Late Summer Bluegill Strategies

Late Summer Bluegills

As the dog days of the summer roll by, fishing strategies change. By late July, water temperatures in most places have reached their peak. The days begin to get a little shorter. Fish change their habitats. Knowing how to target late summer bluegills can lead to some great action on the water. Here are some late summer bluegill strategies.

Go Deep

While small bluegills stay shallow all year round, big bluegills move deep in the summer. Locate large humps, the edge of sunken islands or deep weed beds. Bluegill can be as deep as 40 feet (or deeper) when water temperatures are warm. Larger bluegills will school together and be intermingled with bass. Pike will likely be in the neighborhood as well. Early in the morning, bluegill may be a little shallower but will certainly move to deep humps as the day goes on and the sun warms the water.

Try Spoons

While live baits are always a top choice, spoons are a great alternative when you haven’t stopped by the bait shop lately. Spoons can be both vertically jigged and retrieved. Try a Johnson Splinter Spoon with a modified hook. Swap out the standard hook with a smaller, single hook setup. A simple Eagle Claw Aberdeen hook works great. Add a small plastic trailer to finish off a great presentation. I suggest Berkley PowerBait Power Nymphs but really any small plastic works if moves cleanly.

Stay Mobile

Bluegill schools move fast in the summer. As mentioned earlier, fish will start out shallower when water is coolest in the early morning and move to deeper water as the sun comes out. When you catch a fish, get your bait back down to the same spot right away. If you go 10 minutes without catch another, move on to different location or another angle on your hump or weed bed. If the fish are at least somewhat active, you should catch multiple fish in the same area.

Don’t Forget About Slip-Bobber Rigs

Slips are great for controlling depth and keep a bait in a single spot. While it can be challenging working with 30 feet of line while slip-bobber fishing, it can be extremely rewarding. Walleye fisherman use these rigs regularly to catch slow bite ‘eyes. Floats are great ways to locate fish. After catching a fish or two, use a marker and analyze the spot, time of day and depth. This allows you to replicate your success for future trips out. I recommend using an unweighted Thill Pro Series Float and add your own weight based on your bait, depth and body of water.

Conclusion

While shallow water fishing in the spring and early summer is a blast, your best bet to locating big bluegills is in late summer. Large humps and deep weed beds are your best bets to locating these fish. Remember to move on if you aren’t catching multiple fish in one spot and take note of the depth, structure and time of day that you are slaying them at. Enough talk, get out there and fish!!!

Yo-Zuri Snap Bean Review

Yo-Zuri Snap Beans Factory Picture

I first heard about the legendary Yo-Zuri Snap Bean years ago. I heard many stories of it’s fantastic ability to slay all kinds of fish – bluegills, bass, crappies, trout, and just about any fish in fresh water. The kicker is it is ridiculously small – either 1/16th oz or 1/32nd oz. I decided purchase the Snap Bean and give it a try. Here is my review and summary of the Yo-Zuri Snap Bean.

The Package

I bought my Snap Beans at a local Cabelas store. I thought they might be in one of the crankbait aisles with all of the other Yo-Zuri products but they weren’t. I had to ask an employee who just happened to know exactly what I was talking about. He guided me to the panfish section and we found one remaining set – the Tennessee Shad version. I personally have always liked this color scheme so I was fine with it.

Yo-Zuri Snap Beans Box

The package comes with two lures – a 1/16th oz and a 1/32nd oz. It’s a little odd to me that they’d come together like that – I’d prefer two of the same size in different colors or just a one pack that was cheaper. I paid $6.99 for the pair. This seems a little steep for two very small crankbaits. However, they are difficult to find and are very popular so I understand the price.

Size

Yo-Zuri Snap Bean Size

It’s really hard to comprehend how small these little guys are until you have them in your hand. They are tiny. As you can see from the picture, the 1/16th oz is about the size of a quarter and the 1/32nd oz is just bigger than a dime. There is one treble hook located on the back end of the lure which seems a little large, particularly for the smaller size. I’m sure you could do some modifying if you’re ambitious.

Yo-Zuri Snap Bean in Action!

I went to a local lake that has some decent shore fishing to test it out. The lake has large amounts of small bluegill so I figured this would be a perfect trial run. I noticed immediately that it was extremely difficult to get any distance on casts. I was using a lightweight rod and reel combo on 4lb test Berkley line and I could probably not cast more than 15 feet max with the smaller 1/32th oz Snap Bean on.

As far as the action was concerned, I was very impressed. It’s always a concern with something that small that it will run funny or not run at all. However, it had a very good wiggle to it. That being said, if there were any specks of moss or weeds on it, it would change to an unnatural motion. I think that’s to be expected though.

Snap Bean Back of Box

It’s also worth noting that Yo-Zuri Snap Beans are not floating lures. The package says they sink 4-6 inches per second. I found that it sinks much slower than that. In fact, it almost seemed like the 1/32th oz pretty much floated an inch or two under the water.

Does it Catch Fish?

I absolutely slayed the small bluegills! It was pretty impressive. Just about every time I had a clean cast without any moss or line twist on it I had a strike. I did miss quite a few strikes which I’d attribute to the small size attracting smaller gills.

Bluegill caught on snap bean

Small Bluegill on 1/32 oz Snap Bean

Like I said earlier, though, I was at a lake with an overabundance of small bluegill and I was fishing during spawning times. I caught over a dozen small bluegills and two crappies in probably 45 minutes on Snap Beans. I also was experimenting with some bobber rigs but had much less luck with that.

Crappie caught on Snap Bean

Crappie caught on 1/32 oz Snap Bean

I still want to test it on open water or on a river and try to land some larger fish. The casting distance and sinking ability concerns me, though. I don’t see it being a deep water bait and so it might be reserved for bluegills chasing insect hatches and shallow water situations. Also, because of the price, have concerns over using them in shaggy situations like sunken trees and rocks but that goes for all crankbaits. I have quite the collection of found river crankbaits that people lost while the water levels were high. One final concern is that I’ve been told the snaky pickerel has an appetite for the snap beans. Because they’re so small, it really wouldn’t take much for a Northern Pike to cut you off and swim off with half of your $6.99 purchase.

Summary

I really enjoyed my time fishing with these little guys. I would categorize them somewhere between a novelty item and a go-to lure. The fish seemed to love them and I believe you can probably catch just about any species of fish on them. The only downsides are your casting distances and the rather high price for such a smaller unit.

3 Bluegill River Fishing Tips

bluegill river fishing tips

River fishing is almost like an entirely different activity than lake fishing. Elements like water levels, current, changes in structure, and recent weather like heavy rainfall all dramatically affect your ability to catch river fish. Bluegill river fishing, in particular, is challenging. Locating concentrations of bluegills on rivers is much more difficult to many than on lakes. Also, many believe that river bluegills simply do not get as big as lake gills. While that may be the case in many areas, several state records were caught on rivers. Here are 3 bluegill river fishing tips to help you land more river bluegills.

1.Tight Lining

“Tight lining” is a technique many fishermen use on rivers that involves a sinker and live bait off the bottom. Floats are extremely effective ways to catch panfish on lakes but current on rivers makes this challenging. Many river fisherman prefer tight lining to keep baits in honey holes or spots where fish are likely to pass through. Use the lightest weight you can that will still keep your bait in place. Attach a nightcrawler or cricket to a #8 hook about 9 inches above the sinker.

2. Think Like You’re Ice Fishing

Anyone that has experienced river ice fishing know how challenging and rewarding it can be. Ice anglers focus on backwater channels and dips in the river where a sand bar or natural curve come into play. This can be a good spring and early summer tactic as well. Early season bluegill will be concentrating in these shallow areas to spawn (or attempt to spawn). In-fisherman created a great graphic that shows where gills congregate. Later in the summer, oxygen depletion can set in to backwater areas which causes fish to move back into the main channel of rivers.

3. No Live Bait? Try Spoons

If you’re out of live bait or just don’t like using it, try spoons. Small ice fishing spoons work best when concentrating on bluegills. A 1/12 ounce Acme Kastmaster is deadly. For river fishing, you may want to modify it by changing to a single hook (from a treble). The nice thing about the Kastmaster is it can be cast and retrieved as well as vertically jigged. Cast out down current and retrieve slowly. It’s important to keep your bait up as snags on rivers are ruthless and a good way to be out of a few nice spoons in a hurry.

Bluegill River Fishing Tips - Acme Kastmaster LureLet me know if you have any bluegill river fishing tips and tricks in the comments box below. As always, get out there and fish!

Locating Spring Bluegills with Fishfinders

Locating Spring Bluegills

Spring is a great time to catch fish for bluegills and other panfish. With temperatures rising and the brutality of a cold winter coming to a close, the light switch turns on and fish change their mindset towards feeding to build energy for spawning. While bluegills begin to get more active around the 50 degree water temp mark, they won’t begin to spawn in most places until the water reaches around 60 degrees. In most places this happens between early May and as late as August. Between the time of post-ice out/winter and spawning, bluegills being to bunch up and get shallower, following bait fish, larvae and hatching insects.

Finding Bluegills with Fishfinders

Fishingfinder technology has come a long way over the past 20 years. In the early fishing electronics days, fish finders were primarily just depth finders that might show a blip if there’s an object that somewhat resembles a living creature. However, today fish finders are amazing tools to help locate, track and navigate to fish. Many have color displays, gps systems, uploadable maps and even side imaging. Locating spawning bluegills with fish finders can make a huge difference between catch a few fish and slaying a school. Here are some techniques for locating spring bluegills with Fishfinders.

Basic Fish Finders

Fish finders can be a relatively inexpensive investment. The three big names in Fishfinders are Lowrance, Hummingbird and Garmin. All three of these brands include entry level fish finders that show depth, water temperature and other features for less than $80.00.

As stated earlier, bluegills will be most active with water temperatures above 50 degrees. They will begin spawning at 60. Water temperature can vary a surprisingly large amount on a lake, depending on sunlight, water depth and structure. Bluegills will almost always go to the nearest, warmest feeding areas in the spring. By keeping an eye on water temperature, you can locate the warmer spots, which should lead to more active fish.

Basic Cheap Fishfind

Garmin echo 100 Fishfinder

Keeping an eye on water depth is also imperative for any fishing. In locating spring bluegills, focus on depths of 4 to 8 feet. 4 to 8 feet is a very wide range in the world of lake fishing. Unfortunately, fish are still fish and their patterns can be random. Start at the shallower areas in the 4 feet range. If you aren’t locating any biters, move a bit deeper. When you catch a few fish, note the depth and focus on areas similar to the one you caught fish in.

Higher-End Fish Finders

All three of the big names also produce unbelievably advanced Fishfinders. If you’d like to spend a few thousand, you can. Some of the best features of higher end Fishfinders include: GPS, uploadable maps that you can mark, detailed imagining and side-scan sonar.

Side-Scan Sonar

Bluegill Beds Side Scan Sonar

Amazing Image of Bluegill Beds Located Using Side Scan Sonar from In-Fisherman

Side-Scan Sonar has been a revolutionary development in the serious angler industry. Side-scanning has been around for over 50 years. It was first developed to help crews find and recover wreckage debris and treasure hunters locate lost ships. It works by emitting a fan shaped pulse toward the bottom of the body of water it’s on. By doing so, you get a nice image of the floor from an above-down perspective. For most systems, a blind spot is left directly below the boat. For fisherman, this tool gives a unique look into structure, depth changes, humps, and so much more. It also can give you an amazing look at bluegill nesting areas. Bluegill nests are saucer-shaped areas that are about the size of a large dinner plate. Locating large amounts of nests is an obvious indicator that bluegills are present.

GPS/Maps

If you’re a dedicated angler and you’re in it for the long haul, being able to identify specific spots and mark fish can lead to huge successes down the road. Without GPS, no matter how good you are with paper maps and locating a spot, you WILL be off and it’s nearly impossible to come back to the exact same location and angle you were at during a previous outing. Modern GPS Fishfinders have the ability to save all kinds of data and they are amazing resource to become a more knowledgeable bluegill slayer.

Go fish!

Regardless of whether or not you want to spend money on fancy Fishfinders (or even fishfinders at all), the most important thing is to go outside, get some fresh air and catch some fish!

INFOGRAPHIC: State Record Bluegills

State Record Bluegills

Bluegillslayer.com compiled a complete list of state record bluegill. The below infographic summarizes some of the interesting data discovered. If anyone is interested in the raw numbers, please let me know. Share, like and tweet!

Bluegill State Record Information

Check out some other recent articles on bluegillslayer.com as well:

Spring Bluegill Fishing Tips

5 Bluegill Baits You’ve Never Tried

Thick Cover Bluegill Fishing

Spring Bluegill Fishing – 3 Essential Elements

Spring Bluegill Fishing

Springtime brings excitement to the lives of eager fisherman. Watching ice melt or checking extended forecasts becomes an hourly ritual in many parts of the country. The anticipation of getting out on an open lake or casting from the banks of the local river can get the most patient person giddy for fishing. Many believe early spring is the best time of the year to catch trophy fish. Bluegills are no exception. Here are 3 essential elements to spring bluegill fishing

Water Temperature

spring bluegill fishing temperature

A light switch flips on in those first few warming weeks once the water hits that perfect temperature. Many believe that magical temperature is 50 degrees. Some have it down to an exact number like 52 or 53 degrees. When the water reaches that magic number, bluegills begin to migrate from their wintering holes to the closest shallow areas they find with some cover. Most modern depth finders or fish finders have temperature gauges. If you’re bank fishing or wading, try using a common cooking thermometer.

Water temperature also varies greatly based on which part of a lake or river you are on. Shallow areas on sunny sides will almost certainly be up to a few degrees warmer than other locations. That degree or two can make all the difference. Start at the warmest location first. Early season Bluegill tend to congregate to these locations.

Structure

Finding habitat is vital in any season. Spring is no different. Despite being aggressive, predatory fish, bluegills still worry about being eaten. And rightfully so. Muskies, northern pike, catfish and even large bass can chomp down on 8+ inch bluegill with ease. Cover varies from water body to water body. In some lakes, rock piles and sunken logs can be the ticket.  Weeds typically aren’t too prevalent in early spring but you might find some hardy weeds off the bottom. Docks and boat houses that are near deep water can also hold schools in the right settings.

Spring Bluegill Fishing Sunken tree Cover

Sunken trees can provide cover for concentrations of spring bluegills. photo via Joelk75 flickr

Structure is vital to spring bluegill fishing because it’s the best way to find concentrations of fish. You might stumble across a bull in transit or get lucky in a spot. However, to catch multiple fish, you need structure. If you aren’t having luck with a specific type of structure, mix it up and try another type. Rocks or trees or weeds.

Presentation

Presentation, in fishing terms, is the lure or bait you use, how you use it. Obviously, there’s no way you’re catching a fish without presenting something it wants to eat. Spring bluegill fishing is a great way to test out different presentations. A variety of techniques will work.

Despite this, there are a few consistent elements that all bluegill fishermen should apply. The best advice is to fish slow. In any season, bluegills aren’t known for following baits long distances or striking from far away. In the spring time, this is double true. They can be slow to make a run at a jig or bait. It’s almost as if they are debating it in their small fish mind. Little or even no movement can land a large amount of bluegills. Consider utilizing a float to control depth and movement.

Common early spring bluegill fishing live baits include wax worms, red worm/night crawler pieces, and crickets. Small leeches can also work very well but bluegills are masters at pecking them off. A number 8 hook works really well. Never go bigger than a number 6 hook if you’re looking for just bluegills.

Spring Fishing Atlas Mike's Glo Scents

Some fishermen have great success using artificial baits as well. Small plastics and Berkley power grubs will frequently catch fish. A surprisingly few amount of panfish anglers use bait sprays. Bait sprays give you’re your jig that little extra kick that can be the difference between a small nibble that’s spit out and full slurp. Berkley Gulp! Alive! Attractant Spray is widely available and comes in many flavors. Atlas Mike’s Glo Scents is another cheap oil that does the trick.

Go Fish!

Spring bluegill fishing is fantastic. You can’t catch fish sitting on your couch or at your computer. Get out there and slay them!

Thick Cover Bluegill Fishing

Thick Cover Bluegill Fishing

Dense cover is ideal for panfish. They are safe to feed nearby. Think of lily pads, thick weeds and other heavy vegetation as a wooded forest – full of places to live, hide, and pounce on prey. This wooded forest is full of both large predatory fish and small minnows, larvae, nymphs, tadpoles and more. This creates the perfect bluegill fishing environment.

Large, fat bluegills stalk prey in the shadows of cover, rarely seeing artificial lures, boats and fisherman. Fishing in these parts requires different equipment to catch these elusive beasts.

Finding Fish

One of the biggest problems with fishing thick vegetation is mobility. Kayak and canoe typically works best when sneaking into pockets inside these holes. Motorized boats can quickly be damaged by tangled propellers and get stuck in narrow or shallow stretches. Flat bed or small paddle boats will also work in the right environments using a push pole or paddles.

Fortunately, locating fish is these thick forests is not challenging. Find the edge of one habitat that leads into another. For example, find reeds that line the edge of lily pads. According to several research studies, lake fish are more likely to live in areas with diverse vegetation. Small critters like invertebrates, tadpoles, and minnows have more places to hide (or so they think) near the surface of the water. However, bluegills hide in the shadows, waiting for that one wrong move by prey.

Locating Bluegills in Cover like lily pads, reeds, cattails and weeds

Target edges of one cover to another.

Listen for the popping sound. Bluegills will make a slurp or popping noise when feeding. In thick vegetation, this comes from them plucking grubs or worms off of the bottom of lily or dollar pads. If you consistently hear the noise, you know they are there and they are active.

Equipment

Next, using a float like a thill shy bite is both fun and an effective way to catch bulls. It serves two purposes – 1) It allows you to identify bites easily and 2) It allows you to regulate the depth of your bait or jig. Try suspending your bait in different depths. The best place to start is about half way in thick cover.  If your float does not stand straight up, you know you have it set too deep, a fish is on the line, or you are caught or tangled on weed.

Thill Gold Medal Mini Shy Bite Float Bobber

Thill Shy Bite Float

The bait and line you use can vary on the location and season. In summer weather, small leeches, worms or soft plastic jigs are most effective. In the spring, maggots can be the ticket to slaying big bulls. As for line, 4 to 6 lb line works the best to give you a combination of strength and sensitivity. If you’re not a budget fisherman, splurge and purchase braided line. Braided line tends to be much stronger and doesn’t stretch. This makes cutting through weeds and battling fish a little easier.

A proper hook strategy is also critical to catching fish and not weeds. The hook you use should have just enough space shown to hook into a bluegill’s mouth nothing left to snag onto. Big bulls will attempt to take off for the weeds or deeper water. Avoiding getting hung up on snags is a must in order to catch these big boys. The preferred hooks are a #10 or maybe a 1/64 oz weighted jig is all you need. This may seem tiny but keep in mind how small bluegill mouths are. Some anglers also will bend their hook in slightly to ensure it wraps along the mouth of the fish.

Other Thick Cover Bluegill Fishing Techniques

Using flies can also be a tactic for catching slop bluegills. Casting poppers is both fun and natural in these environments. The thud of the popper hitting on top of a lily pad will sometimes get the attention of a bull and they’ll strike it the second it hits the water.

Other strategies include using small spoons like lindy frostee spoons or a Johnson Sprite but replace the treble hook with a smaller #10 or #8 size hook. Horizontal jigs like Bait Rig’s Slo-Poke and Kalin’s Ultimate jig can be fun to use. Try dancing the jig with a worm or grub tipped on the end. Make sure to you either have a clear path to reel it up or you’re close enough to be able to lift it out of the water.

Original Johnson Sprite Spoon

Johnson Sprite Spoon

Get out there and fish!

Regardless of the strategy, thick cover bluegill fishing is a challenging, yet rewarding tactic. Big fish live in places that are hard to reach. Fishing reeds, weeds, and lilies can be a great way to catch monster, dinner plate sized bluegills

Hybrid Bluegill

 

Big Hybrid Bluegill

MD DNR

What are Hybrid Bluegill?

Hybrid Bluegills are a cross between purebred bluegills and other members of the sunfish family. The most common hybrid bluegill is a cross of a female green sunfish and a male bluegill. This hybrid bluegill will have the general shape of a bluegill but will have more of a spotted scale pattern on the gill plate and body, whereas a traditional bluegill has a more distinct set of stripes. Purebred bluegills have more of a distinct red patch on their throat. The hybrid bluegill’s mouth is much larger than a regular bluegill as well.

 

Denton Taylor via flickr

Note the large mouth size. Photo: Denton Taylor via flickr

Pond Stocking Hybrid Bluegills

The bluegill hybrid species (bluegill/green sunfish) is common in pond stocking. This is due to their notoriously aggressive nature and large size. Their tremendous appetite allows them to grow extraordinary fast. Hybrid bluegills can grow at rates of ½ lbs or larger per year. This creates an amazing and enjoyable fishing experience.  Despite the large size and aggressiveness of the fish, there are some downsides to stocking hybrid bluegills. The biggest one being reproduction limitations. Offspring of hybrid bluegills will be extremely skewed towards males. About 9 out of 10 bluegill hybrid offspring will be male. This means re-stocking and monitoring of fish numbers. Additionally, hybrid bluegill species will compete directly with largemouth bass for food and habitat.

Other Hybrid Bluegill Species

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, over 20 different combinations of hybrid sunfish have been found in natural environments. A study done by the Illinois Natural History Survey was able to produce 12 combinations of red-ear sunfish, bluegill, green sunfish and warmouth hybrids. The results showed that while these combinations are possible, environmental factors play a large part in determining hybrid success. The study also concluded that hybrid species are not sterile and can produce offspring.

Late Season Bluegill Ice Fishing

ice fishing bluegill, fishing for bluegills

pverdonk via flickr

Late Season Bluegill Ice Fishing

In the Upper Midwest, March is usually thaw time – the time when the ice begins to melt to clear the way for fantastic open water spring fishing. Despite many anxious anglers being ready to hit the water, there are still fish to be caught on the ice. In fact, warmer temperatures mean a more pleasurable experience. The temperatures are rising and the days are longer. Ice fishing bluegill during the late winter/early spring can be extremely productive. Below are a few tips for catching some late season bulls.

Late Season Strategies

Move Around

Bluegills, among other species, tend to get shallower during the late season. Staying mobile is key. Finding the right depth and spot is not an exact science during the late season as factors like water temperature, structure and ice clarity can all factor into bites.  Also, bluegills, perch and crappies tend to group up into larger schools late in the winter/spring. Locating them is the key to success.  Panfish also tend to strike up during this time of year, however keep testing different techniques.

Mix Up Baits

Wax worms are always a good option for bluegill ice fishing. However, small shiners cat be the ticket to catching aggressive fish. Hook a small shiner through the back and fish a foot or two above marked fish. Keep in mind the size of the mouth of a bluegill. The minnow should be no more than about an inch. Also try artificial Gulp! brand nibbles for effective bluegill ice fishing.

Time of Day

Feeding habits vary greatly depending on time of day. Of course we can’t always be picky with when we can go. However, if I had the choice, I would do the later afternoon to sundown bite. Fishing can be good at sunrise but I think bluegill ice fishing is slightly better at dinner time.

A Warning About Late Season Ice

Late season ice can be extremely dangerous. This is particularly true with rapidly warming temperatures. Ice thickness can vary greatly by location on a lake or river. Open and westerly exposed shoreline will likely be thinner than other areas of a lake.  In general, fishing on foot with limited equipment can be done on 4 inches of clear ice or more. With 5 inches, you can use a snowmobile or heavy sled equipment. 8 to 12 inches are enough for a car and 12 to 15 are needed to hold a medium truck. Vehicles on any ice thickness should not be parked closer than 50 feet from each other. Also, please note that white ice (“snow ice”) is not nearly as strong as newer clear ice.

Bluegill Ice Fishing

See also: Great Ice Fishing Action Video.

5 Bluegill Baits You’ve Never Tried

Everyone knows that nightcrawlers, plastics and small flies are effective bluegill bait. However, it’s time to think outside the box. Here are 5 Bluegill baits you’ve never tried.

1. Marshmallows

Fishing With Marshmallows

zimpenfish via flickr

Yes…marshmallows. Marshmallows have been a secret weapon for fisherman for a long time. Trout, carp, catfish and even our coveted bluegills will strike on marshmallows. The small sized ones work best for bluegill bait. There are two strategies:

I. Cast them out with a fly line or regular line and retrieve them. If there’s not a heavy weight on them, they’ll float and make a pretty good action while you reel them in.

II. Attach them with a weight and use a bobber or have them sit off the bottom. Many fisherman will use a worm, cheese, or powerbait with them to enhance the scent.

Regardless of the strategy, marshmallows are a cheap, fun way to catch fish. You can mix it up and use flavored/colored marshmallows as well. It’s also a great way to get rid of those stale ones in the back of the cupboard!

2. Bread balls

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Traditionally, breadballs (sometimes called doughballs) are known for being catfish or carp baits. However, bluegill will also nibble on them when given the chance. Additionally, you can beat the price. Everyone has some old bread that’s a few days past the expiration date. The process is simple: get a few slices of bread, wet them, and roll pieces into the shape of a ball no bigger than a dime.

The biggest downside is that it’s easy for them to pick clean off of the hook. However, with some patients and good technique, you can be slaying them in no time.

3. YoZuri Snap Beans

Yo-Zuri Snap Beans

These little guys are incredible. They are essentially mini-crank baits that zing through the water. Using Snap Beans is a great way to locate active fish. Another big benefit to using them is that despite their size, other species of fish will also strike.  Bass, crappie and trout will all go after these guys. Be careful to only use light line though. They can be difficult to cast.

4. Live Crickets

This might seem like a no brainer to some, depending on which part of the country you live in. In the Southeast US, fishing with crickets is common. However, in the upper Midwest, few fishermen use them. If you can’t find them in a bait shop, you can go to just about any pet store and find them there. Lizard, snake and other reptile owners use them as pet food. They are usually pretty reasonably prices as well.

The key to using them is to keep them alive as long as possible. If large enough, try hooking through a leg or back part of the abdomen to keep them alive long.

5. BOOYAH Micro Pond Magic

BOOYAH Micro Pond Magic

These are just flat out cool. Pretend like you’re bass fishing with these miniature 1/8 oz spinner baits. Along with the YoZuri Snap Beans, these are effective weapons in finding active fish and covering a lot of ground quickly. Keep in mind that bluegills tend to only follow a short distance so don’t retrieve them too fast or you might miss a strike.