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

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