minutes, the scent and wiggle of the worm will be severely deteriorated. So reel in and replace your worm fairly regularly if you are getting no bites.
  • Other types of bait sometimes work well for bluegill fishing – like beemoths, crickets, small minnows, pieces of night crawlers, etc. But I only use the red wiggler because I have tried everything else and have been the most successful with them. I have even heard of people using little pieces of hot dog and I suppose that might work because of the scent principle I described above. But in my experience, not as successfully as the red wiggler.

  • A very important bluegill fishing tip concerns your rig. I have used cane poles, casting reel rods, spinning reel rods, bait casting rods, and others for bluegill fishing. But above all, my favorite set up for bluegill fishing is a light 6 to 8 lb spinning reel rod with 6 lb line, a #8 eagle claw hook, small lead split shot, small slip bobber, and a line stopper that can easily be varied for different depths. The key words to remember are light and small. I have seen novice fisherman with a large hook and small bobber. Or a small hook and large bobber. Even a large hook and large bobber. But by far the most effective set up and probably the most important bluegill fishing tip is: small hook and small bobber.
  • Bluegill can sense line resistance when they bite the bait and will quickly spit is out if there is too much resistance. So the key is to use the smallest slip bobber you can find and use a lead shot that pulls it down at least halfway into the water. If your bobber is pulled completely under the water go with the next smaller split shot until you find the one that pulls it halfway under. This will give you the correct resistance that you need to be successful.
  • Attach the split shot on the line between the hook and slip bobber. I like to place it about 8 to 10 inches above the #8 eagle claw hook. If the split shot is placed too close to the hook, it will be seen by the fish and cause too much resistance. Two things that can make fish not bite. When attaching the split shot, be sure to squeeze it tightly to the line so it can not move up or down. I use a pair of needlenose pliers for this and they are also handy for getting out the hook when a fish swallows the bait.
  • My favorite hook for blugill fishing is either or . The Tru Turn has a funny little bend in it that is suppose to help hook the fish when they bite preventing the fish from being able to spit it back out. I think it seems to work and have had good luck using it. The Tru Turn is nice because it has a longer shank that makes it easy to get a hold of if a fish swallows the hook. Remember SMALL hook – no bigger than #8 for bluegill! (Another important bluegill fishing tip) Be sure to tie it on the line correctly or you will lose your fish. Use a Palomar knot or an Improved Clinch knot. Get this free ebook on some good beginner fishing basics and how to tie these knots.
  • For best results when bluegill fishing use no more than 8 lb test line. Any higher than that will increase resistance and reduce your results. The lighter the line, the less resistance to the fish. I sometimes use an ultra-light set up with 4 lb test line. It is really fun to catch a large bluegill on this set up because it feels like the same fight you would get if catching a 5 lb bass on a larger set up. Most of the time, I use a 6 ft spinning style rod with 6 lb line as my favorite set up though, since I can cast farther with it.
  • My favorite rig for Bluegill fishing is a spinning reel. Here is a video that shows how to use it.

  • Next comes the slip bobber. Any small slip bobber will work, usually the smaller the better. Using a slip bobber requires using a bobber stopper or line stopper. I've heard them called both. I like the flat plastic kind with 3 holes for the line. You twist your line around and through the holes to provide the stop for the line at the bobber. Each style is a little different and comes with instructions for its' correct use. When installed on the line correctly, you will be able to move it up or down on the line to any depth you choose and it will stop the line at that depth. Just remember to install your line stop before putting on the bobber, split shot, or hook as these can't be on the line to install it correctly. Next install the slip bobber. Slide the line through it starting with the smallest hole. It should not be able to slip by the stopper. Last comes the hook and split shot and you are ready to fish! (As long as you didn't forget the worms.)

  • The secret I have learned when bluegill fishing lies in one of the two reasons that make bluegill bite. Again these are movement and scent. Capitalize on movement. I have found the best technique is to cast to your spot, let the bobber stand up (which means your bait is at the right depth and not laying on the bottom), then after a little bit, give it a tug that brings the bobber closer by about a foot and let it rest. The bobber should again stand up. Keep repeating this action all the way back to the boat. Give it a tug every 30 seconds to a minute. The extra movement entices a bluebill that is wary and is looking at the wiggling bait but not biting it. This also creates a fish chase that other bluegill will notice and also give chase, hoping to be the first to get the bait. Remember to replace your worm every 10 minutes for best enticement. And if using this tip, be sure to know the limit of bluegill allowed in your state!
  • I hope I have helped give you the bluegill fishing tips that will make you more successful and help you to catch fish when others can't. If so, do me a favor and take a kid fishing. Show them how to catch bluegill. You will be their hero. And they will have memories of bluegill fishing that will last a lifetime.

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